Taylor Swift made headlines this past week when she returned to social media to release the lead single from her album, “Reputation,” which is out Nov. 10. The single, “Look What You Made Me Do” is a serious departure from all of her previous music and has generated significant controversy surrounding the subject and lyrics.
Taylor is definitely taking her image in a different direction with this album. She seems to be embracing the criticism she’s received in the past, incorporating snake imagery into her advertising and lyric video for the single. The song itself is much darker overall, as Taylor warns against the dangers of karma and almost excitedly informs listeners that the old Taylor is dead.
Many fans or former fans often reminisce about this idea of “old Taylor,” longing for the softer, country-esque tunes from her first three studio albums. This problem is common among many artists with long standing, successful careers. Kanye West and Drake have both mentioned in their songs a common sentiment that their fans reject the evolution of their music. However, any artist is bound to change their sound; it is in the nature of making music. No talented musician will be content creating different variations of the same song, and as artists grow up and change their music will inevitably change with them.
For Taylor Swift, this shift in her music has been a long time coming. She gave us a little bit of pop on her third album, “Red,” with popular radio hits like “22” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Her fourth album, “1989” was classified entirely as pop and was extremely successful, solidifying her departure from country. Judging from “Look What You Made me Do,” “Reputation” promises to be edgier and sounds more like pop music of this decade than anything she has released before. It still boasts her signature snarky, well-written lyrics. Though the old Taylor is supposedly dead, anyone who closely follows her music will be able to find traces of her old self in this new single.
Fans of Taylor are losing their minds over the prospect of ushering in this new “dark era” and haters have made it overwhelmingly clear that they could not care less, but the level of Taylor Swift’s celebrity is unimaginable. The world will be watching as she proceeds with the promotion and release of this album; the response to this single alone is indicative of the attention she will receive in the future. “1989” was a massively successful, Grammy award-winning pop album, and even Taylor herself was skeptical she would ever achieve that level of success again. She also has the immense pressure of rebuilding her reputation after Kim Kardashian and Kanye West exposed her as a liar late last summer. If anyone is up to the task, however, it’s Taylor. As she reminds us in her new single, Taylor rises from the dead all the time.