Anonymous asked: What would you think if that "indie record" Taylor Swift sings about was Ruin?
i have put a lot of time and effort into attempting to discern the identity of the indie record much cooler than hers that she mentions in “we are never ever getting back together”. maybe in the answer to this tumblr post we can finally figure it out once and for all. let’s find out:
so, first of all, we can probably safely assume that the target of the song’s withering barb about musical taste is former swift paramour jake gyllenhal, himself a dude who likes cool indie records at least enough to appear in the video for “giving up the gun” off vampire weekend’s “contra”. is “contra” the cool indie record? a quick google search finds that the romance between the two really started to take off in or around december of 2010. they broke up in may of 2011. “contra” was released in january of 2010, and the video for “giving up the gun” was released in february 2010, so gyllenhaal would not have been actively listening to it in order to prepare for his role in the video during his relationship with taylor swift, but the album’s strong showing on 2010 year-end lists (#6 on pitchfork!) may have rekindled his interest in it.
what else does jake gyllenhaal like? well, in this interview, he says he’s into the civil wars, adele, and “the promise: the darkness on the edge of town story”, the expansive 3CD bruce springsteen reissue that had been recently released at the time of the interview, march 2011, squarely in the middle of his relationship with taylor. in the UK, adele is on XL, which is technically an indie label, but it’s hard to imagine that one of the best-selling and most widely-beloved albums of the last decade could be the one that taylor swift would describe as “some indie record that’s much cooler than mine” in a song skewering someone for being holier-than-thou about obscure music. the civil wars also seem like an unlikely pick, being collaborators and tourmates of swift’s that she may well have introduced him to. also i think they broke up and people don’t really know about it yet. not that that has anything to do with anything. i’m super high. i’m writing like an 8-page essay about what the cool indie record from the taylor swift record is. of course i’m super high. anyway.
in this radio interview, jake says he’s really into laura marling and his favorite album of 2010 was “sigh no more” by mumford and sons. the mumford and sons album came out on glassnote, which i guess is technically an indie label. laura marling is on virgin which is owned by capitol so her record is technically not an indie record. the mumford and sons album would have been fairly old by the time he started dating taylor, but the above linked radio interview dates from around the time the relationship began, so it was clearly fresh in his mind.
were there any more recently released indie records floating around during their relationship that might have been the indie record that was much cooler than taylor swift’s? let us confront the pitchfork top albums of 2011 list. bon iver, the album that occupies the #1 position on said list, would probably fit in well with gyllenhaal’s established pattern of enjoying twangy indie bands who probably have beards and wear vests, but it wasn’t released officially until after he and swift broke up. the remainder of their top 10 mostly seems to feature albums that are more eccentric and less rootsy than the albums he professes to liking publically.
of the options available, mumford and sons seems like the safest pick, but claire thinks that it must be the adele record and even though it was such a monstrous mainstream success, it is technically an indie record in the UK, and, as i now realize, one of the biggest singles from that album was “someone like you”, a song about getting over an ex by finding someone who is extremely similar to them. i don’t know why but for some reason it seems like jake gyllenhaal might find the lyrical content of that song to be relatable.
so yeah, definitely 21 by adele. mystery solved.