Our Internal Conversation About the “New” Taylor Swift
08.25.17

Before you join me in psycho-analyzing Taylor Swift’s new single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” let’s review all the drama and subsequent mystery that led up to it.

In February of 2016, Kanye West releases “Life of Pablo” and the song “Famous,” which contains the following lyric: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that bitch famous, I made that bitch famous.” Fans are livid. Kanye responds by saying Taylor was cool with it. Taylor responds, at the Grammys, by saying she wasn’t.

A few months later, in July, Taylor has a whirlwind romance with Tom Hiddleston after her public breakup with Calvin Harris. Conspiracy theorists believe it’s actually a stunt for a new music video because, per her track record, she should be releasing a new album that fall. That same month, Kim Kardashian releases Snapchat video footage of Taylor giving Kanye permission to reference her in his “Famous” lyric, putting the he-said-she-said debate to rest. The internet blows up. Taylor responds in a now-deleted Instagram post (she didn’t know he’d call her a bitch, she says) and then all but disappears from the limelight. Her “squad” seems to dissipate, the usual barrage of paparazzi photos of her slows to a crawl and her social media presence goes mostly quiet.

In the fall, her relationship with Hiddleston ends and no music arrives. In February, she comes out of hiding and performs at a pre-Super Bowl show in Houston, and claims it will be her “only performance of 2017,” in what the internet assumes is an attempt put album speculation to rest. In June, she posts a now-gone video in her Instagram congratulating NBA MVP winner Russell Westbrook. In the video, her bangs are curly and the internet reads way the hell into this, as the internet does. It feels like the return of Taylor. I then predict the release of a surprise album on June 13th, but nothing comes.

On August 14th, Taylor testifies in a civil suit she counter-filed against radio host for sexually assaulting her (and wins). On August 18th, all of Taylor’s online presence goes eerily blank. Her Twitter, Instagram and website are wiped. Everyone freaks out and assumes a surprise album is about to drop — for real this time. On August 21st, she posts a cryptic video of a snake on her Twitter and Instagram. Then come two more snakes. People speculate she is “coming for” Kim and Kanye, given her social media accounts were filled with snake emojis after she was ousted by Kim the previous July. On August 23rd, Taylor announces her new album, “Reputation,” which will be released November 10th, and her first single, which will be released the next day.

On August 24th, “Look What You Made Me Do” drops, along with a lyric video.

This morning, I had a conversation about all of this with self-proclaimed Taylor Swift scholar Ashley Hamilton, a.k.a. Man Repeller’s Social Media Editor, and music fan and amateur cultural critic Erica Smith, a.k.a. Man Repeller’s Managing Editor. Read our conversation below and then please, PLEASE, join in with your own thoughts.


Haley:

WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK?

Ashley: My first impression was “this is silly as heck.” My second impression was “the beat is fun but there are things I’d change.” But that’s just me.

Haley: Silly how?

Ashley: That part where she says, “I’m sorry, but the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh. ‘Cuz she’s dead!” It felt extremely Backstreet Boys’ “The Call.”

Erica: Yeah. I let the Titanic interlude in “Oops…I Did it Again” slide because that was 2000, but now it’s 2017. Overall, it sounds like something she wrote for the Pretty Little Liars movie.

Ashley: If this were for a Pretty Little Liars movie, I’d 100% change my tune, tbh. Also, I don’t feel like “the old Taylor” is absent from this at all. I feel like she’s pushing blame on someone else, just like she’s done in the past.

Erica: I think it’s just old Taylor with more black eyeliner.

Haley: Yeah, the whole “the old Taylor is dead” thing is a little ON THE NOSE. The whole thing is, actually. The song, the album name, the way it’s been released.

Ashley: That’s the part that devastates me. Her rollout for 1989 was brilliant, dare I say revolutionary.

Haley: Wait remind me of that? I forget.

Ashley: She did so much for it. She had those listening parties for her top fans. She really hit the streets to share that album. It wasn’t just a drop, it was her opening the world up to her new pop persona and I think she did a great job.

Haley: Was that the one where she debuted the “Shake it Off” video on Good Morning America or something?

Ashley: Yeah. She did a lot of things on a small scale, but she also did things like include polaroids with the hard copy of the album and it made people legitimately buy CDs again for a minute.

Erica: Mmmm CDs

Ashley: I just saw on her IG today that she’s doing a “magazine” with this release, and it’s like, “Oh so you’re doing the same thing?” SO MUCH FOR NEW TAYLOR.

There will be no further explanation. There will just be reputation.

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Haley: Wait, I think that’s different and interesting though!

Erica: Do we think the use of the Old English font on the magazine et.al, is a dig at Kanye…

Haley: OHHHH

Ashley: Interesting

Haley: I thought it was just pulling the script from newsprint as a commentary on MEDIA, but you’re right. Maybe it’s both?

Erica: 😱😱😱

Ashley: 🐍

Haley: That brings me to my two main thoughts re: all of this:

1. This whole roll-out has been very very intentional. She’s rewriting how she shares herself and her life (no social media, comments are turned off, “personal photos” will be included in the print magazine instead). She is, dare I say, trying to rewrite her reputation. And she’s figured out a way to do that that will actually sell more physical albums (which has always been important to her, hence her reluctance to join streaming services) by releasing a Taylor-themed magazine people will actually want to buy, that just happens to include a CD. (Side-bar: Does anyone even HAVE CD players anymore?!)

2. It’s also been cheesy and very obvious. But Taylor has ALWAYS been like that. She’s very heart-on-her-sleeve and it’s historically worked for her, but it’s starting to feel like an ultra-gimmick. On the one hand, it’s obvious she’s VERY pissed. On the other, she’s trying so hard to say she’s pissed. Combined with the intentionality around this release, the urgency/earnestness of that raw emotion falls a little flat.

Ashley: That’s exactly why this release disappointed me so much. I mentioned I thought her “1989” rollout was brilliant, but the consequence of it all was severe over-exposure. In that over-exposed place, she made some bad moves. I felt that, for this album, the best way to address everything was to just drop a banger of an album at an undisclosed point in time. I kept hyping the idea of a surprise album so much because I truly thought it would be the best move. Now, not only is she not listening to me, but this single isn’t great.

Haley: Lol @ “not listening to me”

Erica: 😂

Ashley: Though, to be fair, none of her lead singles have been that good. “Shake it Off” was fine, but “Blank Space” knocked me over.

Haley: Okay but, in my opinion, “Shake it Off” was much better than “Look What You Made Me Do.” Even if it was sugary, it was immediately poppy, likable, very fun and anthem-y. Agreed re: “Blank Space,” though. So good. A surprise album of true hits would have been great!

Did you guys read the huge takedown of Taylor on BuzzFeed last year that broke down why the writer thinks she constantly plays the victim?

Erica: Oh, you know it.

Ashley: I did! This song falls directly in line: Look what YOU made me do.

Haley: Yes, that’s exactly what I was going to say. She clearly wants to reclaim this Kanye West/”Famous” narrative, but instead of taking responsibility and, I don’t know, starting a new story (which she could have done by moving on and dropping a fun album), she is dwelling on this feud and playing the victim again.

Erica: BUT SHE WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE TO BE EXCLUDED FROM THIS NARRATIVE.

Ashley: Yep, but instead of actually excluding herself, she’s building a marketing campaign around it. I talked mad shit on Katy Perry for digging up all her Taylor Swift drama to promote her recent album, but Taylor is doing the exact same thing.

Haley: Taylor has always wanted to have the last word in feuds and in romances, etc. (Who doesn’t? I think people fail to appreciate the ways they might act similarly in her position. She wants to be liked, which is very human.) Historically for her, getting the last word has worked! But I wonder if this is the one time it’s not working so well. Or at least not working for ME. I think she needs to admit defeat on this one and move on. People’s memories are short anyway! Now she’s kind of kicking up old dust.

