Farewell to the old Taylor Swift

Never one to leave the spotlight for long, Taylor Swift has recently released two new singles. Her first single, “Look What You Made Me Do” was released on Aug. 24, and it took the Internet by storm. She released  “…Ready for It?” soon after on Sept. 3 after releasing a snippet during a college football game. Both are from her upcoming album, “Reputation.”

“Look What You Made Me Do” was Swift’s self-aware push back addressing all the criticism she’s received over the last few years. As far as the music itself, the verse was alright, but it could have used some more music in the background. All you can really hear is her vocals.

The part I did enjoy was the build up to the chorus where the music intensifies and a few harmonies are added in… but then comes the chorus. It’s just her repeating “Oh, look what you made me do,” over and over again. There’s really nothing else to it. Overall, the song becomes really repetitive. Then comes the twist where she says “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh… cause she’s dead!” Which makes the song just interesting enough to listen to another thirty seconds of her saying “look what you made me do.”

The song and the music video are full of references to scandals and feuds. There’s nothing subtle about it: the symbolism is there for anyone who’s looking. The question is, does this mean she’s standing up for herself, or just asking for more attention? Personally, I haven’t decided.

The video begins with a shot of a graveyard with a grave marker saying “Here Lies Taylor Swift’s Reputation.” Then, a zombie Swift pops out of the ground, which was actually shocking and a little bit frightening. This set the mood for the rest of the video, showing that Swift is much darker than she used to be. The next scene is of her in a bathtub filled with diamonds, featuring the symbolic dollar she won in her recent high-profile court case. There are many other references such as the “I heart TS” shirts and the idea of her squad just being a bunch of plastic models. Later on, there is one really cool part where the “new Taylor Swift” is standing on a mountain of “old Taylor Swifts” from iconic moments throughout her career. The video then closes with the different versions of Swift criticizing each other. It’s entertaining, to say the least.

“…Ready for It?” takes a more EDM route than her old music and involves a lot more rapping. Artists have to grow and change, and Swift seems to be following the trend that is going through pop music in general. I have to give her this: It isn’t too repetitive (thank god.) When shifting into the chorus, it sounds a little more like her old music. It’s more melodic with breathy high notes and light harmonies. At the end there’s a dark tonal shift back to the EDM. The song describes her fantasizing about a crush, which is nothing new for Swift’s music.

This is a new Swift, which for a longtime Swiftie like me, is slightly heartbreaking. The quality of the music seems to have gone down, but I’m still willing to give the rest of the album a chance. “Reputation” comes out on Nov. 10 if you’re ready for it.

Singles: “Look What You Made Me Do” and “…Ready For It?”

Artist: Taylor Swift

Release Date: Aug. 24 and Sept. 3

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars