Greece in the Age of Heroes. Harry Potter, an awkward young Ambassador’s son, has been invited along to the biannual gathering at the Court of Thrace, where, much to his own displeasure, he meets the Trojan Prince: Draco Malfoy. The Prince turns out to be the least of Harry’s problems when he suddenly finds himself on a trojan ship, headed straight into enemy territory.
‘You Don’t Get Many Songs Like That’: Liz Rose on Co-Writing Taylor Swift’s 'You Belong With Me’ Chorus
One of Taylor Swift’s secret weapons in her early hit-making days was Nashville songwriting veteran Liz Rose, who co-wrote a number of Swift’s best and biggest early hits, including “Teardrops on My Guitar,” “White Horse” and “You Belong With Me.” The latter went all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and established the country star as a major pop player.
“It’s really fun to start a song, and you can just hand it to the room, and they all start singing it,” Rose tells Billboard of the enduring smash, whose explosive shout-along refrain we just named the 20th-best chorus of the entire 21st century. “You don’t get many songs like that.”
After Swift wrote third album Speak Now entirely on her own, she and Rose only collaborated once more – on 2012’s Red highlight “All Too Well” – but the latter has remained an in-demand country and pop songwriter, even winning a Grammy in 2016 for her work on Little Big Town’s surprise crossover hit “Girl Crush.” Rose spoke to Billboard about her memories of co-penning (and later performing) one of Swift’s early signature hits.
Was the chorus the first part of the song that came together?
We always started at the beginning. It just flowed out, honestly. She’s so fast. And Taylor kind of knew – she came in with [sings] “You’re on the phone with your girlfriend…” And it just kind of flowed into that chorus.
Are there individual strengths that you and Taylor have as co-songwriters, where you put your emphasis on one part and she does another?
We were always back-and-forth. She comes in with the story and the melody – I truly believe that she heard the production in that song while we wrote it. And that song always amazes me, because when I do writers’ night and I try to play it, I always make the audience sing it – or I make girls get up to sing it.
And that chorus – it’s impossible to sing! I don’t know how she did it. Well, I mean, she’s young and she has a great voice. But the high-reaching [parts of the chorus]… usually I just stop and let the audience sing it. I’m like, “Y’all take this, I can’t do it!”
Was there a part of the chorus that once it came together, you guys knew you were good to go?
Oh, man, just the way it flowed so fast. And I loved the way that it was [only] half of the chorus the first time – have you noticed that? I just think that was so cool, the way we did that.
It does seem like something you guys did a number of times together – where the chorus does shift as the song goes on, and by the third chorus, there’s a key word or phrase that gets turned on its head a little. What do you think the power of doing that is?
It makes you want to stay until the end of the song. And I think that it makes a song more personal. It does it in [Fearless single] “White Horse,” and it does it in “You Belong With Me.” It just makes the listener feel like the writer and the artist care about the song – that they’re like, “Okay, you’ve heard it, but wait a minute – ‘cause I want you know that this really affected me, I’m gonna dig the knife in just a little bit deeper.” We were never through writing a song until we were through writing a song. Until the last line.
I noticed listening to the song recently that it almost sounds like a ‘90s rock song, the way the verses explode into the chorus. Was that something you guys were intentionally going for, or just how it came together?
I think it was there when we were writing it. We wrote it, like, the day before she cut it. And she, I believe, wanted to make sure she’d written everything she could write for the record before she finished cutting it. So I think she came in wanting to write an up-tempo [number], and came in with that story, wanting to write this really fun, fast, driving song. And you can hear it in the guitar, in the work tape.
Do you think this is the best chorus you and Taylor ever did together?
Absolutely. When I go out and do it – when I don’t even have to sing it [Laughs] – it’s pretty awesome! There’s a lot of joy in it. It’s really fun to do live, it’s really fun to watch young girls to 50-year-old women get up and sing it.
Do you have a favorite chorus of the 21st century, or a song that comes to mind when think of a great 21st-century chorus?
