Taylor Swift released her newest video on Monday, "Blank Space," a self-aware romp through an extravagant mansion with some man-candy in which she acknowledges some of the less-flattering patterns in her dating life. It is rich in in detail and potential talking points -- I, for one, believe this will pave the way for her next album to be a frank expression of her sexuality -- but this isn't Pitchfork, and I'm no music critic, merely a sports fan who once had "Trouble" stuck in his head for three weeks running.
Because this is a sports website, we shall limit our critique of "Blank Space" to its sporting aspects. And, in the interest of journalistic integrity, I am compelled to make the case that TAYLOR SWIFT IS BAD AT SPORTS.
Riding a bicycle indoors is acceptable only when your home is as ramshackle as the abandoned house Brad Pitt pedals through in Fight Club. To do so in a finely decorated mansion is an affront to parents everywhere, and the sort of idle-rich daydream that shows little consideration for the cleaning staff -- to say nothing of the expensive vases, statues, and objets d'art surely littered throughout the manor.
From a sporting standpoint, indoor cycling offers none of the challenge or physical benefits of the same activity outdoors -- even a spectacularly large mansion such as this one surely lacks the long open stretches required for an aerobic workout, and -- barring an unlikely trip up the stairs -- there are no changes in elevation that might challenge Swift's lower-body musculature. If this is an exercise, it's only one in whimsy.
I don't care how spacious your bedroom is, it's no place for a horse. Though I respect the Kanye-esque opulence of white horses in your marbled boudoir, the reality is that this is a wildly irresponsible place to keep your horses. Those floors won't be gleaming for long, young lady.
Okay, so she's a poor stable keeper -- that doesn't make her a poor equestrienne. In fact, she's adept enough at riding her horse around the mansion's expansive grounds, and even showboats toward the end of the video:
(Ha ha, nailed that three-year-old meme! She's really "horsin' around"!)
You know who's never won a horse race or an equestrian event? SOMEONE STANDING ON TOP OF THE SADDLE. This is not only an ineffective technique in any horse sport, it's a dangerous example to set for Swift's legion of impressionable young fans. I don't want my children idolizing some me-first glory-jockey who only cares about ghost-riding her horses.
Still, I'd be remiss if I didn't note that this requires a good amount of skill, which is more than I can say for her in any other athletic endeavor.
By the end of the video, Taylor -- upset at her cologne ad model for, like, checking Twitter on his phone -- decides to smash up his original Shelby Cobra. There are many problems with this, not least of which THAT CAR DIDN'T HURT YOU, TAYLOR.
First, let's talk about club selection. I understand that our singer probably doesn't have a revenge caddy (YET), but she wants to destroy a car and she reaches for ... a pitching wedge? Look, I respect the nod to Elin Woods, but this reflects zero feel for the game.
Next, and very obviously, is the issue of her swing. I have terrible form myself, so I can recognize it as readily in Taylor's swing as I can in Charles Barkley's. Like recognize like.
Even if you try to make the argument that she's not trying to hit a golf ball, this is still the spastic flailing of someone ill-equipped to employ hand-eye coordination in the interest of property damage. Miss Swift would have been well-served to consult another blonde chanteuse with country roots: Carrie Underwood, who wrecked a man's ride in "Before He Cheats":
Trusty Louisville Slugger, protective shades to block against shattered glass, a general appearance of having held a piece of sporting equipment before: THAT is a woman prepared to break some shit.
IV. TIMBER SPORTS
This is nothing close to appropriate lumberjacking attire. If you want to hack away the "SEAN +TAYLOR" heart you scratched in the tree, work gloves would be nice, but I'd settle for "not ankle boots" as the footwear of choice.
You know what? Maybe I'm being unfair. Maybe she can get a good power base in 5-inch heels. Maybe her chopping looks natural when we set it in motion.
OR NOT. This is easily the worst wood-chopping I've ever seen, and I watched the Buccaneers under Greg Schiano.
Taylor, listen to me. I understand that it's unlikely you'll ever see this article -- and if you do, it's even more unlikely you'll read this far -- but PLEASE, for me, use your core, girl. Swing with your hips. If you try to chop a tree down with your elbows, you're going to get nowhere and end up flailing around like an awkward spaz.
Yeah, like that.
GIRL THERE IS A DEER IN YOUR HOUSE. STOP WRITHING BY THE FIREPLACE AND TAKE CARE OF THE GODDAMN HOOFED MAMMALS RUNNING WILD IN CHATEAU DES UNGULATES.
DO NOT TELL ME THAT THE DEER IS A METAPHOR. YOU CLEARLY NEED TO GET A HUNTING LICENSE AND -- OH DEAR GOD. NO. NEVER MIND.
WE DON'T WANT YOU ANYWHERE NEAR FIREARMS.
Taylor Swift is a terrible athlete and really bad at sports.