Erica: SPEAKING OF KATY PERRY. Are they still feuding? She’s hosting the VMAs on Sunday which I’ll be recapping. I wonder what I’m in for…

Ashley:  The official video for “Look What You Made Me Do” is premiering during the show. Based on the teaser, she’s already getting a ton flack for ripping off Beyonce’s/”Formation.”

Haley: Right, I’ve seen that. Not good. This isn’t the first time she’s been accused of appropriation. The “Shake it Off” video was a nightmare.

This whole thing — the intentionality of it — I can’t help but feel disappointed. I mean, even though I’m ridiculously critical of her, I’m still kind of a fan of Taylor and a new Taylor era DOES excite me. Like, I want to be on board. But it feels like this whole thing is going to be about revenge, and that feels boring and self-serving. Why can’t it just be fun?

Ashley: Exactly! This is why I wanted a surprise album full of kickass pop hits. It used to feel fun to dissect her old songs to figure out which boy she was talking about, and now it’s like, “Okay, be an adult, not everybody is out to get you.” And if they are, SHAKE IT OFF.

Haley: Hahaha

Ashley: I truly apologize for that message.

Haley: I can’t stop thinking the same thing: ON THE NOSE. I will say this though: I do appreciate the new approach to dropping her album. Even if I wish it had been a surprise one, maybe that would be too expected at this point (ironic). It’s kind of interesting that she announced the release date pretty early and it’s compelling that there seems to be this huge, very-carefully planned methodical release coming. I’m kind of looking forward to the rest of it, just because I know it will be done so thoughtfully. It will be fun to have something petty to analyze for two months.

Erica: Lol. I’m not a T-Swift fan in any sense of the word, but I will 100 percent always be here for petty things to analyze.

Ashley: I guess the problem with a surprise album is that we digest and forget about it pretty quickly. There’s definitely something to the old school drawn out release.

Haley: Yes, definitely. And Taylor is actually kind of old school with this stuff, don’t you think?

Ashley: She WAS, but old Taylor is dead, so I don’t know what to expect.

Haley: I’m not gonna lie; I kind of liked the “old Taylor is dead” line, just because of the utter DRAMA of it. She loves speaking during interludes.

Ashley: I can def conclude that old Taylor isn’t dead because she wrote that line.

Erica: Hahaha

Ashley: I think Taylor is a marketing genius so I have to assume she knows what she’s doing here.

Haley: Yeah, I respect the thoughtfulness of this release, and I would prob want to do the same if I were her. I just wish it had been done with a different tone overall.

Ashley: I also have to assume she’ll follow the pattern of releasing a first single that is just okay, to sort of shock you into her new vibe. I bet the second single will take it away and realllly make us feel it, ya know?

Haley: Hope so.

Erica: That tends to be a thing with singles and it always freaks me out, but I think you’re right.

Haley: Maybe Tay really has trouble not making music about how she feels and she’s genuinely PISSED off. Maybe a fun album wouldn’t have been genuine.

Ashley: And she should be! Everyone thinks she’s in a suitcase.

Haley: LOL

Ashley: I don’t know, I think you can be fun and mad at the same time.

Haley: Fun and mad was kind of what “Blank Space” was right?

Erica: Maybe Taylor, Kanye, Kim and Katy are all the best of friends hanging out at the beach right this instant.

Ashley: Laughing at us because they can see right into our Slack conversation. They see everything.

Erica: Exactly.

Ashley: We’re playing right into their game and that’s why they’re in charge of my life ya know?

Haley: Shit…

Erica: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Ashley: Should we start talking about the illuminati now?

Photo by James Devaney/GC Images.
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  • I used to LOVE Taylor – I mean, my first and ONLY concert was her’s, that’s really saying something – but now she’s just annoying as heck.

    Charmaine Ng
    Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • shayna gonsalves

    Still sounds like a Lorde song written by Antonoff that didn’t make the cut so got passed to Swift…

  • theysayshycity

    I’m ready for this time to be the THE time that she gets called out and schooled on her cultural appropriation….there’s something about the way that she’s relying on Kanye’s and Beyonce’s previous work to depict
    her own anger that’s really rubbing me the wrong way. Teen Vogue had a good piece about digital blackface earlier this month, and I feel like this is a blown up version of the problem.

    • Allegra

      bro that article was everything!!

  • KC

    OK but for real my first thought when Taylor’s social media was wiped was “in the last 3 years she got initiated into the Illuminati and now she’s gonna be different.”
    .
    .
    .
    Buuuuut she isn’t really different. It looks like she’s just kind of mad and not processing it very well. Or in retrospect we will all be in awe of her brilliant marketing. Full opinions can’t be formed until this PROCESS is completed. Ugh.

    • Mon Valdés

      It’s not that I don’t like her (I really don’t)… but the song it’s just YAWN.
      It’s not a new sound -not from her and not in general, and I agree, it seems like she’s not processing everything that happened AT ALL and that she loves to bask in her own suffering for people to keep talking about her.

      • Jay

        Agree by the way, the song is bla… like the chorus sucks, the bridge is kinda ok, like the verse, but well… the beat is lame and there is no real excitement building up. And that she cant come to the phone cause dead? Well by minute three of the song its like… yeah. So what.

        From a person who loves “22” by the way…

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    EVERYTHING about this feels like same old Taylor. Another song with her playing the victim (even though she was the one who lied and got caught). Except this time the song isn’t even that good (not that Shake It Off was all that great either). She is doing a bad impression of Lorde while doing an even worse impression of Beyonce (cultural appropriation – is her REAL bestie). It comes off as fake, tired, done before and just OLD. Like I’m sure you can tell that I’m not a Swift fan but damn – she has literally NO other tricks in he playbook other than to play that wronged little white girl and cast Kanye West as the scary black man. There is clear bit of race politics that seems to occur with Taylor in relation to her relationship with West. It it’s why everyone was so quick to get upset about his song – until they found she lied and even then some people still defended her!

    • Alex

      I don’t think you can generalize her interaction with Kanye West as race politics. I don’t think Kanye is a good representation of the contemporary black man – whereas I would argue that Beyonce is deeply emblematic of black female culture in America, especially with the thoughtfulness of Lemonade. Objectively, Kanye is a narcissist (the guy thinks he’s a god), and don’t even get me started on his history of objectifying women. Taylor drama aside, having beef with Kanye does merit intellectualizing this to race politics. Even Jay fucking Z has got a problem with Kanye West. (Also let us never forget Kanye’s endorsement of Donald Trump).

      That being said, I so respect for opinion of the song as not that great.

    • Alex

      Alex ValiantlyVarnished • a few seconds ago
      I don’t think you can generalize her interaction with Kanye West as race politics. I don’t think Kanye is a good representation of the contemporary black man – whereas I would argue that Beyonce is deeply emblematic of black female culture in America, especially with the thoughtfulness of Lemonade. Objectively, Kanye is a narcissist (the guy thinks he’s a god), and don’t even get me started on his history of objectifying women. Taylor drama aside, having beef with Kanye does merit intellectualizing this to race politics. Even Jay fucking Z has got a problem with Kanye West. (Also let us never forget Kanye’s endorsement of Donald Trump).

      That being said, I do respect your opinion of the song as not that great.

      • ValiantlyVarnished

        With all due respect I can absolutely say it’s race politics. If you happened to hop on any comment thread after his Famous song came out you would know that. No one is denying that Kanye has his issues. But he and Taylor had resolved their issues. It wasn’t until it was advantageous for her to keep their relationship adversarial that that changed. She played the victim card. And people believed her. They called him all kinds of names – most of them racist in nature. And they called him a liar. And even when he produced the receipts of what ACTUALLY happened people STILL believed her.

      • Alison

        She has made a lot of money by commercializing white female victimhood, and by pairing it against negative images of black men. It’s not necessary to like Kanye, his music, or his fashion label to acknowledge that.

      • Sandra

        I think it was related with race issues because everybody assume that Kanye was guilty.

