I will admit that I am a big Taylor Swift fan. At least, I loved T-Swizzle’s (is this what we’re supposed to call her nowadays?) older work and some of her newer stuff. I mean, I grew up listening and bopping to songs like “You Belong To Me,” “Love Story” and “We are Never, Ever Getting Back Together.” I even liked some of her more despised songs like “Shake It Off” and “I Knew You Were Trouble” because, in those songs, you get to hear her melodious vocal work. I have noticed that Tay-tay’s (is this what we call her now?) has been kind of veering off the path of, you know, singing with a tune.
Taylor Swift seems to be ditching the guitar and going off the country/pop path and going into electronic dance-pop or euro-disco? Look, all I know is that her latest single, Look What You Made Me Do, doesn’t sound like her anymore and I don’t like it. But the actual music video? Loved it! It that may seem like a contradiction, let me explain…
I have to start out this review from where I’m coming from. I grew up listening to Taylor Swift’s songs. Not her early country stuff, though. I came in when she released her Fearless and that album came out. This was when Taylor (hope she doesn’t mind that I call her Taylor?) came out with really “poppy” songs like “You Belong With Me,” “Love Story,” the title track “Fearless” and “Fifteen.” She still had her country twang in most of her songs but this was her start into real mainstream success.
That sound during this period, for me, came out at just the right time. I was just entering my teen years when Fearless came out and Taylor’s music and it just so happened that her music spoke to me. There was something about the simplistic and positive lyrics that she sang that just resonated with my 13-year old self. The tune and notes were upbeat when they needed to be and heartbreaking when they needed to sound heartbreaking. Tying this all together was the effortless singing of Ms. Taylor Swift herself. I guess it also helped that she sang about stuff that I could identify with. Young love. Growing up. Pining over a crush. 13-year old me understood this.
As I grew up, so did Taylor Swift. Like so many music artists, she gradually changed her musical style to both suit her ripening tastes in music. She obviously needed to evolve her sound. There was no way anyone can play teenybopper music forever. Even someone like T-Swizzle couldn’t keep up that act up forever. She’s still allowed to play her earlier hits but it would be kind of creepy if all her later songs all had the same message of You Belong With Me.
This would’ve been okay but I don’t really like the direction some Tay-tay’s songs have. Most of her later songs still had a sweet side to her but all most people remember are her more venomous songs that focuses more of her hating on her previous boyfriends and haters. I will say that I loved some of them, like the total emphasizing of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and the ironically chipper sounding “Shake It Off.” But most of her other songs haven’t been all that appealing to me. Songs like “Bad Blood” have left a bad taste in my mouth. Look What You Made Me Do is another one of those songs.
It starts off rather promising, actually, which adds to my disappointment. The very first part sounds rather robotic and repetitive for my taste, though. But it sounded like it was building up to something. Kind of like it was going to just hit you with some masterfully placed notes later. The second refrain/chorus, once again, sounded like, yep, Taylor was going to bust out some really powerful notes in the refrain. But we never get it. Instead, in the second refrain/chorus part, we get some weird Auto-tune sounding vocal performance which sounds suspiciously like Right Said Fred’s mega-hit I’m Too Sexy. It’s hard to get out of your head once to hear it. Weirdly enough, it seems like the members of Right Said Fred are credited for helping write this song! So, Look What You Made Me Do actually sampled I’m Too Sexy!
Things only get worse from there as Taylor proceeds to just sing using weird non-melodical notes and jumps around from stylistic genre to another stylistic genre. It’s like she wanted Look What You Made Me Do be this melodic menagerie of different song styles but mostly follows an electric-pop sound. And it doesn’t sound good. It’s a cacophony of verses that don’t sound like there’s any connective tissue holding it together. It never smoothy transitions between verses and it just sounds messy.
To add insult to injury, Look What You Made Me Do isn’t actually a song with much heart and soul in it. It’s actually just a diss track, and not a particularly cleverly written diss track that seems to target other people like Kanye West. Despite Taylor Swift trying to make her music sound more mature, her lyrics still sounds rather juvenile. Besides the extremely repetitive refrain where Taylor just repeats the song title in something that supposed to sound like singing, there are gems like “But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time” and “I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined / I check it once, then I check it twice, oh!” I actually cringe each time I hear that last one. What is she supposed to be? Santa Claus? Oh, and does she actually say what she did when she says “look what you made me do”? I really wanna know what she did!
While I do hate the song, the video for Look What You Made Me Do is all sorts of awesome! The sets do look amazing. I love the one where Taylor is sitting on a throne and there’s a snake that serving her tea. The makeup they made her wear for her zombie scene is also really good. I do wish that the video actually told some kind of a story, though. As it is, it’s just a bunch of scenes stitched together haphazardly but at least it’s entertaining. My favorite part of the video, hands down, has to be the fact that Taylor Swift does acknowledge her “past selves” as the ending shows practically all of them. It’s a really nice touch but it makes me wish that the entire video focused on that part.
While the video is extremely watchable if you’re a Taylor Swift fan because of the “nostalgia” factor of seeing all her previous selves, Look What You Made Me Do just sucks so much. I understand an artist has to evolve to keep up with the times and to not go stale. However, Look What You Made Me Do makes me think that Taylor Swift is devolving her music style. It’s not an improvement and it honestly sounds like she’s lost and doesn’t know what to do. It’s sound almost creatively bankrupt as she had to rip off I’m Too Sexy to make a new song. While T-Swizzle will always have a big spot in my heart, it just won’t be this version.
Have you listened to Look What You Made Me Do yet? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!