OC sounds off: Swift’s new song elicits mixed reactions
September 11, 2017
Taylor Swift has just recently come out of hiding to reveal her upcoming album, “Reputation”, following her new song “Look What You Made Me Do” released on August 24.
Her song and its music video, already with 235 million views, is interesting, to say the least. It’s very unlike Taylor and although a surprising twist, it’s not a very good one.
Darker than her usual style of pop-y, guitar-filled love ballads, her oh-so-nostalgic lyrics are replaced with phrases such as “you said the gun was mine”. Understandably, she wrote this song in response to the media surrounding her, following her sexual assault case and her feud with various celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
The song in itself is not very good. It’s, at the least, monotone and her spoken word bit of the song is indubitably cliche. Just before the last chorus, Swift says, “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ‘cause she’s dead!”
The internet took that line and instead of taking it seriously, as the internet does, has turned it into a meme.
The music video on the other hand, is admittedly, entertaining. There are blatant references to her feud with other celebrities, such as the scene in her music video where she crashes her car and holds up a Grammy award, referring to Katy Perry, and she even goes as far as starring her various past personas in the video and at the end, which was amusing, she mocks herself by quoting some of her more viral sayings that many people found humorous, such as “I would like to be excluded from this narrative”.
Snakes were also a common theme, which was ironic as social media often addresses her as a “snake”.
Overall, the song was not the best as it was awfully flat and although it was catchy, the beats were repetitive and had no substance to them.
Music is subjective. Therefore specific genres have expectations around them. So when an artist changes his or her style to focus on another genre, people have their expectations somewhere else meaning they won’t have their feelings in the right place.
Taylor Swift is one such artist, and while not changing her style completely, she is still traveling in a new direction. Her new song, “Look What You Made Me Do”, is the source of this controversy. Gaining 43 million views within 24 hours, she surpassed both Adele and Psy for the most watched music video in a day.
People seem to dislike this song based on multiple factors, its ‘vengeful nature’, boring uninspired chorus, and the fact that it is much darker in tone and theme.
But only one of these has merit surrounding it. Its melodic chorus really is uninspired, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the song is as well.
It’s lyrical progression isn’t bad at all, as the previous lyrics are adapted and referenced into the future ones. A key example of this is when Taylor talks about her ‘kingdom keys’ and how they once belonged to her. This is a ‘flashback-like’ moment because this directly references her first lines of the song, “I don’t like your little games… the role you made me play.”
It is because she played this ‘role’ that she lost her ‘kingdom keys’, and there is a definite story here but not the one many chose to believe.
Many choose to say, especially on social media that this track is in direct reference to Kim and Kanye, but there isn’t substantial proof for the theory to be true. To add, the ‘proof’ found is only within the actual music video, none of it is seen in either the lyric video or the lyrics itself.
But people also chose to believe that some lyrics were in fact in reference to Kanye, but without the video as substance for the theory, it just sounds like a normal song.
The lyric video is also very nicely done compared to both other artists’ lyric videos and their actual music videos, as it also self-references plot points and actual lyrics.
There are points where scenes in the lyric video seem very boring and contrived, but show a great amount of depth for only using red as a color.
A great example of this is during the lyrics, “I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined.”During this it shows a blank list and when she sings “underlined” it’s underlined, which is very boring and assuming.
During the second verse when she repeats the phrase the video starts off underlining the very beginning of the page, showing that not just one person had crossed her anymore, again expanding on the depth of the song.
Through this song Taylor Swift has shown that she is a different person now, and it isn’t just in presentation. Her songs now have an added depth that hasn’t been seen before in her writing. She is going through a phase, that is personally much more likable and down to earth than previously seen.
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