  • Spanky

    The whole snake imagery seems very “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. Symbolism which libertarians / tea partiers have adopted. The whole “kingdom keys… they once belonged to me…” reads a little *white fragility* if she’s referencing Kayne and his success. NEW CONSPIRACY THEORY

    • Bo

      This fits. Neo Nazi groups have labelled her their “Aryan Queen”, don’t forget

      • prairie dogs

        Right?! When that story broke I assumed it would have been the sort of PR nightmare that would lead her to do some good social justice-y stuff to tamp down the story that nazis like her whiteness. But…I guess not. 🙁

        • Bo

          Isn’t it cooked that she’s barely responded to that whole thing? Surely any rational-minded celebrity would be like “hey dickheads, find yourself another queen because this one wants to exile you all”. I mean they’re LITERALLY NAZIS. And it would totally fit into her victim narrative if she acted up against it. But I’m assuming she’s happy to let it slide because a) she doesn’t care about politics or culture (I really believe she doesn’t, like at all) and b) those sort of things are harder to fit into her saccharine-sweet perpetually-heartbroken teen idol narrative. Then again it’s the dawn of the *New* Taylor who wears !lots of eyeliner! era so maybe she’ll write a song about it or something

  • Eliza

    I had a very similar conversation this morning with my coworkers and have a few comments/questions to include in this narrative:

    1. This whole “the old Taylor is dead” thing makes me sad, because I think a lot of us really enjoyed the ‘baking cookies, tweeting about her cats, dressing in in high-waisted everything’ Taylor a lot more than this ‘catty, revenge seeking, can’t let it go’ Taylor. This song was a disappointment, since there was so much hype about in the past week, and I’m surprised more Taylor Swift fans aren’t upset about it. I understand that she thinks that the revenge thing works for her, but as we have seen from past instances, it doesn’t always work out in her favor and it makes her look bad in the end.

    2. The album release date (11/10/17) is the 10 year anniversary of Kanye West’s mom’s passing. My question for the MR community: is that intentional (since most of what Taylor Swift does has some sort of hidden meaning behind it) or just a coincidence? I hope not but once I found this out online, it made me think she did it on purpose.

    3. Ashley, I love your comment about the release of 1989, because I thought it was so unique of Taylor to do these private sessions with her fans and give us a sneak peek into her world. I think that was part of the reason I loved it so much. I’ve always been a big Taylor Swift supporter, but this release is so closed off and cold that I am no longer really excited for its release.

    4. Not a single member of Taylor’s former “squad” posted about the song.. Makes me feel like a lot of her friends are getting sick of her playing the victim or holding onto moments that she should let go of. Found that bit interesting.

    Apologies for my mild diatribe..

    • amcrni

      To your #1 point, I kind of agree. I found Taylor more relatable when she was the high-waisted, red lipstick gal with a kooky obsession with her cats. I’ve always found she has a knack for good, poetic writing and that feels lost now. To your #2, her PR team just squashed the rumor about 11/10/17 being any kind of intentional parallel. Take that as you will, I guess.

    • Laura

      I loved old taylor too! IMO, This song is very “Bad Blood” & “Better than Revenge,” both of which are TSwift songs I didn’t like or thought they fit her in a genuine way. She’s done other great songs where she’s upset, but these three are very “You’re wronging me and I’m getting my way.”

  • amcrni

    This single makes me think I don’t really want to buy what Taylor is selling. I was a reluctant fan of hers to begin with. I still feel like “Red” was a masterpiece of an album for her, with just a few missteps on the tracklist. 1989 was cool, mostly. This song has surprised me but also feels so familiar. I rolled my eyes at it the first time I heard it this morning. I really dig the instrumental bits to it, and the urgency – but the chorus of “Look what you made me do” falls so so so flat to me. It’s like Taylor hasn’t been paying any attention to her own damn press this past year. You’d think by now, she’d learn something. Maybe she’d learn that she should stop playing the victim and embrace her own actual, authentic self. She’s got the dramatics of a petty high-school theater student mixed with the marketing genius of a power-hungry corporate executive. I wanna like Taylor, still. Or, I should say, I want to like her music. But I don’t know, dudes.

  • katie48

    I’m intrigued. I think she’s mad about more than the Kanye/Kim nonsense. She’s mad about being sued for getting sexually assaulted, she’s made people thought her relationship with Hiddleston was fake, etc. This incarnation of T.Swift is like her “it’s not easy being green” moment. I don’t feel bad for her – heavy is the head that wears the crown, after all. But I am curious about the rest of the album. It can’t be ALL pissed off, victimy. There must be some introspection. But seriously, awkward lyrics aside, Look What You Made Me Do is one helluva well crafted pop song.

  • Disclaimer: I was never a huge fan of Taylor, and I don’t follow all that stupid drama, but I do listen to the music. I could respect her after 1989, but I feel like this song is a huge step back. She got famous on her songwriting ability–catchy phrases and fun melodies–because she’s not overly vocally talented. This song has neither because Taylor is trying to do that whole Beyonce sing/talk thing (which Beyonce is killer at) and it shows a real lack of inspiration on Taylor’s part. Maybe the album will be better, but this single is weak.

    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      I completely agree with you! For me, she is the most convincing as a country singer. The words are incredibly clever, and the melodies are always catchy and fun, though her voice isn’t particularly strong, it’s solid. But, her image and sound as of about three or four years ago doesn’t match the writing, nor does it feel authentic. (to me)

      • kay

        see, i think taylor is missing an opportunity- she comes from country but her transition to pop has been completely accepted. an album about bridging those 2 worlds and audiences, which are very very divided in some ways right now, would be so interesting, and maybe cathartic for her audience? definitely would have some new cultural space to walk into, although beyonce stepped first and seamlessly with daddy lessons. still, there’s room for taylor there, maybe even miley. but she’s the artist, not me so.

  • Kim Peoples

    I love the new Taylor. I think She’s trying to move past all of her victim songs and instead of saying poor me in all of them she’s saying look what you did. Instead of making everyone feel bad for her like she usually does, she’s taking what Katy, Kim, Kanye, and who knows who else have done to her and putting their actions in the spotlight so rather than being a victim they’re the villain. Maybe I;m just biased because I will ALWAYS love Taylor, but I’m so ready for her to be done with the good girl thing.

  • Danielle Cardona Graff

    I don’t buy her though as a glammed up pop diva A la Beyonce… That’s my only issue with her in recent years. Somehow the songwriting (specifically the lyrics-though clever as fuck) just doesn’t match the sounds or the image.

  • Jamie

    Any thoughts re: her Anna Karina look on the magazine cover?

    • prairie dogs

      Good eye, that’s exactly who she’s conjuring and I couldn’t place it.

  • Olivia AP

    I’ve never been a fan of Taylor Swift’s music, but after the Kanye recording something bothered me about her ( I know I shouldn’t be bother by someone I don’t even know), but I really dislike how mean and manipulative she looked. Yesterday after everything on Twitter was about her I listened to the song and it made me uncomfortable, first I’m a 28 years old and didn’t like the negative and spoiled brat vibe. And giving credit to Laura Snapes from Pitchfork who capture my feeling by saying first is a dark time for the media in the U.S since the president is labeling as Fake News and she is kind of doing the same, and secondly she is not even being responsible from her vengeance feelings (someone else made her do that). I don’t know if I’m being too intense, in her music she has always give their listeners a glimpse of her childish dramas, is like going back to high school at a massive scale, having everybody involve.

  • Tammy

    I honestly think the lyrics are kind of brilliant. At first, I was a little disappointed that she seemed to be pointing the blame at someone else like she always has. The more I listened to it, though, the more I got the feeling that the chorus lyric isn’t as surface-y as I first thought. She is an intelligent adult and I’m sure she knows the only person to blame for one’s actions is oneself. However, the media has spent the last year depicting her as someone who will always play the victim to land on top (which is not untrue). She knows she’s not going to change anybody’s mind, so instead she’s going to do exactly what everyone is saying she does. Except this time, she’s doing it openly instead of pretending she’s not that person. If she would have released a song saying, “I’m not who they think I am,” we would have all rolled our eyes and moved on. Instead she’s saying, “You think this is who I am? Fine, then that is exactly what I’ll be.” And that is definitely not the “old Taylor”.
    Or maybe the lyric really is exactly as it sounds and I am way over-analyzing it 🙂

    • Mag

      I totally agree with this perspective!!! People are forgetting how clever she really is.

