Here Are Our First Reactions To Taylor Swift’s ‘Look What You Made Me Do’
It finally happened! This afternoon, Taylor Swift released the first single from her forthcoming album Reputation. It’s called ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, and there’s a lot to digest here — the weird spoken word breakdown? The fact that Jack Antonoff produced this? The lyrics that are definitely about Kanye West? To try and figure out whether or not this is a good song, seven Junkee writers are going on the record with their first impressions. Do not @ us.
Contrary to what you might think, I actually wanted to like this song. I was ready to feel torn between an undeniable banger and Tay’s shady politics. I was ready to be this meme:
But what..is…this? I’m so confused. Swift’s last two lead singles — ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’ in 2012 and ‘Shake It Off’ in 2014 — were such moments as soon as they came out. I absolutely expected this to be another immediate hit.
I’m not 100 per cent convinced yet that this is a bad song, but I really cannot get past the bit about the old Taylor not being able to come to the phone because she’s dead. I also hate that the lyric video has the same colour scheme as Emily The Strange.
Mostly this all reminds me of my teenage Avril Lavigne phase when pencil eyeliner was the only make-up I knew how to put on and I refused to speak to my mum for days at a time and probably had undiagnosed depression.
“It commits the biggest sin in pop music”
This is the worst attempt at a Kanye West diss track that has ever been released or will ever be released.
This is a song that sounds like it belongs on the first season of Gossip Girl, soundtracking a scene where Blair executes one of her trademark absurdly complex plans for petty revenge.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re a teen still trapped in 2007 who has never heard a Britney Spears or Lorde song before, you’ll probably think the track is fire.
But for everyone else, the song is not impressive. The production is competent (it’s by Jack Antonoff, which explains why it sounds like every other pop song over the past three years) but the lyrics spin an incoherent narrative that seems supremely desperate.
Any redeeming features are washed away by the extremely funny and bizarre voicemail interlude referencing Kim Kardashian’s infamous leak of a phone conversation between Swift and West last year.
But leaving aside the ~melodrama~ the song is bad because it commits the biggest sin in pop music: it’s boring af.
“It’s a fucking good song”
I hate to play devil’s advocate here, but if we are judging the track on its own merits, without context, then it’s a fucking good song.
It’s catchy and moody, but above all it’s memorable. It might not be the comeback we all expected, instead it’s an unapologetic revenge track, probably marking the emergence of ‘Dark Taylor’. But I’m liking the new direction and I say, bring it on.
“In a week, everyone will be screaming for this track”
You know what? I like it. I fucking like it. If only because we now know what Taylor Swift has been doing for the last two years, and that’s listening to Gwen Stefani and Fergie.
Sure, it’s brash, it’s incongruous, it’s obnoxious — and it contains one of the worst spoken voice interludes in modern music history — but it’s as far from boring as you could get. Taylor needed to come back with a slap to the face, and she came back with the biggest backhander 2017 has seen.
Will the entire album sound like this? Absolutely not. Swift needed to set the cat among the pigeons with the first single, she needed to freak everyone out — and judging by everyone’s reactions that’s exactly what she’s done. This is a planned attack from pop music’s most skilled manipulator.
Plus let’s be real: in a week, everyone will be screaming for this track. Swift has done this before, remember the initial uproar over ‘We Are Never Ever Get Back Together’?
Give ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ some time — give it a second, third, and 20th spin — and let that sexy, guttural chorus beat take you by the throat and throw you down.
“It’s grossly, perilously self-indulgent”
I’m sure you all remember when Lindsay Lohan released her single ‘Rumours’ (underrated, imo). So, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ is like that — except it’s bad. ‘Rumours’ is a tunnnneeeeee. It’s so banging, it has you on the side of Lindsay immediately. You’re like “Poor Lindsay, everyone leave her alone!”
Tay’s new single… what? Reminds me how bad the speak-rapping on ‘Shake It Up’ is? Has me super worried that no one in Camp Taylor is helping this drowning girl out with a life ring? The thing is, Tay knows how to release a banging single. So, what gives?
It’s grossly, perilously self-indulgent. It’s also almost, almost an ok song. Almost. Then you hit that ‘I’m Too Sexy’ chorus, or the voicemail part and, oof. No. No, girl. Taylor is trying to be edgy and trying to play the victim, two things she is really, really bad at. I’ve had about enough of her manufactured self. Back to my 1000th re-listen to Melodrama, byeeeee.
“‘Dark’ Taylor is the least convincing iteration of Swift we’ve seen”
Talk-singing is a crime, and Taylor Swift has committed it once again. After the “my best friend…” breakdown in ‘Shake It Off’, she’s returned with a lazy, repetitive chorus, a cringe-worthy interlude, and a build that leads nowhere.
This is a lead single that sounds like a B-side; like the bits that hit the cutting floor when more discerning pop stars were in the writing room. “Dark” Taylor is the least convincing iteration of Swift we’ve seen; she doesn’t have the self-awareness to pull it off, nor the banging first single to make us forgive her anyway.
Who? I don’t know her.