After a three year hiatus, Queen Swifty made her long-awaited return to music last night with “Look What You Made Me Do.” It was rumored that when Taylor Swift, 27, dropped her first single off her sixth album, now known to be called Reputation, she would take aim at her most famous foes: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. In that respect, Taylor indeed delivered. The song is filled with references to Kimye and the narrative that turned her into Internet’s favorite “snake.” While I applaud her decision to embrace an Heir of Slytherin role, I can’t help but feel let down.
I’ll concede that if Taylor had dropped a “Shake It Off”-eqsue record as her first single back, most fans would’ve felt cheated. But killing “Old Taylor” — must we take it that far? And what does that even mean? So far, all I know about “New Taylor” is that she samples songs from the 80s, speaks limited Latin, and is taking her cues from Beyonce. That’s not the Taylor I know and love. My Taylor apologizes to Nicki Minaj when she mistakenly calls her out on Twitter before getting all the facts. (A mistake I’m pleased she didn’t repeat last night.) My Taylor gave Joe Jonas and John Mayer what was coming to them for breaking her heart, and she did it without crossing the petty line. My Taylor held her head up no matter what was thrown at her. So, I ask you, what was wrong with “Old Taylor?” And why is this 2.0 version so ready to play into Kimye’s hands?
Let me clear: I have faith in Swift. Anyone who calls her “basic” is denying the fact that she has meticulously and expertly crafted a brand to challenge any pop icon creating music today. Yes, this song in particular feels…off. Yes, its too repetitive, both figuratively and lyrically — and not in a good it’s-stuck-in-my-head sort of way. But every artist goes “dark” at some point in their career. Right after the smash success of Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson dropped My December. KC admitted she was broken when she wrote that album, albeit in a very different way than Taylor, but it felt like a huge departure from anything she did before. That’s sort of what’s happening now with T.Swift. But this all seems too angry, too out-for-blood. I want to see her rise above the beef, not stoop down to it.
But again, I have faith. I want to see what she does with the video. I want to see what she does with the album as a whole, to see if she addresses some of the bigger issues she’s been faced with, like the sexual assault case and being labeled anti-feminism for skipping the Women’s March.
And, in the end, no matter what the album sounds like as a whole, this is the record that Taylor really wanted to do — and that is very “Old Taylor.” I have no doubt she’s gonna pour a ton of emotion into this one and for better or worse, that’s what we, her loyal Swifties, ultimately love about every version of Taylor Swift.
HollywoodLifers, do you agree? Do you love the song despite it all or do you think Taylor is just harboring too much bad blood?