Taylor Swift’s reputation is one that has been discussed aplenty in the gossip tabloids, be it for her various relationships, girl squad, or a celebrity feud. In the last year or so, two particular scandals have dragged Swift’s name through the mud: her ongoing feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, and the supposed back-and-forth with pop singer Katy Perry. Swift was also recently involved in and won a sexual assault case against former DJ David Mueller.
But apparently, Swift is looking to move on from her drama-filled past. On Friday August 18, all of Swift’s social media accounts were emptied of content, including profile pictures. These remained blank until Tuesday, when Swift posted a single single GIF video of a snake’s tail. Swift posted two more similar GIFs over the next two days to form the snake’s full body (click here to watch the videos).
On Wednesday, Swift released another round of three posts, announcing her new album, “Reputation,” out Nov 10, and the release of a new single the following day. And at around 10 p.m. last night, “Look What You Made Me Do” was released.
I had zero expectations for this new track, since this track could have been yet another pop song, or a country pop song like in Swift’s earlier days. At most, I sensed I wouldn’t like the track. So when I heard pop music piping through my speakers, I was not entirely surprised as that seems to be Swift’s permanent sound now. What did surprise me is that I sort of liked this single…at least, on the first couple of listens. After listening to the track on loop while writing this review, I started enjoying it less and less. The track just grows annoying over time, especially with how petty it sounds. But more on that in a second.
“Look What You Made Me Do” falls under electropop, using a mix of piano and synthesizers to create the song. The track opens with haunting violins and piano, before transitioning to a low dubstep beat that plays underneath Swift’s vocals. The song heavily samples “Peaches” by Operate (which you may recognize from the cult classic film, “Mean Girls”), as well as the hook from “I’m Too Sexy,” by Right Said Fred (1991). The vocals just didn’t sit right with me in this song: while they were low or high in just the right parts, certain vocal inflections just felt weird and over-dramatic. Upon a second listening, I realized that “Look What You Made Me Do” sounded like, of all things, a Panic! At the Disco track, like something I might have heard on Death of a Bachelor. And frankly, I would truly have enjoyed this track if Brendon Urie was the one singing it.
Lyrically, I wasn’t a fan. The song clearly throws shade at Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and Katy Perry. Swift is a grown woman of 27, and this song felt petty and quite honestly, childish. This is something I would have expected from Swift as a teenager, when people made fun of her for her revolving door of boyfriends and the songs they inspired. While I understand creating the song to put an end to past drama and say “I’m over it,” this song has done exactly the opposite: it has merely brought up the old feuds again, with people gossiping about how this song stabs at those Swift has had beef with.
However, I did enjoy was the spoken bit towards the end. In that part, Swift is speaking to someone on the phone who wants to talk to “old Taylor.” Swift says, “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh…cuz she’s dead!” This is Swift officially declaring that the old her–the girl always involved in drama, the one known for her various boyfriends (and the songs/albums they inspire)–is gone, like a snake shedding its skin. Between the snake GIFs and Swift’s own use of the snake emoji, fans have been heavily embracing the snake metaphor, as well as the emoji. However, those who are critical of the song have been using the snake metaphor in a more negative light.
Overall, I was not a huge fan of this song. However, it did peak my interest in what Swift’s new album will sound like. I am tentatively curious to hearing what else Swift will release.
The official music video for “Look What You Made Me Do” will premiere Sunday August 28 at the VMAs.
JUST A REMINDER: This review is based on my personal opinion, as are all reviews. I in no way meant to offend anyone, especially not fans of Swift, West, Kardashian, or Perry, nor the artists themselves. So before anyone lets off any fired-up words in the comments below, please take this review with a grain of salt and remember that everyone is entitled to their opinions on music.
Let me know in the comments below what you liked or disliked about the track!
You can hear more from Taylor Swift by checking her out on Spotify! Be sure to follow Swift on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, as well as subscribe to her YouTube! You can also check out her website for more info about new music, updates, and future shows.
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