You’re probably reading this several days after Taylor Swift dropped her new single. But I doubt very much that anyone else in the media would have had the bright idea to write about Look What You Made Me Do, so I thought I’d give you my two cents’ worth anyway…
So, obviously, it’s a brilliant song to launch the campaign for Reputation (out November 10), Q4's most hotly-anticipated album release. Co-written with Jack Antonoff, with the surprise interpolation of I’m Too Sexy’s melody fully credited to Fred and Richard Fairbrass and Rob Manzoli (with an incredible Joseph Kahn video premiered at the MTV VMAs after last week’s Good Morning America teaser), it’s a reinvention – darker, edgier – to rival 1989’s superlative jump into splashy pop.
This is Swift, like the snake in those GIFs she’d been teasing fans with all week, shedding her skin and emerging stronger than ever. But the best thing about this whole, expertly handled return (apart perhaps from the “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now…” spoken word bit) is its unpredictability.
Taylor Swift knows her every move is going to be over-analysed and misinterpreted, so she might as well own that conversation.
Most pop stars these days keep their heads down and play nice. After the difficulty Swift has had on social media, you wouldn’t have blamed her for doing the same. Instead, she seems to be taking on the pressures of being the biggest pop star in the world the way Madonna and Michael Jackson used to in the ‘80s: head on.
Swift knows her every move is going to be over-analysed and misinterpreted, so she might as well own that conversation. For example, the accusation that Swift is "playing the victim" in her songs, including Look What You Made Me Do - which actually surely satirises that perceived persona in the same way that Blank Space skewered her supposed serial dating media image - loses its sting once the video sees one of Swift's former incarnations making the same point.
With so much going on to decode and discuss and enjoy, it's no surpise that both the track and the video have shattered streaming records (adding a further layer of delicious irony to the video's depiction of a burglary at 'Stream Co.'). But there's more to this than just another superstar blockbuster release. Taylor Swift knows it’s damn-near impossible to live up to expectations, so reinvention is the only option in a world that never stops moving on. In short: she rose up from the dead, she does it all the time. If only others did too...
You can watch the video for Look What You Made Me Do below: