Taylor Swift one year late on poorly planned “clapback”

Written by: Ellie Harris

A year too late, Taylor Swift comes back with the track that tries too hard- “Look What You Made Me Do”.

By technical standards, the composition of the song is good. Co-written and produced by “Right-Said Fred” of “I’m Too Sexy”- a song that “Look What You Made Me Do” seems to be modeled after- the song itself is fine. Where error lies is in the handling of the aesthetic of the song and the situation surrounding it.

For one, Swift is a whole year late of the “scandal”- if you can even call it that- with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. For those who don’t remember, I’ll refresh your memory: West writes about Swift in his song from his most recent album saying he “made (her) famous”. Swift says in interviews she did not consent to the derogatory term West uses towards her in the song and references the lyrics at an awards show saying that though some will try to claim it, you are the one ultimately responsible for your success. Later, Kardashian posts on her Snapchat a video from West’s studio of Swift consenting to the lyrics being put in the song. Swift calls it “character assassination”, and everyone who has a twitter sends her a snake emoji.

Even describing the event a year out, it’s clear that the whole purpose of the song has lost it’s meaning now. No one cares what Taylor Swift is going to do next – including Kim and Kanye – because in her one chance she did nothing. Both Taylor and her team have to know how quickly the internet moves on from things, so it’s confusing to me that this would be the most forward-thinking move to make.

Another wrong move is that this whole “cold and calculated” approach contradicts everything she stood for during the “1989” era. Apparently, this is the one situation she can’t “shake off”. The only idea she gets across in “Look What You Made Me Do” is that she’s writing Kanye in some kind of burn book: a very mature approach for a woman who is almost 30 years old. Though in the song she embarrassingly says “the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now… because she’s dead”, this is the same empty sense of purpose we’ve seen time and again.

The worst part is that we can’t entirely blame this inconsistent behavior on the same “industry” that drove Britney Spears mad. After the era of Madonna, Paula Abdul, and Kylie Minogue and into the likes of Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera, what being a popstar meant was being pushed to the limits. In 2007, after the infamous incident involving Britney Spears and some hair clippers, we didn’t want a sex symbol or a tragic story of Hollywood gone wrong anymore. This is really what drove Swift into the mainstream.

Taylor Swift- sweet country girl who writes her own lyrics about heartbreak and the woes of being a teenager- the perfect antidote to the troubling fate of obviously manufactured Spears before her comeback “Blackout”. What made Swift so appealing back then was that she was so personally connected to her music you could feel her real emotions about real situations- something that had been lost from the mainstream. However, now this is more of a troubling reality than a cutesy gimmick.

It would be comforting to believe that the only people thinking about karma are Taylor Swift’s publicists, but the whole point of her brand is that she- or rather her emotions are- an integral part of everything she does.

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