By Marley Kronenberg ‘21
Since Taylor Swift’s record breaking album 1989, which was released on October 14, 2014, first started blasting in our cars and on our playlists, we’ve been waiting for her next hit album to be released. After hearing multiple rumors this past summer that Swift was going to release a new album, the single “Look What You Made Me Do” was released on August 25.
Just when we thought that maybe the old Swift was still alive and her exemplary behavior and good girl image were still there, her new dark song destroyed any last hope we had. Some people view Swift’s new persona as a positive thing, that this new dark side of Swift is refreshing and that she is getting back at all the hate she has received over the past couple of years. Others miss the old Swift and are longing for more of her timid love songs that we all know and love.
In 2006 the world got a taste of what would be a world famous country star. Swift released her first album Taylor Swift on October 24, 2006, which included her well known romantic, relatable, good girl songs, and they are what drew in so many people. Swift, early on, was drawn to country music and wrote her own songs about her love life. She always wore wholesome outfits and carried around a guitar, keeping up her good-girl image. Then, in 2008 Swift released her hit song “You Belong With Me,” which attracted not just a country audience but also multiple pop fans. Swift then started to cross over to pop music and by her hit single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” which was released in 2012, Swift had become a hit pop star. Then she rocketed her career and came out with more pop songs, fully crossing over into pop music. All while she was making music, Swift managed to keep up this good girl image, which was surprising to many since multiple other artists tend to go extreme in the way they present themselves.
After multiple pop hits, Swift’s image started to shift. This shift seems to be a more extreme turn in a trend Swift already established when releasing her 1989 album. When this album came out, audiences were blown away with her song “Bad Blood” because it showed a more fierce and aggressive Swift. Especially when the music video came out for that world-famous song, we were unsure what Swift was trying to say and who she was becoming. The music video showed Swift in dark clothing that was more provocative, and it included images of her fighting and acting aggressive. No one knew what the message was that Swift was trying to say, who she was becoming, and all of her fans were confused. Since 2015 Swift has received hate on social media, like people criticizing her and her music, or all the comments and chaos revolving around Swift’s feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian-West.
On August 17 this past summer, Swift wiped out her whole Instagram page and when she disappeared from social media. We knew that the old Swift wasn’t here anymore and her days of writing nice romantic songs were over. Then on August 23 this past summer, Swift posted a picture of the cover of her new album Reputation on Instagram. Because of the darkness of the picture and the difference in how Swift dressed and presented herself, that was the final sign that the old Swift was gone.
“Look What You Made Me Do” is a song that Swift wrote to show how she has changed and a response to all the hate she has received. Everything that we have been suspecting since we saw a shift in Swift’s music since 1989 was confirmed by one lyric, “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ’cause she’s dead!” These lyrics are ominous and full of spitefulness and revenge. Swift is telling us that she is back, brand new and thinking about taking revenge on the people that have put her down. This is a message to all her haters, all her critics, all the people who pushed her down, but she got back up and is ready to have her biggest comeback. However, the question is, who is this new Swift and is she better than the old one?