David Rees – Get Your War On cartoonist, artisanal pencil sharpener, and host of National Geographic's Going Deep – has created the year's most baffling mashup album, combining the music of Taylor Swift and Aphex Twin.
Taylor Swift made her name by writing big-hearted confessional songs for tween girls. But a lot of Aphex Twin's music (especially on the Richard D. James Album, from which most of these tracks are culled) is also super romantic — saccharine, even. Sometimes I wonder if his impossibly complex, inhuman drum patterns are just serving as a layer of sonic indie-cred to make the heart-on-your-sleeve melody and delicate timbres of (say) "Girl/Boy Song" more palatable for "cool" people. Or, on a more personal level, it's like he's protecting his bleeding heart behind a crazy tangle of barbed-wire snare rolls. AND WHO AMONG US HASN'T DONE THAT? So part one of my thesis is: APHEX TWIN IS AS BIG A ROMANTIC CORNBALL AS TAYLOR SWIFT.
It's a cliche to describe a celebrity as controlled and masterful as Taylor Swift as robotic, but I think there's some truth there, especially in an age when we assume — rightly or wrongly — any pop singer who hits a high note did it with the help of a computer. There's also the matter of her lyrics, which can be sorta cruel and sarcastic in a classic "mean girl" way. For all her blinding smiles and Subway commercials and wholesome concerts, I do think there's a dark side to Taylor Swift. She is what happens when Skynet becomes self-aware.