    • Haley Nahman

      I feel dumb for not considering this angle. Interesting…

      • june2

        No! you’re not dumb! You have a wholesome mind, a rarity in these f’ed up times.

    • Brennah

      “You think this is who I am? Fine, then that is exactly what I’ll be.” I feel like this is what she did with “Blank Space” on her last album, with the “Taylor Swift can’t keep a boyfriend” saga the media was pushing super hard at that time. And that clearly worked for her.

      Hoping this is another case of that flip, not least because the phrase “look what you made me do” sounds like something a serial killer in a cop show would say to one of their victims…

      • Andrea Raymer

        This is definitely the angle that I think she is going for but I’m just curious as to where it is going to go from here

      • Tammy

        I feel like Blank Space was a little more, “You think this is who I am? Let me show you how ridiculous you actually sound.” It was little more satirical than LWYMMD.

        I totally agree that it sounds like something a serial killer would say! It’s so dramatic and crazy and I love it.

    • theperriertree

      This is interesting, because to me, this is Kanye’s celebrity persona

      • Tammy

        That’s an interesting point!

    • Lil

      Agreed. Taylor’s lead singles are always a bit off and intended to spark some controvers. Remember, “Shake It Off,” and all that twerking. So I’m sure her other singles will explain more and give us all whiplash. She’s as successful as Beyonce and Adele, so I’m sure Taylor is just as strategic and cunning.

    • Elif Öz

      I feel like being what people think who she isn’t far from Taylor’s old-self because I mean have a look at Blank Space. Everyone said she was just using men for popularity and media attention, without having any actual feelings for them. The lyrics as well as the music video of Blank Space portrays that exact person, everyone thought Taylor to be. (Taylor also said herself that she did it on purpose because everyone was talking about her as this crazy woman who manipulated man) So I believe Taylor hasn’t really created a new self, she’s just angrier (and maybe wants to dress edgier.)

      • Tammy

        I think the difference between the two songs is that Blank Space was purely satire, and LWYMMD is not.

        Also, I’m guessing Taylor’s “real self” and how she interacts with people very close to her hasn’t changed much, if at all. However, I do think how she interacts with the public has changed drastically.

    • Two ideas

      Two things without commentary:

      1) “look what you made me do” is a signature line of emotional and physical abusers. Punch in the face or wall, “Look what you made me do!” Every book on emotional and physical abuse quotes this line as used by abusers.

      2) Is there a difference between Kanye West (black man) and Taylor Swift (white woman) using an old Gothic-style old-timey-newspaper font that sort of harkens back to White Europe????

      That’s all.

    • Shannon Corcoran

      I really wish I could like this comment x13131!!

    • Kiks

      Yeah, I took the “look what you made me do” as kind of sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek as in, like, “oh look — you pissed me off — so I wrote this friggin banging track about it and once again I’m going to be on top of the charts.” Maybe I’m in the minority, but I think the song is fantastic.

      And yes, I love that she leaned into the snake thing. I feel as though she’s reached the point where she realized trying to play sweet and innocent aw-shucks Taylor wasn’t working anymore, and is saying “You all wanna call me a snake and a bitch, then I will show you a bitch.”

      Which, yeah, is kind of immature and revenge-motivated in a way. But also she is one of the most successful female artists of all time and still all people want to do is pick her apart for petty things rather than admit that she is really, really, really good at what she does.

      And honestly, Kanye’s obsession with trying to tear her down is just weird and says more about his problems with race relations than it does about hers, in my opinion.

      Sincerely, a completely biased TSwift #1 fan 4 lyfe. But I’m not wrong.

    • Drew Albo

      I agree fully as well. The amount of people who were like omg shes so annoying and playing the victim were everywhere. This woman is not a dumb pop princess she is a business woman, leader, and intellectual emotional being who knows exactly what shes worth and how her reputation amongst so many people will proceed her.

  • sweetlooweeze

    This conversation was SO FUNNY im in tears!!! Love yall!

  • I am very disappointed in so much of this new Taylor but I REALLY agree with you here Ashley: “Though, to be fair, none of her lead singles have been that good. “Shake it Off” was fine, but “Blank Space” knocked me over.”
    SO TRUE.

  • The “old Taylor is dead” line was so hilarious…because in actuality, it feels like the old Taylor is BACK. She’s just more pissed in eyeliner this time around – rather than pouting, barefoot at crowds. But I’m already popping popcorn to see how this unfolds. Balls in Kimye’s court at the moment…

  • Natt

    Dong forget about her ‘taking down ticketmaster’ by having a system in which the fans who ‘boost’ the most get more chance of getting a ticket to her show (maybe or maybe not according to t&c’s). Basically a ‘big boost’ happens if you buy the cd/merch. ‘Smaller boosts’ are for promoting her on social media. She’s claiming this is to prevent people from bulk buying tickets and selling them more expensive.. but how is it cheaper if fans are having to spend a lot of money to potentially get a ticket? Not only that but this completely pushes the chance of people with a lower income out of the picture! It’s such an ugly, greedy move.

  • Shauna King

    I know people are saying Lorde but this really reminded me of Halsey when I heard it! She’s trying to get into the cool alternative pop genre that teens love and its not working. It sounds like she’s trying too hard to be angsty and it doesn’t sound genuine. At least with her previous work it had an element of fun or a punch to it but this song just seems flat and dry.

  • Bo

    This isn’t some sort of response video to Kanye. (As that’s a solid, like, eighteen months of holding a grudge and nobody could be that petty to hang on to shit like that wait sorry I forgot who we were talking about for a second, it’s entirely possible). As for the revamp, there is a simple explanation – Taylor’s current exoskeleton has simply begun to shed, so she has retired to her lair to slough off the old skin completely and reemerge anew into the sunlight with her own magazine. The old skin will be used to fortify her nest made of twigs.

    • stephanie

      bless you, you’re amazing

    • Brennah

      That sounds like something @NotTildaSwinton would do.

      • Bo

        She is the godmother of my dreams. (Taylor Swift, meanwhile, is the long-lost cousin of my nightmares)

        • Hannah Thiessen

          I think that what you’re trying to say is that she’s the actress starring in your bad dreams.

          • Bo

            No I’m not. I’m saying that to be related to her, even remotely, would be a nightmare

  • prairie dogs

    I actually kind of like Taylor/find her interesting/listen to her music sometimes. But I just read that long buzzfeed piece–which is great– and when I got to the screenshots from the “Shake it Off” video I was so struck by them. More so than I was when the video came out, even. Like, how does she have a career after that? HOW?

  • stephanie

    Maybe if we give her no attention at all, she’ll fade away.

    But in all seriousness, hearing her name makes my skin crawl. She’s an insincere, manipulative brat that can’t take a joke (re: tina/amy golden globes). She likes to paperclip herself to important social issues (feminism), even when she has a shallow understanding of the topics at hand. Her victimized outlook on life is so annoying, but also makes her look ignorant in the current sociopolitical environment. And the worst part is that a large majority of females I know still love her despite the countless times she’s revealed her truly disgusting soul, because it’s hard to deny that she makes categorically good pop music. Then again, how can you not when you have every amazing producer on speed dial.

  • gracesface

    This new song gives me Marina and The Diamonds vibes.

  • Phoebe

    The chorus when she sings “look at what you made me do” is SO alike a “I’m too sexy for my shirt” and It’s the weirdest thing

  • Emily Clement

    @Erica my sister and I spent like an hour talking about this whole thing this AM & we decided that one of her songs HAS to feature Kanye. It would be the perfect long con.