Oh, gosh. Well “Girl Crush,” of course. [Laughs.] But that I didn’t write? Taylor’s song “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” I mean, that song is amazing. And [Florida Georgia Line’s] “Cruise.” Think about what “Cruise” did, with FGL. Just that it makes you want to sing it, whether you’re a fan of theirs or not, it doesn’t matter. That song, it had a big impact on country music. And “Mama’s Broken Heart,” Miranda [Lambert], that Kacey [Musgraves] wrote. There’s some great ones.
There's a song i like about a guy that plays piano under a girl's house to show his affection and he's waiting for a sign to come up but he never looks at her cuz he's focused on playing and she wishes to signal him but he doesn't look up so they end up staying up all night waiting for eachother to make a move. I just thought it would be cute with sherlock playing the violin for john...
It’s a quiet night in Baker Street. It’s the dead of winter; snow is falling outside, blanketing all of London in its silence, and there’s a fire crackling in the grate in 221B.
Sherlock stands by the window, violin tucked beneath his chin. He’s playing a new song, something he’s been working on for months now. John knows this because Sherlock had told him in a very odd, flat sort of way.
“I wrote something. A piece of music,” he’d said about five minutes previously, his fingers tapping nervously at his sides.
“Okay,” John had replied slowly. “That’s…nice.”
“It’s taken me months. Would you like to hear it?”
“Um. Yes. That would be nice. Let me just…get a drink.”
And that’s how he had ended up sitting in his chair by the fire, a glass of whiskey in hand, watching Sherlock pull sweet music from the strings of his violin. It really is a beautiful piece, and John can’t help feeling as if there is something familiar in hit, something calling to him. He’s always enjoyed listening to Sherlock play, especially when he’s actually playing and not just screeching sounds at Mycroft. But for some reason, this feels different.
It feels like all those nights that he wakes up from a nightmare and suddenly there’s the sound of the violin drifting up to his room, soothing him, calming him. It feels like when he comes home from a particularly rough day at work and sinks down into his chair, and a cup of tea magically appears at his side, and Sherlock takes up his bow. It feels like that night, after the swimming pool, when he’d had a bomb strapped to his chest; when John had been so high strung he couldn’t sleep, and he’d curled up on the sofa and Sherlock had played and played and played until John couldn’t keep his eyes open anymore.
John feels warm and safe, wrapped up in Sherlock’s music, and he desperately wants Sherlock to look at him because he’s never been able to say it out loud, but he’s sure that if Sherlock looks at him now then he’ll see it, plain as day, written all over his face, and maybe then they’ll finally get somewhere. But Sherlock is concentrating hard, his eyes closed, his hands steady on his instrument. He plays as if it’s all that matters, as if he couldn’t possibly think of anything else he should be doing.
John knows, though, he knows that this music is meant for him; it’s meant to make him feel this way. And even if he can’t say it, even if he’s too afraid to do anything about it, he can sit there in his chair and listen and let his love play out over his face in the hopes that Sherlock will open his eyes.
Hello again! I wrote this in about half and hour and didn’t proof-read or anything, so it may be a mess, but hopefully it’s alright? This is a Peter Parker story about the reader having an awful day and Peter being there to help make it better. I got a request for an imagine about Tom comforting an upset reader, but I just changed it to a Peter fic, so I hope that’s okay!
Peter and Ned rushed down the hallway, late for class as per usual, each boy faulting the other for the possible detention slip that loomed over their heads. Truthfully, they were both guilty parties.
Ned and Peter had gotten hungry after gym class and snuck off campus during their lunch break to grab sandwiches at the shop a few blocks down. They’d been so absorbed by greasy fries and vanilla malts that they had forgotten to check the clock. To make it to physics on time, the boys had needed to run down the street, which proved very difficult seeing as the streets were always crowded with too many people. You could barely bend over to tie your shoe without someone getting in your way and vice versa.
“This is so annoying!” Peter whined, “I can’t deal with a detention today, what if Mr. Stark needs me, or like, I don’t know, I’ve got to somehow figure out how to multiply myself so I can be about a thousand places at once so I can fight all the city’s crime.” He bent over for a second to wait for Ned to catch up.
“Dude, shut up,” Ned wheezed, “I think I’m just going to take the detention slip, I’m over this.” He braced himself with a harsh hand on Peter’s shoulder. “This is like taking gym all over again.”
