Book Talk

Taylor Swift songs that remind me of: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Hello everyone!

Taylor Swift waving

Today I want to kick off a new section of the blog I came up with a few months ago, when I was still in my year-long hiatus. Taylor Swift is one of my two favorite singers of all time, I have never been able to resonate with someone else’s music as I’ve resonated with hers. I’ve been a swiftie since 2009 and her lyrics are one of the things I adore the most in the whole world.

Similarly (and though it’s pretty obvious) I love reading fiction books and diving into many different worlds that aren’t my own, exploring different lives and settings. So the fact that these two passions merge together when I see the stories I read reflected in Swift’s lyrics, is nothing strange.

In this new section, I will share with you which Taylor Swift’s songs or lyrics remind me of a book in particular, and reflect on what exactly led me to connect one thing with the other.

Malibu Rising was the second book I read this year and just adored it. If you’ve been following me for a while you may already know I’m a huge fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s stories, and I wasn’t surprised to dive into this world as easily as I did, and be captivated by it. I want to warn everyone that there are big spoilers ahead so if you don’t want to get spoiled on this book, stop reading here.

Without further ado, I want to introduce you to the Taylor Swift songs that reminded me of Jenkins Reid’s “Malibu Rising” while I was reading it!

Style – “you got that James Dean daydream look in your eye”

The visuals of the music video and the entire lyrics of these song took me to a coast town setting and I couldn’t help but be reminded of June and Mick’s first year as a couple, mainly before getting married. I think this song can capture really well how they felt about each other, how they saw themselves as a golden couple that could reach the stars if they stayed beside one another. Also, the lyric “could end in burning flames or paradise” takes me back to June’s mom warning her about how they relationship could end in disaster just by the type of guy she sensed he was.

Mad Woman – “the master of spins has a couple side flings, good wives always know”

A drastic change from the previous song, Mad Woman encapsulates how June felt about Mick after he showed his true colors. This is a song that addresses infidelity in a very direct way. Not just that, also how the wife purposely ignores this infidelity to remain a “good woman”.

“she should be mad, should be scathing like me but no one likes a mad woman”

Unfortunately, we never see June becoming that “mad woman” the song talks about, someone who stoods up for herself and sets her own boundaries. So I imagined this song to represent another woman seeing June’s experience and sharing her thoughts on the situation.

Hoax – “stood on the cliffside screaming ‘give me a reason'”

This particular lyric reminded me of June crying outside her house after Mick abandoned her and their children. I felt like the lyrics magically popped up in my mind once I read the scene because of how it was exactly what was happening. Similarly, once Brandon does this to Nina many years later, story repeats itself and this might as well be the song playing in the background.

“your faithless love’s the only hoax I believe in”

Going back to June and Mick, this lyric reminded me of the way she always tried to put a faรงade of a perfect marriage when she knew very well that Mick cheated on her every night. Overall, this song reminds me of a love that destroyed one of the parts. The kind of love that you won’t recover from, that makes you feel the worst kind of pain, and that’s exactly what Mick did to June.

The Lucky One – “new to town with a made-up name, in the Angels’ city chasing fortune and fame”

I instantly associate this song with any book that features fame and stardom, so it’s not surprising that I included it here. I also realized I was talking too much about June and Mick and wanted to deviate the subject. This song reminds me of Mick’s rise to fame, and that of his children some years later, but more especifically about Nina and how she sees her colleagues worrying about the moment in which someone else’s name “goes up in lights”, replacing theirs. The final lyrics “…but I think you’ve got it right, let me tell you know you’re the lucky one” (implying that the person who fell from grace was the luckiest), remind me of how Nina was never worried about losing her fame and how she wish she could give it all to someone else instead.

All Too Well – “you kept me like a secret but I kept you like an oath”

Okay I told myself I wasn’t going to speak about Mick and June no more but THIS !! LYRIC !! This lyric alone made 2021 the best year ever for me. I have still not recovered from that.
But going back to Malibu Rising, this lyric tell us how June always saw Mick as the center of her universe, the one she couldn’t live without, the best thing to ever happen to her. On the contrary, to Mick she wasn’t but a fleeting star in his constellation, a shiny toy that lost its shine way too fast. He never commited himself to her the way she did to him. And this is just what this lyric tells us.

“not weeping in a party bathroom / some actress asking me what happened, you / that’s what happened, you”

And of course, I cannot just ignore that lyric up there. A party bathroom?? An actress?? If this doesn’t scream “The Riva Party”, I don’t know what will.

Long Live – “I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you”

I dare to say that despite of all the struggles the Riva children had to face growing up without their parents, there were times in which they could (even if momentarily) forget about this and cherish that they had one another. They were a great team, they faced the dragons together and as they step into the next chapter of their lives, they’re grateful to have had each other from the very beginning. So this song reminds me of how each of them became successful individuals, happy with the lives they have despite of all that it took getting there.

Tolerate It – “I sit and listen, I polish plates until they gleam and glisten”

This song reminds me a bit of Brandon and Nina’s relationship, and more specifically, their downfall. In this song, Swift speaks on how she’s capable of “gaining the weight of (you) then lose it” even when the person the song’s directed at doesn’t really believe it. It also captures how Nina overlooked some things that bothered her about Brandon and convinced herself she was entirely happy with a man that never really listened to her and just saw her as a trophy… thank God she’s happy in Portugal now.

The Archer – “who could ever leave me darling, but who could stay?”

While the rest of the song doesn’t have much to do with MR’s plot…

(A mandatory pause: I just realized that Malibu Rising and Mick Riva share the same initials. Coincidence? I don’t think so. My mind just blew off? Definitely.)

As I was saying –The Archer as a whole doesn’t have a strong connection to Malibu Rising’s plot, but that particular line I mentioned above does. It strongly remindes me of Mick Riva and how lonely he really is, despite being surrounded by people. He’ll never be entirely alone but no one would stay with him when he really needs it. And you know what, he deserves it.

And that’s all for this post! I had a great time writing it and analyzing the connection between the songs and this story that just stole my heart. I look forward to do another post like this one in the future.

Have you read Malibu Rising? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments!

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