Pin It
Taylor Swift Reputation
Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s new song is here – let’s unpack

And it’s a savage clapback at...nah just kidding, it sucks

A couple of days ago, after blacking out all of her social media and posting snake videos (as part of an absolutely savage as hell clapback at the time people called her a snake actual months ago) Taylor Swift dropped some very 2005 album art. You have to forgive her, really – Taylor is, or was, a good, pure, country girl. Of course she’s only just going through her alt phase at the ripe old age of 27. And she’s going through it hard: the cover is made up of a very mall goth photo of Taylor surrounded by newspaper clippings of her name. The title, Reputation, is in a font not dissimilar to those used by legends as diverse as Marilyn Manson, Avril Lavigne, and Kanye West. Maybe that’s a coincidence.

And today she dropped her new single, “Look What You Made Me Do”, allegedly dragging up the five-year backing dancer beef with Katy Perry, the snakey feud with Kanye and Kim, and probably a few ex-boyfriends for good measure. She references Kanye’s tilted stage (maybe) and drops a few more super vague references to various dramas that don’t actually mean anything and are murky enough that she can get away with playing the fool and victim when people accuse her of it being about someone

Which misses the point of a truly good diss track. It’s meant to be specific, cutting, funny. The language used in headlines to describe the song and Taylor’s reclamation of snake imagery (months late) makes it sound a lot more than what it is: savage, clapback, takes aim. She doesn’t actually take aim at anyone. Most of these beefs would be dead if she (and Katy of “Swish Swish” fame, to be fair) would stop dragging them out of their graves and beating them for attention.

What the song actually is is a weak, vague, anti-climactic melter that for some reason “interpolates” “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred. Need a dynamic hook for the ultimate revenge song? Who ya gonna call? Right Said Fred. It would be bad enough without context, but what really gets me is that Taylor seems to believe that she’s shaking her haters to their core. She (her team) also goofed by releasing the album on November 10, the ten-year anniversary of Kanye West’s mum’s death – Kanye of course being an alleged target of this revenge track. It’s probably not intentional, and is more likely just the latest fuck-up in a long line of defects in the Taylor Bot 4000’s system.

An aside: when I was eleven I wrote “songs” that were actually a lot more like poems that were actually a lot more like ripoffs of Avril Lavigne songs. They were about the haters and bullies, the girls I wasn’t like, all the boys I wanted to kiss. They were also really bad. But I was eleven. Here’s a bit of one:

You played a good friend/those times were fake/but it’s better I found out now than never/because you don’t mean nothing/so why don’t you/leave me alone/I don’t like you

And here is Taylor Swift’s ‘Look What You Made Me Do’:

I don't like your little games/don't like your tilted stage/the role you made me play/of the fool, no, I don't like you

They are the same.

All of the best beefers of our time also knew when to call it quits. When it got boring. Not Taylor Swift. She’s got a real talent for extending a beef well past its sell-by date; it’s no surprise, considering that she made a career out of playing the victim. Her early work called out ex-boyfriends, girly girls, anyone who had crossed her – she’s built everything she has on the image of her as perfect, virginal, not like other girls. She is the Victim. And she never forgives. Taylor claims to hate drama, that she loves women, that everyone else attacks her. Her literal entire life says otherwise. On “Look What You Made Me Do”, Taylor claims that the old Taylor can’t come to the phone (honestly, truly, what year is this) because she’s dead. She’s not. She’s alive and well and the exact same petty little girl with a victim complex who sang “You Belong With Me”.

And that snake copied my lyrics.