“No, Ned, we’re so close! I’m sure that we can drag ourselves a few more feet.” Peter encouraged his best friend, while the pair moved sluggishly up the stairs.
Ned opened his mouth with a witty retort in mind, when Peter smacked a hand over his chest to steady him. “Do you hear that?” Peter mumbled.
The boys strained their ears and heard the soft pitter patter of heels clacking against the floor above them. The longer they listened, the more amplified the clicks became. “Shit,” Ned cursed, “we’re so getting caught. I am not down for detention right now.”
The boys fumbled on the stairs, unsure of which direction they should run in when the noise traveled nearer and nearer to where they stood on the stairs. “Maybe we’ll just get a firm talking to for being late again?” Peter said, doing his best to think positively in the face of defeat.
Ned groaned, slumping his shoulders, as he too accepted the fact that he and his best friend were about to be completely vanquished by whatever school staff member was about to bust them for their constant tardiness.
Peter moaned and leaned back into the banister, taking out his phone to text both Aunt May and Mr. Stark that he would be unavailable for a few more hours after class. The boys both lifted their heads up to meet the furious gaze of the teacher that never came.
Instead, the young girl that breezed past the boys was one of their friends, and Peter’s biggest crush yet. When Liz Allen hadn’t worked out, Liz had made sure to introduce Peter to her friend, who was in the same grade as Peter and Ned. She even shared more than a few classes with the pair of them.
She stunned Peter on a daily basis. Whether it was her ability to quote Shakespearean literature like it was a simple recipe that she’d learned over the weekend, drink eight lattes a day, manipulate chemicals to do as she pleased, or her capability to be the kindest person he’d ever met, Peter was always left breathless. She was nice to everyone, even to the people who didn’t deserve it and had never flaunted her beauty or brains in a way that hurt a classmate intentionally. Peter didn’t think he had ever heard her utter a mean word about someone in his entire life, even when people would say horrid things to her.
She comforted Peter on his lowest nights, even without being near him. She had a soft voice and he imagined cuddling up with her in bed, while she played with his curls and listened to him cry about the level of stress that he was under without ever making fun of him. Besides that, she was easily the most beautifully luminous girl in Peter and Ned’s entire high school.
Although, right now, she was wiping her eyes and trying to cover up the sobs that drifted past her lips. Peter’s eyes widened and he looked to Ned and then back at the girl that he desperately desired to make his own, and then back at Ned.
“Go,” Ned urged, pushing Peter in an attempt to steer him closer to her. “Go or it’ll be too late. She likes you and you like her, stop being a baby, Parker. Tony Stark can’t do everything for you.”
A few weeks ago, a rumor spread that she had gotten a little too tipsy at one of Liz’s parties and had accidently, and quite loudly, revealed that she harbored a massive crush on Peter Parker. Peter had been quick to brush off the rumor, claiming that it was only started to embarrass her, remained unaware that the rumor wasn’t just a rumor, and was an actual fact.
Before Peter could take offense to Ned’s statement, something clicked in his brain and he was tearing down the stairs, trying to make his way to her before she reached the school’s front door.
He called out her name just as her hand closed over the door’s handle. She turned, brown mascara smudged beneath her eyes and waved, her lips quivering into a soft smile that she aimed at Peter before she pulled open the door and walked through it.
“Shit,” Peter mumbled, breaking into a full run in hopes of getting to her before she drove off.
Her day had been so horrible, no matter how she tried to look at. All she wanted was for Peter Parker to wrap his surprisingly muscular arms around her frame, pull her onto his lap, and allow her to cry into his neck while he whispered soft words of reassurement to her. She logiticied that Peter hadn’t reciprocate her feelings, seeing as Liz had been his crush since day one, no matter what Liz said, so she would have to settle for her warm, pink bed, a tub of ice-cream, and a Harry Potter movie marathon.
Peter called her name out once again, nearly tripping over his own two feet to stand in front of her. “Wait,” he wheezed, all of his words crawling back down his throat when he looked upon her face.
Fresh tears glimmered in her eyes, her rosey lipgloss had been disturbed, her lower lip trembled and Peter was almost lost for words. He had never seen her look so sad before and he decided right then and there that he would find the person who did this to her and destroy them, spidey suit or not.
“What’s the matter?” Peter said gently, moving to hug her close, but then dropping his hands because she hadn’t said that he was allowed to touch her and Peter wouldn’t ever want to make her heart hurt more.
In reality, the girl knew that she was probably being over-dramatic and silly, but she couldn’t help it. Everything that she had worked so hard for was collapsing in on her and there was nothing she could do about it. It wasn’t even one in the afternoon and she had suffered through three anxiety attacks, and was currently on the brink of another one.
She opened her mouth to respond to Peter, but when she couldn’t make her mouth move past a strangled sob, she simply shrugged her shoulders and catapulted herself into Peter’s arms.
Peter reacted automatically, cradling the small of her back to him while he rubbed soft circles onto her spine. “It’ll be okay,” he whispered into her floral smelling hair, “tell me what I can do to fix it and I’ll do it.”
They stood like that for a while, Peter slowly rocking them back and forth, while he supported the meager weight of her shaking frame in his arms. He spoke to her tenderly, telling her that he would help her make whatever was hurting her okay before she lifted her head to meet his eyes.
“Peter, I’m going to get you into trouble.” She sniffled, “you should be in class, I know that you love physics.”
“If you haven’t noticed,” Peter said, raising his eyebrows, “I don’t give half a damn about physics right now, you’re the only one who brought it up. I want to be where you are so I can help.”
She prayed that she wouldn’t regret what she was about to ask Peter, “do you wanna come home with me? We’re both going to get detention if we stay out here for much longer. I promise I’ll compensate you with warm chocolate chip cookies and coffee,” she trailed off, refusing to meet Peter’s hopeful gaze.
“Okay,” Peter said, “but I don’t know if you should drive right now,” he pointed to her shaking hands. “I don’t want you to get hurt by accident.”
She nodded her head, planning on ordering an uber and just leaving her car at the school.
“If you want, I can drive us home, I swear I know how.” Peter offered, a cherry blush spilling over his cheeks.
The girl dug through her purse before retrieving her car keys. “Okay, Peter. I trust you.”
Peter smiled at her before taking hold her keys and leading her into the parking lot. He couldn’t believe that she still looked so pretty after having just sobbed into his sweater.
“Peter?” She asked softly, tugging at his sleeve to make him look at her. “Thank you for being so good to me.”
He shook his head and leaned in, and before he could stop himself, he pressed a loving kiss to her forehead. Peter’s eyes widened, but before he could have his own panic attack, she flashed a real smile at him and pulled Peter forward, through lanes and lanes of parked cars.
We need to have a serious talk about this Gilmore Girls fic.
As Will Smith once said, OK. Here’s the situation.
Someone is writing The Subsect. Jess’s novel. I’m frankly amazed that in all the years of online Gilmore Girls fandom that no one has attempted to do this before, and it’s entirely possible that someone has. But I’m too new to this fandom to know, and if someone tried to write The Subsect before, it probably wasn’t like this story.
Because here’s the thing. This version of The Subsect, in its current online metafictional form, is fucking amazing. It’s so good that I thought, after a first pass, that it might actually be very good, very well-placed guerrilla marketing for the revival. But I don’t think it is. I think it’s just a fic. Written by some wicked smart person somewhere out there.
If you want to read it, it’s here. The single most devastating thing about it, so far, is that it’s only two chapters long.
I have many thoughts about this story, but let’s start at the beginning, in the first chapter.
And as a note, the following contains many spoilers, so if you want to remain unspoiled in regards to this story – however filthy and corrupted your mind may already be – stop reading now, go read the damn first chapter of The Subsect, and then come back and read this.
Thoughts on the first chapter of the fanfictional Subsect, in no particular order. Here come some bullet points…
The first chapter is set in New York City, where we find Jess growing up as a youthful hoodlum and accomplished card shark, as you would expect. The level of accurate, ultra-specific detail about NYC in this story, though, is mind-boggling. Subway stops. The names of businesses. Geography. Every word of it – with a couple of fascinating exceptions, which I’ll talk about – is real. And it’s not just accurate in general. It’s accurate to the period of the story. An example: At some point, the narrator – called J., but I’ll presume it’s Jess – mentions a bookstore near Columbia University named Labyrinth. It’s real, but it’s now under new ownership and has a new name. You’d never know this, ever, unless you went to that bookstore before it was renamed. So whoever’s writing this is a New Yorker and has been for a while, or they’re a research freak of truly epic and admirable proportions.