    • Jenna Lang

      One to feature Kanye, one Katy Perry, and one with Calvin Harris, just so she has the all the bases of her “reputation” covered. That would be perfect.

  • Andrea Raymer

    I think one of Taylor’s biggest issues is that she started young and never progressed her brand past being the squeaky clean girl next door that was meant to appear to a younger demographic back from when she first started her career as a 16year old. So her brand is built on squeaky clean “authenticity” which never allowed her the freedom of making mistakes and being “off duty”. Every mistake she made was a contradiction to her brand she she could never grow. I think if Miley had never had her Bangerz phase (which was definitely carefully calculated) she probably would have run into similar issues.

    • Andrea Raymer

      I also think that it’s possible things will change when we see the video given that a lot of people didn’t get the satire of Blank Space until the video was out.

      About the cultural appropriation question: I was just thinking… do you think there is a time when something becomes so ingrained in culture that it becomes necessary to use to keep up with the trends? It isn’t necessarily something that I would expect of someone that is considered to be a revolutionary artist, but it is a question to consider in terms of the broader spectrum of culture. Like as a human I would feel like a bad friend if I didn’t try to embrace and be inclusive of something that one of my friends considered to be a defining part of their lives so should that be applied to being as a culture as a whole? I think our society has become very segmented partially because we all assume that we have some sort of absolute identity deep down inside us at our core and we have become so focused on attaining and retaining that identity that we don’t ever sacrifice for the sake of relationships with other people. I feel like many of these societal trends are directly tied to how we interact in a personal level.

      This comment has gotten extremely off topic. Lol. I apologize.

      • Allegra

        I think this is an interesting question about cultural appropriation but I disagree. I dont think that there’s any trend or cultural reference that becomes “necessary” with the exception of technology- i.e. “google” or “uber” as a verb. A great example of this is the appropriation of AAVE by white people who consistently use it wrong and to death. For example: bae, yaas, on fleek, queen, turnt, squad, trash, lit, etc…. The thing is the black community has been using many/most of these for DECADES often within even smaller minorities like the black drag scene or black queer community. “Yaaas” and “Queen” are even historical tbh. There is no reason or situation a white person would be in where they “need” to say these words. Y’all supposedly have your own culture, so leave ours alone!! There is a huge difference between embracing and appropriating. If you didn’t grow up around people that speak using AAVE there’s absolutely no reason to mimic or adopt it now. Especially considering the fact that we as people of color are considered less intelligent, less hireable, etc. when we use it, even though for most of us it’s our native tongue.

      • UA

        I wish we could have calm conversations about cultural appropriation but people are usually on a 1000 by the end of it.

        To your point about something being “ingrained in culture”: I think it’s important to think about what exactly is ingrained in the culture. Is it the object (in this case, dance moves) itself or does it include the people from whom it originated? Because in a lot of cases it doesn’t include the people. That’s why we talk about CULTURAL appropriation–the culture is adopted with little regard for its people. You mention a friend which means you’re already ahead of the game. Yes you should 100% be inclusive and share with your friend! But uhhh who is Taylor’s friend?? Where are the black people in her circle? The ones that are legit friends and not just props *cough* Serayah *cough* Zendaya (we clearly haven’t seen her with them in a while so we know what’s up). This shit is sensitive. I feel like people of color continue to say this but a lot of people don’t want to get it–when you have been hated on and ridiculed for SO LONG or just simply left out because of certain characteristics and behaviors (some of which are physical so you truly can’t help it) only to see it adopted and exalted once a white person does it…yes there will be major side-eye and backlash.

        I think it’s also very VERY important to note that equating a culture to “trends” is part of the problem.

        Yes, you got us off topic but it’s cool 😉

    • Alice

      Maybe she has a squeaky clean personality? Maybe she’s not into drugs, she prefers writing angry lyrics in her diary. Could be why the attempts at edgy seem so weird.

      • Andrea Raymer

        I think she probably does and that’s what everyone’s perception of her is, so whenever she has any misstep it becomes a huge deal because the world wants her to be authentically perfect since that is what her brand is built on.

        • Alice

          Yeah but no one is perfect. I’m more of a cats and baking girl but I occasionally get drunk. Real people don’t have just one personality layer, why do we expect celebrities to?

          • Andrea Raymer

            I don’t think we should. But I think most of the criticism she gets comes from the expectation that celebrities, musicians in particular, have to always be perfect and on brand. I think the world wants to consume their lives as product which takes away their right to be human and grow. And I think it complicates things since musicians use so much of their life to make and sell their products. Even if they aren’t actively trying to do that it is still something that the consumer expects of them

          • Alice

            You articulate your thoughts very well and I completely agree with you.

            I was a music snob for a long time, so the whole pop machine and its complexities are very new to me. However I’m no stranger to reading everything about a musician, over analyzing his songs and having crushes on the images he chooses to portray. There’s also this thing about wanting them to stay the same, even though I’ve evolved.

    • Laura

      Yeah, Andrea Raymer she totally needs to start smoking some crack like Whitney Houston did – I think that would work out great for her. HA HA…

  • Abbey Leroux

    You people get it. You get me. I agree with every morsel of complicated feelings and thoughts here.
    However I’d like to add one perspective. Because I truly don’t give a shit about the Kimye situation (*I* would like out of this narrative please) and I would appreciate it if Taylor didn’t too (dare to dream), I am choosing to believe this vindictive list-keeping karma-believing voice of “new Taylor” in LWYMMD is actually commenting on her sexual assault case. Because THAT is actually empowering and worth sharpening your damn knives over. That is a situation in which saying “yes, I felt victimized, but now you’re on my list in red underline and I’m not sleeping until you get yours” is totes appropes. So yeah. Choose your own adventure

    • Jenna Lang

      ^^ you read my mind. This is exactly what I was hopping for.

  • Lane Alves

    Ashley, you are a comedian. Enjoyed this convo. Thank you, ladies

  • Cristina

    Crap. I wanted to comment but the comments went from 0- Why So Serious in 5 seconds flat. No one can do anything anymore.
    I am here for Taylor. I don’t read into it as white victim hood. I was jamming and thinking 1) man I wish Gossip Girl was still on cause this would totally be on it and 2) thank you Taylor, for not letting people calling you a victim and saying the same ol same keep you from doing you. Call people out. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Sub-sing lyrics that are passive aggressive without actually identifying anything. Why? Because at the end of the day, RAKE IT UPPPP. She’s sitting on millions.

    • Caro A

      Wear your heart on your sleeve! Be complicated! Feel your feelings. She’s a fucking woman after all.

  • Anna Pepperspray

    “By teasing the press and public in this way, Swift has been able to control the narrative around her relationships, ensure sustained media attention, and bolster record sales. She has created a narrative so compelling, so regular in its offerings, so melodramatic, that it’s reminiscent of a soap opera – it’s impossible to look away. Each instalment is thoroughly analysed: Of course we want to know the next episode. She’s taught the public – gradually, cleverly – to cling to the next development. Why are the public so obsessed with her relationships? Because she makes them irresistible.” From the Buzz Feed article and I can’t deny to be excited about seeing what is going to happen.

  • june2

    “On the one hand, it’s obvious she’s VERY pissed. On the other, she’s
    trying so hard to say she’s pissed. ”

    “I don’t know, I think you can be fun and mad at the same time.”

    It’s so difficult to get back on top of a sexual attack like, : “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that bitch famous, I made that bitch famous.”…I mean, wow. Seems like that kind of thing would be sue-able, or should be. She needs support. I’m not even a fan but as a woman, I feel like a point-blank misogynistic attack like that requires redress and she should really be legally protected in this case.

    • Allegra

      …..she agreed to it though. like there’s a voice recording of her laughing about it….. obviously if she wasn’t down it would be super fucked up…. but she was so?

  • Olivia Lauren Hawk Moore

    Say what you want about the song/release/graphics/whatever else, she’s basically got everyone talking about her (or at least everyone on my twitter feed) and there’s no way that’s an accident. I wouldn’t be shocked if the rest of her album rocked and this was really just an opportunity to get people talking.

