Taylor Swift’s new single marks another milestone in her career. In her earlier years, she was the sweet girl next door in You Belong With Me or the stunning princess in Love Story. And clearly, she has been attempting to remove these tags.
In 2017, Taylor begins to mock and play with her once damaged reputation due to the feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian last year. She embellishes herself with new hues perceived on a superwoman, a queen, a dominator, trying as she might to surprise us with her prowess. She questions (or interrogates?) what ‘you’ made her do, not what ‘you’ did to her.
Look What You Made Me Do is undoubtedly another success, its music video reaching 43 million views in the first 24 hours of release. Taylor is definitely talented, but this song is so much worse than expectation. The repetitive line ‘look what you made me do’ takes up half of the song. Lyrics like ‘I don’t like you’ and ‘I don’t trust nobody’ are cliched and unoriginal. The entire melody is mundane and made up of no more than five notes. Half-rapped, half-assed.
On the bright side, they’ve certainly invested a lot into making the music video. It is creative, colourful and of high quality. What’s more, it surpasses the song at expressing what Taylor is trying to tell her audience and fans. Several times we see Taylor casting herself in the centre of a crowd or a spotlight. She sits in a throne waited by snakes, lies in her car being photographed with flashlights on, and swings in a golden cage surrounded by bodyguards. This technique is prevalent, yet Taylor ties it well up with the idea that she so confidently empowers others with her fame. Despite the downfall, she refuses to be owned.
The last scene is especially brilliant. 14 different versions of Taylor appear altogether like a set of displayable dolls. They battle over one another, only to be ended by the line:
“I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative.”
This is Taylor’s way of telling us she continues to push her boundaries and create brand new characteristics for herself. Until then, where will her current music bring her reputation to?