The story contains a freakishly contextual reference to Italian opera, and an ominous quote from Julius Caesar in Latin that both foreshadows the conflict later in the chapter and harkens back to Jess’s growing affinity for gambling. This is not garden-variety fanfic, friends.
The story invents a completely genius plot device that has Jess leaving NYC for Stars Hollow not just because he’s bad and is doing bad things — although he is and does, per cannon and the details of this story — but he also leaves the city in the wake of 9/11. The craziest thing about this? It totally works. The episode where Jess steps off the bus in Stars Hollow aired on October 20, 2001.
There are two references in this story that are clearly fictionalized. (And there may be more. I just haven’t spotted them yet.) The first one is about Liz working at Shrafft’s as a waitress. Newsflash: There is no Schrafft’s anywhere in NYC, and there hasn’t been since maybe the 1970s. So why the fictional reference amidst all this hard, cold, New York-y reality? Well, here’s the deal. As the story mentions, the Scrafft’s where Liz works is on 79th Street, and there was indeed a Schrafft’s restaurant on East 79th Street, though it was closed long before the action of this story takes place, and has now been torn down. But this particular Schrafft’s is notable because it was mentioned in a J.D. Salinger novella called Raise High the Roofbeam. Who would write that kind of obscure reference into a novel that’s otherwise positioned as a thinly veiled memoir? Why, your favorite pretentious literature nerd and mine: Jess Fucking Mariano. In fact this reference breaks the otherwise factual fabric of the story. It fucks up everything that’s been so meticulously plotted before and after it — including the piece’s careful attention to geography. As Liz gets off her shift at the fictional Schrafft’s, she beelines it for the 2 train to head uptown to her next job in the Bronx. Well, the Salinger Scrafft’s was on the East Side of Manhattan, where there is certainly no 2 train. The point of all this? To make you, dear reader, believe in your soul of souls that Jess Mariano wrote this story. If he wasn’t a fictional character on TV show, I might think that he actually did. The other fictional reference is when J. describes being robbed and beat up in a park in Bensonhurst by the Jones Street Boys, who are a fictional gang in the video game The Warriors.
It’s also worth mentioning that the chapter’s opening language is so very, very true to Jess’ character. The sense of poetic surreality. The ten-cent words. The thin veil of fiction over what’s clearly a memoir. It is the kind of stuff that first-time dude novelists do when they’ve spent too much time reading the beats. The result? It’s all weirdly convincing. I don’t just believe that Jess wrote this story. I believe that there is, in fact, a Jess. So how did we get here? Where the best piece of metafiction I’ve read all year is a Gilmore Girls fanfic? Tell me that.
I have more to say about this story. But I need to re-read the second chapter first and this post is really long and annoying, so I’ll stop.
You’re a loner. You keep your distance. You travel freely through foreign lands. You’re rootless. You’re very comfortable here with your glass of Scotch, but you’re just as comfortable sleeping in a cave with rebels or sharing dinner in some hole-in-the-wall noodle shop. Your closest friends are strangers. You understand that tight bonds can make you vulnerable, so you’re careful not to have any. And that’s why you’re so conflicted about me. You need me. And you hate that about yourself, because it makes you vulnerable.
When I realized that my current position in life wasn’t my
destiny, it was a tough pill to swallow. I’d been fighting it for years really
– the push and pull of wanting to do more with my talents and abilities, but
unable to move forward for one reason or another.
As a girl, I’d always striven
for big – the President of the United States, or an award-winning actress
depending on the day or time you asked…but there was never a desire to settle.
Too much was expected of me. Even more, I wanted more for myself.
When I read “We”
the first time, it left me feeling extremely raw and vulnerable. I remember
writing in my journal,
“I fear that the
principles will point me in a different direction than the one I’m ‘supposed’
to lead – the one I’m already living, away from my family.”
Of course, I
wasn’t talking about divorce or abandoning my children, but whether being a
stay-at-home mom was the path I was supposed to be on for the long-term.
