Friday 25 August 2017

New Music Friday 25/08

Look there's only one song that anybody cares about today and that's...

Taylor Swift - Look What You Made Me Do

 Taylor Swift - Look What You Made Me Do

It's been a difficult time to be a Taylor Swift fan over the past year. There was her feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian over a certain provocative line in his track Famous. There's the continuing back and forth silliness between her and Katy Perry, all over some nonsense with their dancers. There's the complete silence during some of the most turbulent political times, where other stars are rising to the position of role model.

Now, Taylor Swift breaks that silence with a new track and album, 'reputation', complete with refreshed social channels and a reclaiming of the snake moniker. Look What You Made Me Do is a kiss-off to her enemies, to the media, to us all, and marks quite the turnaround.

Is this her good girl gone bad moment? Will each album now be a Madonna-esque reinvention of her style and sound? We've gone from country, to country-pop, to 80s synth pop. Now we have this hard-edged, punky acid sound that proves she's been spending a hell of a lot of time with Lorde. The innocent pop princess is gone, replaced with a wicked doppelgänger who will know doubt storm the charts.

Except Taylor has never been innocent. A clever, calculating businesswoman, she's repeatedly and shrewdly capitalised on her position in the media for her own gain. Look What You Made Me Do is no different.

The result is an, admittedly, quite enjoyable pop track in itself with a video that's almost comically vampy. The skeletal production from Jack Antonoff adds a spiky edge, the middle eight's "because she's dead" break is brilliantly sassy, and her sigh on the final line of the song is a sonic mic drop. There's something deliciously alluring about Taylor attempting to shed her pure image and pile on the sex appeal, her voice grimly monotone in the chorus over metallic drum pads.

In the wake of the last year or so, however, what we really needed was some honesty. Who is the real Taylor Swift? Is it the country princess, or this new monster? It's all a facade, only adding to the forced and awkward nature of this song. The old Taylor may be dead, but I miss her.

What's worse is the self-centred nature of it all. In her own words, "the world moves on, another day, another drama drama". She's made the mistake of thinking we actually care about her personal dramas, where instead this just comes off as a disingenuous hissy fit. Taylor's stuck in 2016 when the rest of us moved on long ago. Why can't she just shake it off?

And for good measure, here's the rest of the week's new releases...