When my husband was alive, he listened to Taylor Swift with our daughters. They were discovering her together around the 2016 election, and I preferred Katy Perry’s fuller vocals and willingness to take a political stance. Taylor seemed only to sing about boys.

Ian, who was more of a music connoisseur than I, informed me that he’d listened to Taylor’s entire catalog driving our oldest to school each day, and not only did she have more songs, she largely wrote them herself and played guitar. Our 9-year-old feminist’s favorite song was “We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together.”

I was skeptical but in spite of myself, I kept skipping to “Stay Stay Stay,” right after “Never Ever Ever” on "Red," because it reminded me of Ian and our relationship — despite the muddling hardships of middle-aged marriage, we always chose to stay. It tickled me that 22-year-old Taylor had written, “Before you, I'd only dated self-indulgent takers.” How many narcissists could she have dated in her short lifetime?

. . .

It turns out that Taylor gets her heart broken a lot. And even at 22, she possessed a sageness about relationships.

In Susan Cain’s "Bittersweet," she talks about what draws us to sad music over happy music.

“People whose favorite songs are happy listen to them about 175 times on average,” she reports. “But those who favor ‘bittersweet’ songs listen to them almost 800 times, according to a study by University of Michigan professors Fred Conrad and Jason Corey, and they report a ‘deeper connection’ to the music than those whose favorites made them happy.”

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