Remember that exercise that required us to write down over
and over again a niggling voice in our head that shapes how we view ourselves?
The goal was to write it so many times that it becomes insignificant, but all
it did for me was awaken a fear that I had buried – that “I
have wasted my mind when I capable of so much more.”
I chose to stay at home when my
daughter was born.
It’s a decision I have to remind myself of daily. A decision
that, some days, I’m happy to have made, but some days, I feel strangles my
potential. The more years that go by, the more I feel like the decision is
being made *for* me, rather than the other way around.
My book is riddled with these call-outs. At the time, it made me nauseous
to think about the truth behind what I was reading, terrified of what it was revealing. In retrospect, I’m extremely grateful for it.
Getting honest with myself was and is the scariest thing I’ve
And it took a fight with my wife for me to realize it, and
admit it out loud.
She’d been sensing it. I’d been pulling away, diving
headfirst into outside hobbies (hello fandom) that awakened a talent in me I
didn’t know I had, and not only that, but *appreciated* the talent I shared. I
was being praised for something I wrote and created, rather than the mundane
tasks of my every-day life. She knew that I wanted more, could feel me practically
vibrating with it. Venting her frustrations about my pulling away, and the ultimate
repercussions it could on our family, it was in her fears that I realized maybe
she was right. Maybe this isn’t the life I want.
How can I be truly happy in my life, in my marriage, in
motherhood unless I’m truly happy with the choices I’ve made and what I do in
my life? Standing in front of the mirror
and being happy with the stretch marks that ripple my stomach is only a part of
the picture of being true to yourself and being happy with who you are.
There’s a certain shame that accompanies the realization
that you aren’t living a life authentic to who you are. As if women aren’t
shamed enough with the never-ending battle between the guilt of working
mothers, or the judgment towards SAHMs, it’s even worse when you admit that
that the path you’ve chosen is no longer the one you want. Jennifer had a
similar awakening in herself when she realized she wasn’t living the life she
was meant to lead, desiring more to be with her children and engage in other endeavors
than work tirelessly in the newsroom day-in and day-out.
Hers was ultimately “burn
out”, but mine is the opposite. I don’t think I’ve ever truly “burned” to begin
with. Being at home hasn’t burnt me out, but I do feel it’s deadened me in a
way, and I know that I can’t continue like this…
Honesty for me meant getting real with what I want from my
life. And the truth hurt. It hurt because I knew it was true, but I was afraid
to admit it. And while the book also stresses against making any big decisions
right away, I can tell you that this has been a long-time coming, and one that
needs to be jumped on before I let fear or others’ opinions about it shape my
decision. I have the support of my wife, I have the support of my family and
friends, and I believe I can do this. That’s all that really matters. The rest
is just noise.
So, I’m going back to work. Not right away, though. I was recently accepted into the Paralegal Program at UCSD, and starting
this summer, I will be taking courses and ultimately work a career where I can
utilize my skills and talents, and fulfill my dreams in a way that is truly
fitting to who I am and what I want from my life.
It won’t be easy, and there’s a certain amount
of shifting of my life (and the lives of others) that will be necessary, but
being able to be a better role-model for my daughters, a better mother in the
long-term, and a better wife is all the more reason to do it. Being a paralegal
won’t do those things, but being happy with who I am and what I’m doing will.
It’s a ripple effect that can’t be ignored, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a
But, I’m feeling the fear, and doing it anyway… And I’m also
really excited about it.
A/N: So I had this idea and then I had a dream of this idea so I decided to go with it. I thought about make it a series but I’m not sure yet. We’ll see how it goes. I had no idea it would come out as long as it did, the words just kept come. Anyways, let me know what you think! BE HONEST. And if you want this to maybe be a series let me know that as well! :) Also I suck a titles I’m sorry.
Some C2E2 panel highlights:
Liz calling framework Fitz hot
Iain talking about the “X-rated” deleted scenes
Liz saying she cries while reading the Fitzsimmons scenes, even when they aren’t exactly sad because she’s really emotionally invested in them (same)
Liz saying that her favorite Fitzsimmons scene hasn’t aired yet
Iain talking about how much he loves working with Liz (he did this for two questions lol) and then ending the panel by saying “But she’s still an asshole”