Mean by Taylor Swift (official video) is a country song.
Song Title: Mean (official video)
Artist: Taylor Swift
Album: Speak Now
Genre: country, pop, adult pop, easy listening
Composer: Copyright © 2011 Taylor Swift
Musical key: E Major
Lead Vocals: Taylor Swift
Backing Vocals: Caitlin Evanson, Paul Sidoti, Mike Meadows, Liz Huett
Lead Guitar: Grant Mickelson, Paul Sidoti
Rhythm Guitar: Taylor Swift, Grant Mickelson, Paul Sidoti, Mike Meadows, Jody Harris
Acoustic Guitar: Taylor Swift
Mandolin: Mike Meadows
Banjo: Taylor Swift (six string Deering), Mike Meadows
Ukulele: Taylor Swift
Bass Guitar: Amos Heller
Drums: Al Wilson
Fiddle: Caitlin Evanson
Director: Declan Whitebloom
Producer: Nathan Chapman, Taylor Swift
Released: March 7, 2011
Label: Big Machine
This song was nominated for the 2011 MTV Video Music Award for Best Video With A Message.
Number of listens: 23386
Current rank: 51 (updated weekly)
Highest rank: 10 (play the video all the way through to register a vote for this song)
Summary quotation from Wikipedia:
Mean is a song by American country pop singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, taken from her third studio album, Speak Now (2010). The song, written by Swift and produced by Nathan Chapman and Swift, was first released as a promotional single for the album on October 17, 2010, by Big Machine Records. The song was later released as an official single on March 7, 2011.
Upon its release as a promotional single, the song garnered mixed to positive reviews from critics for its lyrical detail and profound country sound. Mean received commercial success in the United States and Canada, debuting at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number ten on the Canadian Hot 100. The song also appeared on the Australian Singles Chart at number 45. It was later re-released as the third official single from Speak Now, and re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 90. Additionally, Mean became Swifts 13th consecutive single to reach top ten on Hot Country Songs when it jumped from number 12 to number 9 on the week ending May 14, 2011.
The songs accompanying music video was directed by Declan Whitebloom, who developed the concept together with Taylor Swift. It received mixed reviews from critics who perceived ambivalent messages in the video, despite the prevalent self-empowerment and anti-bullying themes. Mean was performed for the first time by Swift at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 3, 2011. The song won the Grammy Awards for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance at the 54th Grammy Awards.
In an interview with E! News before the release of her third studio album, Speak Now, Swift said that Mean is a response to people who criticize whatever she does. She said, theres constructive criticism, theres professional criticism, and then theres just being mean. And theres a line that you cross when you just start to attack everything about a person. In an interview with Dose.ca, Swift said that she wrote the song to get back at her critics, saying, Theres a song called Mean, that I guess you could categorize it into feelings and or relationships but its actually about a critic. In a later interview with 60 Minutes, Taylor Swift revealed that the critic was someone who attacked her performance with Stevie Nicks at the 52nd Grammy Awards, where she sang off-key. This critic is reputed to be Bob Lefsetz, who gave a critical review on his blog, The Lefsetz Letter.
It was released to country radio as the third single on March 7, 2011. Two exclusive packages were released to Taylor Swifts official store one included a T-shirt, an individually numbered Mean CD single and an autographed lithograph. This package is no longer available. The other package had just the T-shirt and CD single. Only 2,500 copies of the CD single were made. The single was later included in another package that is exclusive to Swifts official store. The package includes the Target exclusive deluxe edition of Speak Now, a free pair of headphones, and the choice between either the Sparks Fly, The Story of Us, or the Mean CD single.
According to Theon Weber of The Village Voice, the song is made of handclaps, amiable banjo strums, and multi-tracked Taylor Swifts. Bill Lamb from About.com expressed that Mean is one of the most overtly country sounding of all of Taylor Swifts recordings with clear banjo leading the way, and Matt Bjorke of Roughstock commented that the song is the most country with an extremely down-home, almost bluegrass sound. The song is written in the key of E major, and Swifts vocals span an octave and a perfect 4th, from G♯3 to C♯5. Jon Caramanica from The New York Times noted the song for its rootsy sound, where Swift sings over a bluegrass-influenced acoustic track unlike anything else shes yet recorded. The chorus has sequence of C♯m/G♯ B/F♯ A/E as its chord progression.
The songs lyrics address those who question Swifts ability to sing. This is echoed by Jill Serjeant from Billboard, writing [the song] appears to take aim at critics who slammed Swifts shaky vocal performance at the 2010 Grammy Awards and at other live shows last year. Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times also agreed that Mean smacks down critics who say she cant sing (I stand accused) by declaring that someday shell be livin in a great big city and theyll be drunk in some dive bar, bloviating into the void. Additionally, the song lyrics reflect the issue of bullying, which is transparent in a review by aforementioned Matt Bjorke of Roughstock, commenting Mean is an interesting song in that it finds Taylor chewing out many people, particularly bullies. Its a song that really could become part of the anti-bullying campaigns for schools everywhere. Bill Lamb of About.com also wrote that the song can also easily serve as a general purpose response to bullies in the world.
The songs couplets, (You with your switching sides and your wildfire lies and your humiliation / You have pointed out my flaws again, as if I dont already see them), were ranked at number five out of ten best couplets from Speak Now sheet by Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly.
The accompanying music video for Mean was directed by Declan Whitebloom. It was shot over two days in Los Angeles, with the Orpheum Theatre serving as its backdrop. The concept of the video was developed by both Swift and Whitebloom, who praised Swifts commitment and involvement with the production of the music video. In an interview with MTV News, Whitebloom said that Mean is very personal to Swift because lyrically its about a critic who was a little too harsh on her. However, he added that people can relate to its message, saying We all have similar stories in our life that hit similar emotional cues, and to open it up and make it broader about lots of people and situations .. makes it much more accessible. Whitebloom described the video as vignettes that feature scenes from all different time periods, from vaudevillian scenes to scenes resembling O Brother, Where Art Thou?. He also stated that the video was inspired by Swifts performance at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
Child star Joey King is featured in the video. Prior to the release of the video, Jocelyn Vena of MTV predicted that the video of Mean will be a honky-tonk-type performance video, in which [Swift] and her band have a little fun at someones expense. The music video premiered on Country Music Television on May 6, 2011, at 22:00 EST (03:00 UTC).
The video begins with Swift and her band playing a banjo guitar, all dressed in vintage-inspired clothes. The stage is set up like a front yard of a farmhouse. Then, Swift is shown being tied to the tracks by a villain, similar to the songs artwork. The villain and his friend laugh as she sits there helpless. However, Swift and the others are hardly the only victims in the video. A montage of Swift plucking away at her banjo is shown alternately throughout the video with scenes of a boy being bullied while reading a fashion magazine in a locker room by the football team and a girl, wearing a fast-food uniform, who is being made fun of by her peers. Another cut-scene shows a girl (who is played by Joey King) who is not allowed to sit with the popular clique at lunch and is forced to eat in the school bathroom. The next scene shows that the stage is transformed into a ritzy nightclub, with the singer all dazzled up in a sparkly flapper gown performing in the big leagues. It is revealed that the boy reading the fashion magazine is now a famous fashion designer; the fast food girl saves up for college and is a big-time executive. Then the villain and his friend get extremely drunk and faint, Taylor rolls her eyes at the scene, effortlessly removes the ropes and taunts them as she leaves. The final scene shows the other girl sitting as an audience watching and applauding as Swift finishes performing.
Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly thought that the message in the music video was confusing, writing Is she really equating a professional critic questioning her ability to sing at an awards show to getting bullied because youre different?
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