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Analyse de la chanson Taylor Swift "Mean"

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Presenting a protest song

I- General presentation

The song I chose is “Mean” released in 2010 (two thousand ten) by Taylor Swift. She is a singer-songwriter who comes from in Reading in Pennsylvania in the United States and was born in the thirteen of December 1989 (nineteen eighty-nine). Her musical genre is country and pop. She is not really considered as a committed singer but on only one song she committed for harassment, for her it is important to denounce this problem.

II- The Context

In this song, he criticizes the harassment present more and more in the world. Following the murder of Larry King in February 2008, Taylor joins the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network that fights hate crimes. Indeed Larry King was a victim of harassment. One year after Larry King's murder, Taylor says in “Seventeen” magazine that his parents taught her "never to judge someone according to the person they love, their skin colour or their religion”; therefor she decides to compose a song about harassment. Moreover, Taylor swift was also a victim of harassment, this subject is important for her.

III- Analysis

a)  The sound

The first thing we notice is the music is plain, sad, and a little catchy which contributes to creating a sorrowful atmosphere but in the chorus the atmosphere is more optimistic and happy. Indeed, at first the tone is sad and dreary, and then it becomes optimistic. As for the singer’s voice, it is high-pitched and as a result
to allow getting betters the message across.

b) The lyrics

If we give the song a closer look, it speaks of harassment that some people suffer. More over the title refers to the theme of the song.

If we focus on the lyrics, we can see an anaphor of the personal pronoun "you" at the beginning of sentence line 1, 3, 5, 7, 16 and 18, it is to insist on the bully and the wicked person. It denounces that the bully does the horrible acts.

The first verse talks about the fact a bully's words are powerful and can destroy people. Indeed, line 1 and 2 “You, with your words like knives and swords and weapons that you use against me” it is a simile, the words are compared to the knives, swords and weapons because some people do not realize that some words are very hurtful and it makes others feel bad about them. Next line 3 and 4, “You, have knocked me off my feet again, Got me feeling like a nothing”, explain that Because of the hurting words people say to others, the bullied person has felt like he is a useless person. We can read line 7 “You, picking on the weaker man” which refers to the bigger and stronger people who think that they can just pick on people who are weaker than them.

Then, the chorus refers in the future where the bully will be gone and the victim will end up more successful in life than him.

The second verse insists that the bullies are mean because they were once the victim and they want revenge. To end the cycle, victims have to stay strong. Moreover most people who are bullies have been bullied before. The bullies are doing this for revenge.

In the end of Verse 3,
 we can observe that no one listen to bullies and they are unsuccessful in life. We can read line 37 (thirty-seven) “Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things” explain that after a while, nobody listen to them, because of people are tired to listen their criticisms. Moreover we can read line 33(thirty-three) to 35 (thirty-five) "And I can see you years from now in a bar, talking over a football game, with that same big loud opinion" Explain that the bullies will go to end up will be alone because no one would want to be around them if all they ever do is pointing out people's flaws. It is an example of imagery because she is describing the future situation and actions of the bully. Finally, there is a repetition of the word “mean” line 42(forty-two). It is to insist on the wickedness of the bullies.


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