So about Taylor Swift’s answering machine…
“I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now.”
“Oh, ’cause she’s dead!"
Here’s a challenge: next time you go shop at Targét, stay around the Pizza Hut area for about 20 minutes. Don’t worry, the long stares from the guy at the register who looks like he’s never seen a Proactiv commercial in his life will pay off.
If you sit around long enough, you’ll soon see someone wearing a visor beanie. The next step is just like Trump during the eclipse: Make sure to look at it just enough so the eye damage kind of sort of feels good.
Once you take a good look, think to yourself, how repulsive is this fashion statement?
I bet it’s still not as repulsive, as vapid and as out-of-touch as Taylor Swift’s new “Look What You Made Me Do.”
Taylor started the makings of a train wreck last week barreling to the release of her new album “Reputation” November 12. It began like a pseudo-Wikileaks hack when all of Taylor Swift’s social media accounts were cleaned of any posts, any metadata. Then, she or her team cryptically released videos of a snake on Twitter. For days, Swift (or her team) posted bits and pieces of said video, starting a hot conversation on social media pointing to a potential heel turn. But, oh Taylor, this was the wrong conversation to have.
It’s really plain and simple, like the bagels TSwift gets at Einsteins. On Thursday night, Taylor Swift dropped what can be best described as one of the worst singles to usher in a career move in pop history.
Like many Swift fans, I, as someone who appreciates the craft of music, feel betrayed. I consider “Red” as a top 10 album of this decade. Up until the drop of what can be considered Black Eyed Peas’ “Dirty Bit” but this time with all dirty bit, I was encouraged that maybe she would pull off a stripped-down but still vengeful turn ala Kesha (which we will get to later).
Push aside the flat, uninspired lyrics and campy chorus for a second. That isn’t even the worse part of it all. What Taylor Swift is trying to do here is give people an answer: she’s unapologetic and will do what she wants.
But her fans don’t need answers, at least not those answers. What music is supposed to do — yes there is always an Ice Cube “No Vaseline” exception—is pose questions and maybe suggest answers, maybe. If you want to make a statement, let the music do it for you. And she should know that. Her music catalogue is a trove of tracks where she cares more about her fans listening to her story than her own voice, but this time around i’m not so sure.
Like I hinted at before, Taylor’s fourth album “Red” had some high school BANGERS. 2012 saw peak Taylor Swift doing what she did best, rip ex-boyfriends like 2007 me ripping Eminem songs off Limewire. In “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” the bridge cuts in as she takes a call, putting on her best Valley girl accent and swerving on the boy she was recently with.
“I just… I mean this is exhausting, you know, like,
We are never getting back together. Like, ever"
When she is making that call, Swift is signaling to her fans at that moment to laugh at the boy who is trying to back with her. She’s on the side of her fans as they collectively throw shade at the haters, much unlike “Look What You Made Me Do” and the answering machine.
We all remember the moment we first heard her on the answering machine. I don’t think i’ve seen a meme light up on Twitter so fast like that since Ken Bone single-handedly gave IZOD the biggest spike in winter-wear sales since Jay-Z was slipping the brand name into every other project.
What doesn’t work about her on the phone this time is that she is not only telling people what to think, but also telling her fans that the person they have swooned over for the last 10 years is no more than “dead.” “Dead” as in inept, useless and worn out. Use Swift’s definition of “dead” in a sentence: Frat boys dabbing after every time they shotgun a Natty has made the act of dabbing dead.
Kesha made a career-altering turn without having to say that the “Glitter” Kesha was dead. It was just dropping the “$” and singing from a place of pure passion.
It’s funny, Kesha circa 2010 was in that same LMFAO, 3Oh!3 synth-pop group that worked antithetical to “Speak Now” Taylor Swift. To see them switch places in the pop pedestal speaks to where we are now in the world of catchy radio hits.
“Look What You Made Me Do,” despite the vast disappointment among both critics and fans, has quickly broken YouTube and Spotify streaming records. I will admit the song slowly grows on you, but it’s a type of grow that takes me back to the days when that weird kid in class “grew on you” just because they were being persistent. If “Reputation” is going to be anything but a step back, Taylor Swift is going to have to start picking up her iPhone again and answering her fans, new Taylor or not.