Ladies and gentlemen! Guess who’s back!! Oops. Shouldn’t say she’s back. Because the Old Taylor is dead.
Yes that’s right, Taylor Swift has just released a new single before her much anticipated album Reputation releasing in November. I heard this song on the radio the day it released, and I have a few thoughts. But of course, many out there are more vocal than me on Twitter and music review websites that I perused before making this post.
Mostly because when I heard this song, I was super confused. Now, I’m not a huge Tay-Tay fan. I never really have been. When her music came out back in 2006, I wasn’t overly impressed with songs like Love story and Fifteen, etc. I didn’t really see the fancy everyone else did at the time. But before you stamp me as a Taylor hater, I have to say that some of her songs are so realistic and resonate with me in a big way. Like some are so perfectly written in a way that echo my thoughts and feelings about a certain subject completely. And her music is so easy on the ears unlike a lot of other artists out there. That’s what I thought Taylor was all about.
Which is why I was confused by this song. The image I have of Taylor Swift is one with her guitar. And by that I mean, her music is something I appreciate about her. This song, lacks a tune. It lacks music. It’s more of a rhythm strip with words put to it. That was my first thought. I was waiting for a build-up to a massive chorus where there would be a melody matched to her voice. I was sadly disappointed. What I got instead was “Look What You Made Me Do” repeated to a two-beat (albeit, catchy) rhythm. People on the internet are calling it a “half-rap”.
The other thing, is the repetition thing. The words. Like I mentioned before, what I adore about Taylor Swift are the words in her songs. Regardless of what she’s writing about, be it her exes, her currents, Mr. And Mrs. West, etc. She always has a lot to say in her songs in that not-so-subtle way that’s priceless. So naturally, I was looking forward to hearing who did what to her in this song and her thoughts on it. But unfortunately, she has all of 4 lines with just a lot of repetition. There was no story, no chapters, no poetry, nothing really. Just the line “Look What You Made Me Do” and “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me” over and over and over. Not ideal Taylor. But there is a line in the middle of the song that I think explains a lot. She speaks! Although what she says is quite chilling. “Sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh.. Cuz she’s dead”
I found this line just scary. There’s no other word. Just scary. And kinda sad I suppose. There wasn’t anything wrong with the “old Taylor”. But hey, everyone changes, so why shouldn’t she? Just wish she could’ve changed without being “dead”.
Anyway this song doesn’t have much in the way of lyrics. The tone is quite angry. It’s quite dark and focused on a bitter side of Taylor. The video depicts her standing above her former versions of herself, obviously transformed into a higher being. It definitely echoes revenge and rage. Which is also quite a step away from the girl-next-door Taylor. All of this would have been fine if the tone was positive such that she’s happy to have changed into this new person, but it’s not. It’s more about blaming someone for it and seeking revenge and looking down upon who she was previously.
I wanted to know who she was aiming this song at. My top choices were Katy Perry (the betrayal runs deep), her former DJ (who dragged her to court unnecessarily) and of course, Mr. Egregious himself, Kanye West.
I didn’t think she’d still be singing about Kanye West, after all, it’s been years since the first drama and many songs since. You wouldn’t think she’d still be hung up on that would you? Apparently though, a lot of people on the internet believe it is Mr. Kanye who yet again had become the star of her song. And it is him who is “starring in (her) bad dreams”. The line about “tilted stage” is apparently aimed at him. Also, from the video, there are a few people who think that she is insulting Mrs. West and her burglary ordeal.
Reviews are calling this song, “petty”, “venomous” and frankly, an insult to her singing career. I kind of disagree.
Yeah I have issues with this song, but I do empathise with her. There isn’t a lot of words, but I kind of get it. It talks about the frustration that someone else pushed you to the point of changing a part of you that you may have actually been happy with. And that’s a sucky feeling. Which is what I think her song talks about. People say she should get over it, etc. But hey, this is how she copes and to be honest, it’s a pretty constructive outlet for her to sing songs about the things that bother her. It’s better than turning into a serial killer (as the undertones of this song seem to suggest).
Taylor has been transforming since her album Red into more serious themes in her music, and I suppose this is the peak. Everyone is foreseeing this album as a revenge set of songs about everyone who crossed her in life. Which is fine for her I suppose because the release of this song has broken a few records already apparently. So there’s no shortage of loyalty among Tay-Tay fans.
But I do kind of miss her earlier sound. They were much easier to replicate on my guitar.
Anyway! Verdict: I’ll give this song a 2/5. I do hope the album has some trace of her old stuff though.