Old Taylor Swift dead, out for “Retribution’ in new song

Like her or hate her, Taylor Swift has been a mainstay in the pop music scene for years, and her new music is taking a shocking turn as she takes on her critics and those who have wronged her. / Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

“I’m sorry. The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now / Why? Oh, cause she’s dead.” Taylor Swift has once again proven that she has the ability to send her fans into a frenzy. On the anniversary of the release of“Shake It Off,” she completely cleared all of her social media accounts and a few days later posted cryptic videos of what seemed to be a snake on her In- Instagram. Her fans, myself included, proceeded to wonder, what exactly is up Taylor’s sleeves? Then came the bombshell reveal of a new single called “Look What You Made Me Do” and her sixth studio album, “Reputation.” “Look What You Made Me Do” is an anthem for all the people who have ever wronged Taylor. People like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, especially.

“Yo, Taylor,” said Kanye. “I’m really happy for you and I’ma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.” Most people will instantly know this well-known quote. If you do not, then let me introduce you to arguably one of the fiercest music feuds. The story of the Taylor Swift-Kanye West drama starts at the 2009 MTV Music Awards. Kanye interrupted Taylor after she won the award for Best Female Video for “You Belong With Me.” Taylor beat out Beyoncé and he thought that Beyoncé deserved the award. I had the impression that he was bold and unjustified for storming on the stage to ruin her moment. Kanye went on to apologize and at the MTV Video Awards on Aug. 31, 2015, Taylor Swift presented Kanye with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. Then, on Sept. 4, 2015, Kanye sent Taylor flowers from his own wedding and it seems everything was resolved between them. I believed they would end the drama there, but it was just the beginning.
I was at home when I heard the song “Famous” by Kanye, and when I heard the lyrics about Taylor being referred to as a bitch and Kanye claiming to have made her famous, I was surprised. “Famous” is a song on “The Life of Pablo,” Kanye’s album that he released last year. Controversy started swirling and Kim Kardashian defended Kanye, saying that Taylor Swift knew about the lyrics. Taylor shot back saying she did not consent. This saga is truly never-ending. Then, on July 17, 2016, Kim released on her Snapchat the conversation between Kanye and Taylor. They were discussing the derogatory lyrics about Taylor and it seemed that Taylor went along with it. Immediately, everyone called Taylor a snake. The comments section of her Instagram was filled with the snake emoji. I thought she was a snake too because the video clearly showed her actually thinking the lyrics were “cheeky.” But Taylor refused to go down without a fight. She shot back claiming that the video did not show her agreeing to being called “the B word” in the song. As a result of all of this, Taylor was painted as a manipulative, lying snake. This slander created “Look What You Made Me Do”.

It took me a while to get used to the song because it is choppy and it did not flow right to my ears. However, after listening to it two or three times, I warmed up to the song and came to like it. She starts off by singing, “I don’t like your little games / Don’t like your tilted stage.” This immediately takes a jab at Kanye West. To Taylor, the feud is just a series of back-and-forth arguments which are games to Kanye. During his Saint Pablo tour, Kanye had a tilted stage suspended in the air. This is not an awesome clap-back, but it is something. “But I got smart- er, I got harder in the nick of time / Honey I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time.” This is one of my favorite lines in the song. Taylor is trying to prove that with all the controversies that she has been involved with, it has not fazed her at all. She has the ability to bounce back. Another line that I love is “The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama / But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma.” I am positive that this is reference to the fact that she has been planning “Reputation” for a while. I always joke that this is the song I plan to play for my enemies one day.

On the other hand, the music video is amazing. From showing us the gravestone of her reputation to wearing snake rings to addressing every little thing ever said about her, it is clear that she wants everyone to know that there is a new Taylor Swift coming. But I especially love when she assembles all the old Taylors together at the end of the video. To me, it was a genius move because it emphasizes the irony of the video. She is making fun of herself, to show that in reality, she just does not care. No surprise here, her video has already caused controversy, including how most people believe that her lying in a bathtub filled with jewels is an allusion to the Kim Kardashian robbery situation. And her setup to the dancing scene towards the end copies Beyonce’s formation video.

There are people who say they prefer the old Taylor Swift; I prefer the new Taylor. I’ll admit, I was not a huge fan of Taylor’s country songs and frankly, I did not listen to her at all. It was when I heard “22” and “I Knew You Were Trouble” that drew me into her. Now, if I pick a Taylor Swift song, I will pick one of her pop songs, and not something from “Fearless” because it shows how she is evolving as an artist.

But, no surprise, her pop music is always criticized. She is known as the artist who writes about her exes and heartbreaks, but I believe that “Reputation” is going to push back on this notion. She is exploring beyond what she usually puts out for her fans and it is no longer about everyone trying to figure out who the song is about. This is once again bound to continue the era of Taylor Swift, whether people like it or not. The“Look What You Made Me Do” video has already broken records, including reaching 43.2 million views on YouTube within 24 hours of its release, and now has 499 million views a month later. Nov. 10 is surely an anticipated date for me, as I cannot wait to see what Taylor has in store.

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