A return to the blog is almost mandatory on such a special day. After three long years, Taylor Swift has returned to the World of Music with a vengeance. Releasing her new single Look What You Made Do early this morning (25th August 2017), Queen Taylor has been resurrected.
This post is rushed, an automatic response to a terrific song. Stick around for further analysis but, for now, I just want some thoughts out there.
It has been an eventful three years for Taylor, though she has been out of the media spotlight for the last year. Following the end of the 1989 World Tour, Taylor seemed to attract bad press after bad press, with everybody from Calvin to Kimye sharing stories that appeared to paint Taylor in a negative light. There are many sides to every story and I am not here to discuss these but it is important to note that these few years have not been the easiest for Taylor.
Now she returns to the world with a single that shuts down all of these stories: nobody controls Taylor’s image but Taylor, and yet this media attention did do something to Taylor. It killed her.
reputation is setting itself up to be Taylor’s rebirth. The snake imagery is recognised by many to symbolise the shedding of her skin. Taylor has been revived. She is back, and better than ever.
The introduction for this song is very dark fairytale-esque. My jaw dropped when the song began because I realised then that this really is goodbye to ‘Old Taylor’. Once named the Princess of Country/Pop, Taylor has reemerged darker and harder. Still a princess, Taylor is Cinderella circa Grimm Tales. This is no happy ending. There will be no sunshine and rainbows. Instead of “shining like fireworks over your sad, empty town”, Taylor is on fire, burning from the ground and she’s taking you with her.
The production of this song cannot be overlooked. Teamed with Taylor’s extraordinary ability to tell a story through song, the imagery created through Look What You Made Me Do is like nothing else. I can picture multiple music videos in my head, one in which Taylor is a doll in a music box, spinning endlessly, controlled by the media until she breaks free. In the next, similarly, she is a puppet, and those who have wronged her hold her strings (for a while at least). Another image that comes to mind is New Taylor attending the funeral for Old Taylor, blaming these enemies for forcing New T to kill Old T (look what you made her do!). The video could have a fairtytale-theme; I’m seeing Blank Space‘s Taylor but darker. She is misbehaving, perhaps torturing her enemies, and has been caught out (biting her lip and with a shrug of her shoulders, she says, “Oops, look what you made me do!”). There are so many possibilities and I cannot wait to see what Joseph Kahn comes up with, and how the snake is woven into this narrative.
I am always amazed by Taylor’s songwriting abilities but this song seems to have riled me up even more than usual. These lyrics are hard-hitting, heart-breaking and empowering. Upon first listening to this song, my heart ached for Taylor and the way that she has been treated. As the song progresses, I realised that this was not the point of this song. The point is: Taylor is over it, she is bigger than it, she is not interested in the drama that surrounds her. Taylor will do as Taylor does and, no matter how hard they try, nobody can stop her. The irony of this statement is, of course, the chorus and title of the song, “Look what you made me do.” You cannot stop Taylor from doing what she wants but she is still human, and she is still somewhat affected by these events even if only by growing stronger and bigger than any of the negative media coverage that has been aimed at her. Looks like their little plan didn’t work…
I will be analysing the lyrics fully in a separate post but I’m eager to get some thoughts up first…