You’ve tweeted, texted and commented, but have you really watched and listened?
Taylor Swift has introduced two new songs in the past week — “Look What You Made Me Do” and “…Ready For It?.” The first single broke records for most-watched YouTube video within 24 hours, and dethroned “Despacito” for the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single then drove the Twittersphere into mayhem trying to figure out who the song is about and if Taylor Swift is trying to rap.
And your tweets, texts and comments drove all of the above. That’s something I have to believe Swift knew would happen –– and I’m sure she would thank you for them.
But let’s take a step back and evaluate the time spent on each song and music video. Was it enough?
At first glance, you see what looks to be a damsel-in-distress-turned-bad-girl trying to show her enemies who is superior.
That’s not it, though. It’s a play on what and who you think she is: a psychotic, money-hungry girl trying to get people to like her, all while being manipulative and conniving behind the scenes. This facade seems to be working.
It takes little to no effort to see this version of Swift through her music videos and lyrics. But the true meaning requires a cognitive effort in analyzing each song; there’s always something more.
For example, one of the most discussed lines in “Look What You Made Me Do” reads, “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me.” Looking at it in print, it’s sad. How could she reach this point in her life?
But reading, listening and really analyzing this line allows for one to see what she’s doing: playing into her portrayal and your opinion –– just as she did in “Blank Space.”
This game plan is nothing new. She’s been playing it for years.
All it took was a few break-ups, some Grammy Awards and a Jack Antonoff production for her music to truly hit home with listeners and viewers everywhere.
When you see tweet after tweet about how awful her song is, or how hard she is trying to act in the music video, what do you do? You listen and watch, then you talk about it. As for the more than 200 million views on the music video, you’re one, maybe even two or three of them.
That pattern won’t change, the buzz won’t subside and her record won’t go down as one of the “worsts,” regardless of what you say or think.
Swift didn’t lose her skill or change her craft in a way that will tarnish her reputation forever. She is simply asking for more effort from those who listen to her music, more time and perhaps more knowledge.
When it comes to the first two songs introduced on her fifth album “Reputation,” she got it right. It’s doubtful that the unreleased tracks have as much punch or stray from her usual sound.
The one thing Swift did get wrong in her first single, however, is portraying herself to be dead.
Why? Because she’s been in your head all along.