It’s what the masses have been waiting for: Taylor Swift’s return to music. Unfortunately, that return has been in the form of “Look What You Made Me Do,” a sprawling in its Hot Topic-inspired angst (then again, that’s kind of an insult to Hot Topic) ditty that is alleged to be mostly about Kanye West and Kim Kardashian (West). But there isn’t just one illustrated snake in the Hitchcock homage to graphics that make up the audio video for the song. To be sure, Swift is directing her contempt at a lot of people who have helped tear down her veneer of carefully cultivated poise and control. This includes Katy Perry and most of her famous exes.
But when someone who is as controlled and accustomed of having “the narrative” go her way as Swift is turns frustration into anger in song form, it sounds, well, not great. And certainly not like something one can take seriously. This is the sort of song that a high school freshman would listen to for comfort in plotting a takedown of some other girl that wouldn’t be nearly as high-level as Janis Ian’s. It’s a song to listen to at a junior high sleepover party. In short, if you were hoping for a major musical evolution from Swift, this isn’t it. She’s still “tailored” to her original tween audience–meaning if she was anticipating that Kanye would be offended by what amounts to a mild tantrum that North West could throw more memorably, this really wasn’t the track to achieve said effect.
In a petulant, moody tone, Swift bemoans, “The world moves on another day, another drama drama/But not for me not for me, all I think about is karma/And then the world moves on, but one thing’s for sure/Maybe I got mine, but you’ll all get yours.” How utterly diabolical–in a cute, human watching a chipmunk contemplate revenge type of manner. Add on the fact that there’s a nod to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” in the chorus, and the song becomes about as threatening as a bag of mesh tops. The warnings Swifty gives are hollower than anything Katy Perry dishes in “Swish Swish,” and that’s really saying something. Are we supposed to feel bad for her when she says, “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because she’s dead” or “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me?” Oh Swifty, that was part of the deal when you became famous. Whether Kanye made you that way or not.
So basically, leave anything Reputation-related to Joan Jett, who could at least give white girls a slightly more intimidating name than whatever this blame-shifting single is. Jesus Christ, take some responsibility for yourself.