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The Return of Taylor Swift

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After three years without new solo music, Taylor Swift shot back into the music industry with her new track “Look What You Made Me Do.” As of now, the song has topped the Billboard Charts for three weeks straight, dethroning “Despacito,” the song of the summer. The song has broken many records including the most viewed music video in 24 hours and the most streamed song on Spotify in 24 hours. After the release of the song, Taylor Swift’s transition into dark pop music divided many critics and fans. After seeing so many negative reviews of the song, is the song truly good or is it Taylor Swift’s prior success and anticipation for new music that is keeping her on top of the charts?

Taylor Swift is one of the best-selling pop stars of the last ten years. In 2006, Swift debuted onto the country music scene as a young country star. Most of Taylor Swift’s country music has a significant pop influence which caused her to have mainstream success. She has broken countless records in the country and pop music industries including being the first woman to ever win two Grammys for Album of the Year for her albums Fearless and 1989. Many of her songs have always had mass appeal because of her heartfelt and personal lyrics, but with the release of “Look What You Made Me Do,” many feel that she has lost her way.

“Look What You Made Me Do” is a dark, electronic pop track that is very different from her previous music. The song is about the recent drama with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian that caused her to lose her innocent pop princess reputation. Interestingly enough, Reputation is the title of her new album which will be released in November. Some critics are saying that she not following her own words and will not just “shake it off.” The song also lacks intelligent lyrics repeating phrases like “I don’t like you” and saying that the “old Taylor” is dead. The part of the song that critics detest the most is the chorus as she speaks the phrase “look what you made me do” with a lackluster beat behind it thirty-six times throughout the song. After the release of “Look What You Made Me Do,” she released an accompanying music video that has countless hidden messages referencing all the drama and media interpretations she has faced over the years as well as killing off the old versions of herself. The video is very sporadic and lacking structure. Some critics are saying that the lack of clever songwriting and production is intentional and that she is proving a point to her critics that she can have success without having a typical mainstream pop song. This interpretation might be substantial as Taylor Swift also released a promotional single for Reputation called “Ready For It” which has better songwriting and production while still following her dark pop transition.

What does Taylor Swift herself think of all the criticism of her new single? She has not made any public appearances or performances to promote her new song or album. Since the release of “Look What You Made Me Do” and “Ready For It,” Swift has posted three videos on her instagram promoting AT&T where she eats cookie dough and baby talks to her cat. With the release of these videos, the old Taylor does not seem to have died which may explain the lack of public appearances because she is actually not as evil as she claims to now be. Swift also has a new program associated with her new era called Taylor Swift Tix which many see as a capitalistic scheme to get her fans to buy her music.

Although some critics say that the ticket scam and her fan base are the causes of her recent success, some critics truly enjoy the song and respect the risk Taylor Swift took while still maintaining her position as one of the best-selling female artists of our generation.

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The student news site of Oxford College of Emory University
The Return of Taylor Swift