After about 3 years of silence (riding out that 1989 dollar no doubt), Taylor Swift has finally dropped a new single, Look What You Made Me Do, ahead of the release of her upcoming album Reputation. I don’t know about you but when I first heard it I kind of hated it. Then, of course, I downloaded it and listened to it eight more times. Now I’m not sure of much except that I’m confused.
There’s a line in the song that really sums up why all this sudden T-Swift hype makes me giggle: “Sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh… because she’s dead”. The “old” Taylor? Was anyone even asking after her? Did we even know she’d gone anywhere? Whenever artists make a change in their brand, factions form for and against their new personas but no one was even accusing Taylor of having changed. It’s like she’s pre-empting our reaction and responding before we’ve even caught up. I’m not sure I’m enjoying being accused of a mutiny.
The thing about drama is that it happens to you. On one hand, it must suck to be in the spotlight; on the other hand, it keeps you relevant. Everything that’s happened recently in the Swiftosphere though – the social media blackout, the appearance of the snake clips, then Look What You Made Me Do and it’s spooky videos – feels like a funny attempt at self-constructing drama.
To be fair, Swift has always used her personal affairs to create hype around her music. I remember getting hold of her album booklets when I was in grade eleven and sitting with my friends decoding the little secret messages she left inside. The lyrics for the song Enchanted contained the hidden word “ADAM”, for Owl City’s Adam Young. We loved finding out who each song was about. This time though, it reads a little more like paranoia than anything else.
That said, I’m reluctantly on the edge of my seat for what might happen next. Will I hate the new album? Will I be hearing some sped-up remix of LWYMMD in Friars anytime soon? What’s this “new” Taylor; is she going to do something drastic to her hair? Finally the biggest question on my mind: is Taylor Swift doing okay, like… emotionally? I suppose it’s clever marketing, except that I couldn’t care less about the music at this point; I just need answers!