“Everything Has Changed”: Taylor Takes a Swift Approach with New Music

by The Cowl Editor on September 14, 2017

Arts & Entertainment

A still from Taylor Swift with jewelry in her mouth from her new music video for her song "Look What You Made Me Do."
Photo courtesy of Big Machine Records.

by Madeline Weaver-Nolting ’19

A&E Staff

Is the “old” Taylor Swift really gone for good or is this a publicity stunt for her new album? So far the two singles off her upcoming sixth studio album have a noticeably different sound than what fans are used to. Her country-turned-pop music career has once again transformed to a darker and edgier tone that begs the question: Why has the award winning country star tiptoed away from the country and into the city?

Despite the new sound, there’s no surprise that Swift’s singles, “Look What You Made Me Do” and “…Ready For It?”, are both in the Top 5 on the iTunes charts. Her music video for “Look What You Made Me Do” has almost 300 million views on YouTube and it has only been out since Aug. 27.

In “Look What You Made Me Do,” Swift lashes out at people who have targeted her in the media and focuses on getting revenge. She sings, “But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time,” as she has taken time off in order to change and survive in the music industry.

“Look What You Made Me Do” might sound familiar because Swift made the surprising move of inserting another song into hers for the first time in her music career. She made the bold, some might argue bizarre, statement of interpolating the ’90s song, “I’m Too Sexy,” by Right Said Fred. For this reason, every band member of Right Said Fred is listed as a collaborator in the credits for the song.

“…Ready For It?” centers on a dark love story involving her dreams and playing games with her new love interest.

No longer is she portrayed as her stereotypical heartbroken innocent image, but in these two songs Swift tries to branch out and recreate herself, as the title of the new album, Reputation, suggests.

Swift sounds almost unrecognizable as she says in “Look What Made You Me Do,” “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now./ Why? / Oh, ‘cause she’s dead!” She is methaphorically “killing” her former self in order to reinvent herself.

Critics have mixed reactions on her new music. Rolling Stone writer Brittany Spanos asks the question, “Her vengeful new single seems to take aim at Kanye and kills off (the old Taylor)—can she pull off the most dramatic about-face of her career?” While, Billboard writer Jason Lipshutz says, “More than anything, it’s utterly weird, from an artist who’s taken several risks throughout a sterling career but never approached this level of idiosyncrasy.”

Whether Swift’s new music is just another one of her phases or if this new Swift is here to stay, her music is still breaking records. The world will have to wait and see if her album Reputation will make or break her career upon its Nov. 10 release.