After teasing candy-coloured images captioned “4.26” for weeks, Taylor Swift has just released a new song and accompanying music video to wild hysteria. Titled Me (featuring Panic! At The Disco’s Brendon Urie) the pop sensation is back. The visual begins with a snake hissing – a literal reference to her last album – before exploding into butterflies. The music itself is far-removed from anything we’ve heard from her; it’s upbeat and plays on the pop sensibilities of those nostalgic for the early 2000s but not in a good way. As we move through various expensive, cinematic sets resembling Mary Poppins and Austin Powers, Swift has retained the same level of drama, the same production budget and unfortunately those same painful dance moves. One fan likened them to the hand-shake dance featured in Lindsay Lohan’s childhood film The Parent Trap.
The big question: Will it be enough to win back those left sour after her last release, Reputation?
It’s first single Look What You Made Me Do premiered at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2017 and directly referenced the once-dormant feud between Swift and Kanye West and on-the-record nemesis Katy Perry.
As Vulture noted at the time, “for all the serpent-themed hype leading up to launch of the song, Swift’s words lack venom, fangs and smoothness…It’s impossible to imagine Kim and Kanye doing anything but laughing hard. They’ve made Taylor Swift release the worst music of her career.” The publication had a point. A woman who once moved CD sales in unprecedented proportions by selling in her un-popular, on-the-bleachers lyrics, was dead apparently, (her words, not ours). And ironically in her place was a woman imploding with anger and desperate to seek revenge on the cool kid who she says assassinated her character.
“One of my favourite things about female writers, about writers in general, about people who take what happens to them and they process it and put it out into the world, is if you write, you can turn your lessons into your legacy. I’m just really happy to get to do this,” Swift told the audience on the weekend at the TIME 100 party.
Let’s hope her new legacy is a little less bitter than the last. Me certainly is – but do you like it? Take a look.