  • dana

    “I think Taylor is a marketing genius” I hope you mean Taylor as a team of hard working and highly paid corporate pop professionals and not Taylor as an individual because it’s highly unlikely we can give her that much credit on her own.

    • Kiks

      What are you basing that on? She’s clearly intelligent and works very hard. Please explain why we should not give her credit where it’s due.

      • dana

        I am not doubting her intelligence or whatever constitutes that in this case but pop stars are a multi billon dollar industry and she does not operate marketing, promotional or creative schemes on her own so it is incredibly naive of anyone to think this. There is a massive team behind her that orchestrates all publicity and media to reinforce a very specific image of who she is as a star and if you take a look at her grammy team that stood up with her during her acceptance sppech, it is a team of all white men. Just food for thought.

        • Kiks

          Oh my gosh you know, I totally forgot about that Grammys white man team. It was…troubling. I think I misunderstood your initial comment, so thank you for such a thoughtful reply!

  • Lil

    Honestly none of these celebs air out any *real* dirty laundry. Almost all of this is orchestrated and strategized by PR managers. I’d bet a good amount that Katy Perry, Kimye’s, and Taylor’s managers are all cashing some big checks right now.

    • Eliza

      THANK YOU. I’m scrolling through all of these comments and I’m amazed I got this far before someone pointed this out. Seems to me that Taylor and her team know exactly how to keep her relevant. They know what she will be criticized for, what she will be defended for, and exactly what type of drama the public will latch on to. And everyone is just eating it up.

      If I have any sort of conspiracy theory about this situation, it’s that Taylor, Beyoncé, Kanye (and now Kim) and co. routinely meet up to plan and discuss what they can all do to play off of each other for publicity.

      • Amelia

        MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY

      • Lil

        Seriously, they probably all have the same PR agency and are handed marketing plans for each of them to edit or sign off on lol.

  • Natasha

    I’ve never been a Taylor fan but I do love good pop music. To me, this single wasn’t that. It’s not fun to listen to, it doesn’t reveal anything new to me about the songwriter – it’s not unique (RE: Lorde). Which might not be fatal problems in themselves; but Taylor’s music is inextricably linked to her persona. Intentionally so. Which makes it even more confusing to me in terms of PR – why release something so petulant and childish at this time in her career? In light of Kesha’s ‘Praying’, or Miley’s ‘Younger Now’, this song comes of as silly and lacking in any self-awareness. Actually I was really pleasantly surprised by ‘Younger Now’! What do you guys think? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LX2kpeyp80

    Anyway, I hope the rest of Taylor’s album is better. Who knows, maybe she’s playing another trick on all of us!

    • Natasha

      ALSO! I’m liking the idea that we’re all wrong and this song is actually an Arya Stark anthem.

  • Em Berlin

    I actually thought I’d hate it, but I like it. It makes her look human, I would probably struggle to not react like she has in her position.

  • beccamu

    CONTRIVED. She’s trying too hard. There’s too much effort, you can hear it, which makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable as a listener

  • Megan Cox

    Y’all forgot a lil tea – she went BACK to all the streaming platforms (e.g. Spotify) the same day that Katy Perry debuted Witness. Tay wants to own the news cycle and she won’t take no for an answer.

    I don’t even know anyone as petty as TSwift IRL but I don’t hate her for it.

    I agree with other commenters – she is just acknowledging the elephant in the room by owning the controversy.

    Can’t wait for the 2nd single!!

    • Cristina

      Right?! Like, I wish I could be that publicly petty.

  • Paula Rodio

    I read this article because I read all of Haley’s articles.I like some of Taylor’s songs but that’s about it when it comes to her…I use her to have fun while I’m driving to work. I just can’t believe how many comments here…Taylor Swift? Really?? Wow!

  • Hannah

    Taylor swift was my first concert when I was little, and I loved her 1989 album and all I think intailed with the release, the videos, etc. I want to believe that she is a good person, that she is just a person who make sure mistakes like everyone else but is in the eyes of the world and the media judging and criticizing every tiny thing she does. I don’t know what message she’s trying to send with this new sound but I am definitely not one to start picking sides as I don’t know her in person. And until she explains it herself I’m not going to believe any of these “conspiracy theories” no matter which side they favour. I will say though that IF this is all exactly as it seems and it’s a stab at Kanye like people believe it is then she can do what she wants but I’m just not one for her continuing this feud and making music to bash others in this sense. But overall I’m not gonna knock her new music just yet… this is only one song of hopefully more to come, and more of a storyline as well… and I’m enjoying the cryptic, well planned release quote a bit.

  • Brianna Smith

    I really appreciate this discussion. I must admit, I have hated Taylor Swift for years because of how she always plays the victim. Also, before the Kanye phone call was released, everyone thought she was a saint and it really bothered me.
    After reading this, I can appreciate that she is only human and wants to be liked just like everyone else. But I still think this single/album/new persona is a bad move on her part. Like you guys were saying, she wants to be “excluded from the narrative,” and yet she’s the one who keeps putting herself in the middle of it all. This feud will never end if she won’t stop talking about it. And the whole “the old Taylor is dead” line may be true for her in some respects, but (as I read on the NY Times) she kept her favorite persona alive: Taylor the avenger. She loves to “get revenge” on people, which is understandable, but I think she fails to realize that she has wronged many people by doing so. I mean, take the song “Dear John” for example. That was insanely harsh and quite immature of her to publicly humiliate someone. I don’t know, maybe this is coming from my hatred for Taylor, but I think she needs to take some responsibility every once in a while.
    P.S. the NY Times also pointed out that TS’s album release is set for the day Kanye’s mother died…I’m sure it’s just a coincidence but…woah.

    • Shannon Corcoran

      Yeah, its a coincidence. If you add up the numbers of the release date, you get 13, which is her lucky number.

  • Shannon Corcoran

    Okay, so disclaimer- I am a MASSIVE Swiftie. Taylor’s music has played a really big role in my life over the past 8 years and she has instilled a level of confidence in me during the toughest times ever that few could ever do.
    That being said, I don’t think this song is directed at anyone in particular, unlike most of her songs, the lyrics aren’t truly pointed. The overarching narratives of the Kanye and Katy drama are the same generally- they do something not great to her, she fights back and more v. public arguments ensue. While the content isn’t wonderful by any means and I hate the chorus, I can’t help but wonder if this is Taylor trying to take over her story again, in a powerful way (This will make me the subject of hate, but look what you made me do is a powerful statement in my opinion), as the media and everyone, myself included has gone totally insane on her over the past year and change. In the song, she admits that she got her karma, however, like most of us, she wants the last word, she lives for it. I can’t disagree with that approach because its very much like myself. Did she go a little haywire and mondo with her approach, for sure, but Taylor doesn’t do anything subtle, thats kind of the magic of her.
    Also, its super important to note that, Taylor isn’t looking to make a body of work that is going to get bashed by the universe, she’s seeking to prove everyone wrong with this record, she needs to, never in her career has she had this much on the line. Its important to note that she knows exactly what she’s doing right now. If she put out another record loaded with pop songs, we’d be complaining that she didn’t do anything different. All of this is super deliberate whether we like it or not. Per usual, this is just the tip of the iceberg with Ms. Swift.

    • Caro A

      Amen, with you on all of this.

    • Kiks

      Perfect comment.

  • Caro A

    Do you all think the reference to being an “actress in your bad dream” is a reference to her being sleeping naked in Kanye’s bed in the famous video?

  • Caro A

    also, Taylor always knows EXACTLY what she is doing and nothing that happens is an accident. She is aware of the criticism she is going to receive before people can even think of it

  • Caro A

    ALSO, I’m sorry but Beyonce played victim on so much of the lemonade album. I wonder if we don’t mention that because our white racial prejudices say, “Angry black woman? That checks out” But an angry white woman? Well, she’s just whiney and playing the victim and why won’t she go away like Britney and Christina did

    • ValiantlyVarnished

      A woman making an album about her husband cheating on her (a man she has been with since she was 21) is NOT the same thing as Taylor writing a song about Kanye West. And the angry black woman trope. Black women are finally calling BS on that tired racist trope and ALLOWING ourselves to BE angry. Because for so long we never felt we could because any negative feelings we have would be diminished by someone saying “you’re just an angry black woman”. Yes black women feel anger, and joy, and laughter and pain. Because we’re human.

      • Caro A

        Amen. I hear this. I am nodding my head to this. I am sorry for not recognizing that black women are allowing themselves to be angry. I am saying “DUH, why didn’t I say that earlier”. That makes so much sense based on the work we have seen come from black singers, and writers, and film makers (Um, hi Solange and Beyonce had the BEST albums of 2016 out of any musician, black or white, by far). My mistake. I’m a little confused with myself on why I didn’t mention race in my previous comments because I think that when differences in race are present, race is involved in the narrative, if that makes sense (basically color blindness is BS). I often wonder what Taylor’s career would look like were she black. Would we white people give her as much thought? Anyway, thank you for responding.

  • Caro A

    Let’s compare Taylor to pop music’s other queens: Rihanna, Beyonce, Adele, the EXTREMELY underrated Carly Rae Jepsen. I love all these women but I notice that in the community with whom I surround myself and the sources I read, Taylor gets the most criticism.( I recognize I do not surround myself with the white people who criticize black women like Beyonce and Rihanna for being black, this is a privilege) So, Adele sings about massive heartbreak and the guy doing her wrong. Isn’t that playing the victim. Adele also has an incredible, wide ranging voice. Okay…Adele is also heavier than Taylor Swift. Culture continues to dictate that a fat body is both undesirable and unsexy so of course Adele would be singing about being heartbroken. It fits into our box. Like I said before, Beyonce being sad, and heartbroken, well, Hold Up and Don’t Hurt Yourself fit into our angry black woman box. Then combine that with her more sexy songs, along with Rihanna’s bad bitch status, these also fit into the cultural stereotypes of black women being these magical sexual beings (side note, mad love for black girl magic, and lets look at the damage caused by the fetishization and romanticization of black women). So then, we have Taylor, thin, white, blond Taylor, singing about heartbreak, being mad. I think our issue is that we expect her to have no problems because she is all these things. And furthermore, when she does have issues we think she is being whiney. Carly Rae Jepsen, another thin white girl mostly sings about the happy parts of love so we are still down to party with her.

    • ValiantlyVarnished

      There is so much to unpack with your comments I don’t even know where to begin…no the reason why Taylor is being called out (specifically by the black community) is her reliance on the white victim narrative (despite the fact that she wasn’t a victim at all). Continually painting herself as the fragile white female who needs to be protected from the scary black man (Kanye). And then let’s talk about her cultural appropriation (First we had the twerking in Shake It Off and now we have Diet Lemonade with the video for this new single). Everyone has problems – that isn’t even the point. But Taylor has made a career of continually painting herself as a victim no matter the circumstance. Even in this “revenge” song it’s basically the sam narrative with a different beat and more eyeliner.

      • Caro A

        Yeah, shit, frankly, I had not seen the white victim part, just the “victim” but that would be my whiteness obscuring my view. Consider this me checking myself right now. Can’t argue with the cultural appropriation for the Shake it Off vid- there’s never any excuse for it. The dance scene in this video, in its entirety reminded me more of Madonna and Britney Spears and the 80s Flashdance or whatever that dance movie is-although I was nervous when I saw the freeze frames of the video- but Taylor is also way too smart to copy someone as powerful as Beyonce, in my opinion.

  • Anna Stanko

    I’m not sure if I would call myself a Taylor Swift fan, but I have always thought that people give her too hard of a time. People seem to be looking for ways to say she screwed up. Like saying she is using culture appropriation and copying Beyoncé. I don’t see it. I can see some similarities, but I think you can find similarities in all forms of art. Only so much you can do.

    My only worry is that she’s going to use this entire album to spread hate and revenge. Taylor has always been about rising above the haters. I really hope she doesn’t throw away “the old Taylor” and her career just because she got caught up in the kardashians drama. I understood her viewpoint with that situation. The word “bitch” pissed her off and he didn’t verify that part with her. But come on, don’t waste an entire album on it. That’s my viewpoint.

  • Andy

    i actually love the “old taylor” line – it seems like she’s having a bit of fun there.
    her album should be very interesting and as a t-swift fan its got me very excited.
    I agree that “shake it off” was definitely not the best song – so theres hope of greatness once reputation drops!

  • Jenna Lang

    THANK YOU! I feel really ambivalent about this “new Taylor;” I want to like her, I want to like her new song, but it also feels like there are some mixed messages coming out (case in point: the title of the song + its chorus are a little hokey, but the lyrics surrounding the lines are catchy and intriguing considering her public history). And isn’t this the same Taylor who *just* testified in court, resolutely defying her victimhood in a sexual assault case? Is it too much that I wish this song spoke more as a sort of revenge rape narrative (something of a subgenre in movies) for women who rose up and challenged their assaulters rather than responding to Kanye West?

    I’ve always thought about Taylor Swift as first and foremost a savvy business woman. This might be my own bias, but I draw parallels between her and Hillary Clinton. Both are smart, pretty, ambitious blond women who wear pink and know how to accessorize. They are polarizing and broadly disliked, but they are also good at what they do. We also read into their every behavior, everyone they talk to, everything they wear. We analyze them to death (thus killing Taylor? idk), but then expect them to rise above it and be better. To lead by example. We are then disappointing when they don’t, but also a little thrilled.

    We were–dare I say–proud when she didn’t respond to Katy Perry’s constant baiting, but quietly returned her music to Spotify. Yet responding to Kanye and Kim (who love this sort of drama) and appropriating Beyonce reeks of high school and privilege. Taylor is a grown ass woman. But this song reminds me of “Better than Revenge.” We know that Taylor listens to her fans and the media. She is aware of dominant narratives and how to control them and how they can get away from you. I hope that she is going to take a break after releasing this song and reassess with her next single. Or better yet, maybe this song too is some sort of misdirection.

  • Emily

    Are we just gonna ignore the fact that this song sounds exactly like Too Sexy (For My Shirt) and the band that did that song has writing creds on this???!! That has to indicate a level of conscious irony…. right?

  • Jay

    The Cut called it “petty” – totally agree – and questioned her sociopathic nature – well… i was a bit wondering whether researching the date of death of Kanyes mom and knowing that this was the day TS would release her album was not a bit disturbed either… though dont get me wrong… i love the cut… – the song is crap. Simply put.

    take the new Kesha (someone who I’ve come to appreciate as an artist) she has songs on there which are… Britney Spears rememberance?? (Actually I thought about TS at first, at her best – which for me is “22” and Ill be having dance parties on that no matter what…) – let’em talk is such a TS like all American girl like song. And thats cool.

    I mean, what’s ever been wrong about TS being TS and being that blond smiley thing? Why did she need to go to bad blood (though really cool video)? And why – what is way worse – does she now have to kill herself and invent something new?????

    Especially if its not actually new.

    Please watch the vogue series 73 questions on TS and well… I feel she is just a nice kinda girl. And I would like it if she would just stick to that. No need to be something else… have her make songs we listen to while dressing up. Or cleaning the kitchen. Let us feel 22 again. And what was it about Romeo?!

    I believe in people being good in one thing, but not each and everything. And TS as the new female ambassador for female empowerment and stuff… well… no…

    (And no matter what she does, she’s not gonna be Beyoncé anyways…)

  • Laura

    I’m really not into these types of pop stars – but, I was wondering if we could have Whitney Houston back? It’s times like these that I really want her back 🙁

  • Has the video changed anyone’s mind about this song now? Looks like she’s throwing shade at herself after all. 🙂

    • Rebecca

      I hate the video more than I hate the song and I didn’t know that was even possible

  • Teresa

    I fully understand the necessity and importance of being aware of, calling out, and discussing cases of cultural appropriation when it fits the description of cultural appropriation (in my mind cultural appropriation means a dominant culture adopting pieces of a marginalized culture that suit them, without attempting to understand context or genuinely interact with said culture, often making profit off of this extraction and then not standing up for the rights of said marginalized community. I find it unacceptable when white celebrities appropriate black culture, for example, and profit off of this appropriation while not standing up for black lives matter. However, this video is not appropriation of black culture just because it references Beyonce’s Formation. Dressing in leotards/bodysuits and standing in a certain formation with a large group of people behind you is simply not how I characterize appropriation. And I feel that we should not call things that are not actually forms of insidious appropriation, appropriation because then we dilute its meaning and allow the Donald Trumps of the world to use political correctness (i.e. calling out legitimate forms of cultural appropriation) against us. Anyways I don’t want to be combative, I just want to know what you guys think about this? Do you find this video to be appropriative and in what ways?

  • CM

    It’s satirical. She’s way more self aware than you are giving her credit for.

  • the fox forgot

    She’s always been rly annoying and contrived — when she cut bangs and wore red lipstick I had people telling me left and right “you look like Taylor Swift!!” I took it about the same way I took being told I look like Avril Lavigne, which is terribly. How dare I be compared to a conventionally attractive white girls?!!! 😷 🤢 🙅🏻

    I digress entirely, plz forgive me… point is I actually sorta dig this song. It reminds me of music that was big in the mid 2000’s (peaches, more lo fi stuff like that). This would be a high school party anthem for cool kids! If it wasnt by Taylor Swift, of course.

    But since a pop icon is releasing it and not 2006 Uffie/some 16 year old in their recroom or whatever, we are over analyzing the crap out of the lyrics — as one MUST with such a large public figure ☝️

    …. it’s just kind of a bop is all I’m sayin.

  • Alexandra Queiroz

    It’s funny how some people are just overanalyzing the song and video, treating them as if they were a reality show episode of the life of TS, LOL.
    I actually liked the song, it’s quite catchy. And I think it was genious of her to take all the shade and make a song about it. I mean, since she needs to put up with all that crap, she might as well use it to make money.
    I’d love if MR wrote something about the fashion on the video, there are some gorgeous fashion moments there

  • Sarah

    Would love to see another article on this post music-video release at the AMA’s – I always love looking at the comments of MR’s authors and readers on pop culture.

  • Rebecca

    Comments on Taylor Swift in photos, standing next to Swastikas? How about Taylor continuing to miss the point about white artists continuously taking credit for black artist’s work? How about Taylor playing into the narrative of the innocent white woman and a scary black man. Her new song was written for the Cheetah Girls – but they were too woke and diverse to ever sing that shit. *claps*

  • Rebecca Lake

    She is making so much money and we are all talking about her so clearly whatever stunt she is pulling is working.

  • Katie Lucchesi

    Here’s another theory. TS has always sung about getting revenge, gaining the upper hand, etc. think back to Bad Blood, Blank Space, even one of her older songs Better than Revenge, and I’m leaving out others I’m sure. What if the old Taylor is the Taylor who cared about revenge and this is all a set up for her album to be a complete switch and otherwise has nothing to do with vengeance? The old bait and switch. THAT would be kind of surprising to me.

  • Nina Monroy
    • Rebecca

      amazing, and i must add, jenny did it better

  • Hannah Thiessen

    The drama is a wonderful way of selling an album, though. I mean, I’m living and breathing it via the media. Obviously I’m going to absorb every bit of information that comes directly from the people directly involved. I’m going to be obsessing about the symbolism of the album for mooooonths!

  • Carina

    I think that despite whether we like Taylor or her new music or not, we cannot brush under the rug an important race conscious lens. She has, in several instances, played the victim of white womanhood which has easily been perpetuated by a society that accepts the stereotypes of the angry black man/woman and the innocent white woman. The fact that she has NEVER apologised in the sincerest form the ways in which she has permeated her white privilege to sell records and come off on top is emblematic of the ways in which white feminism takes over activist/progressive spaces that other people, such as minorities, the LGBT community NEED. Whether it is Kanye, Kim or Nicki Minaj, there is a constant trend of white victimhood that has since the beginning of her career, benefited her and played on negative racial stereotypes. This I believe, needs to be addressed more frequently when discussing “old vs. new” Taylor or what she symbolises in pop culture.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-unbearable-white-womanhood-of-taylor-swift_us_59a38c4de4b0d0ef9f1c1541

  • Lucinda Bayly

    Ok but I just found this article by Brian O’Flynn and OMG. Mind blown. So many good comments about what this song is about and yes, I do believe her playing the victim is getting very old, but holy guac – she’s literally been destroyed by the media since being in the limelight since she was 16 years old. Generally speaking, she hasn’t done THAT much wrong, yet she is arguably the most vilified popstar on the planet. Yeah I think the song sucks, but it still got to the top of the charts and broke heaps of records on it’s ascension. This article also refers to other women throughout history that have been referred to as snakes, including Hillary Clinton. Definitely worth a read for anyone who partook in these comments & to the MR Writers above. The one takeout from the article – “Yes, Swift’s new single is a diss track, but she’s dissing us. And we probably deserve it.” Would love to hear your thoughts: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/30/taylor-swift-snake-woman-misogyny-look-what-you-made-me-do

    • Lucinda Bayly

      ALSO (lol turns out I’m not finished), it’s also pretty insane that this whole ‘Taylor Swift’ v ‘Kanye West’. Yeah, she did the wrong thing by denying that they spoke on the phone, but REALLY?!

      Kanye literally embarrassed her on national television when he was a grown man & she was a teenager, laid claim to her fame in a song & called her a bitch while talking about having sex with her, depicted her naked body in a video without her consent, let his wife release contents of a private phone call, and also used her name to constantly promote his album

      Taylor literally wrote a song about forgiving Kanye after he embarrassed her on national tv (it’s called Innocent for those unaware), & then objected to him calling her a bitch in a song he released months after they publicly reconciled, and months after they had the phone call discussing it, within what time she’s well entitled to change her mind.

      Anyway, I just think her presence in the pop world has a lot more to do with misogyny than anyone ever gives her credit for.

      Think about what everything in the LWYMMD video stands for. Her in a bathtub full of diamonds = “Taylor Swift is so greedy”. Her 6 feet under = “#TAYLORSWIFTISOVERPARTY”. Her above all the creepy dolls with squad written = “Taylor Swift’s relationships are manufactured”. I don’t know, I could go on & on. At the end of the day, this song has been dissected so many times over so many different outlets, it kind of proves exactly the point she’s tried to make, in my opinion.

  • Nonbeliever

    I’m sorry but I feel I must post this she is a LIAR
    She tries to ruin lives to up her own fame and attention.
    If anyone does even the slightest amount of digging into all this DJ David Mueller shit, His FUCKING GIRLFRIEND called him into the shot, (HE DID NOT WANT TO BE THERE AND HIS GF IS THE FIRST PERSON TO DENY IT ALL)not to mention if you look at the photo (I have studied it VERY closely) her arm is nudging his down… Whore.
    Not to mention everyone needs to google ‘ Taylor swift ruins mans life’ you all need to check out clickspot.com ( the Richard Norris story)
    SHE RUINED THE POOR MANS LIFE OVER A TWEET.
    That and if you add in the kimye shit too I honestly don’t know how that BITCH could even make anyone believe her…
    Liars are always discovered and when you lie in court YOU GO TO JAIL BITCH!!!!
    I feel I must also add that after listening to that crappy ass new song I have been googling ways to unheard music…
    I will inform you all if I manage to make a breakthrough….

  • Jay

    Guys, help!!! Am I getting paranoid? Was just being excited on the new Fergie Double Dutchess being released today… and then… she literally goes “look what you made me do”?!

    Do I have to get treatment for TS anxiety and paranoia?