Despite the long anticipated hype for the release of Taylor Swift’s new single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” it fell flat — literally. With its lack of a decent beat and mediocre lyrics, “Look What You Made Me Do” made me spend six minutes trying to get through the three-minute, 35-second song due to much needed pause-and-recover breaks to stay awake.
From country, to country pop, to pop, Taylor Swift has created and re-created her image, and now she’s back with a “darker” quality. Toward the end of the song Swift’s lyrics discuss how the “old Taylor” is dead. However, it’s difficult to understand how the old Taylor is dead when her single still centers around her overdone plotline of the irritating people in her life. The single is most likely referencing one of her ex-boyfriends, the Kardashians, Kanye West or Katy Perry.
“Look What You Made Me Do” is a knock-off version of Swift’s 2014 single “Bad Blood,” but lacks Kendrick Lamar’s impressive rap break. In the past, Swift made sure to incorporate a catchy beat so that people would immediately be hooked regardless of the lyrics, but for “Look What You Made Me Do,” this is not the case. It’s hard to take Swift’s lyrics seriously when one year she prides herself on her trademark “shake it off,” but then later claims it’s acceptable, even encouraged, to take revenge on someone who may have hurt you in the past. Swift’s new single only adds to the confusion of trying to decipher who she is and what she actually stands for. The amateurity of Swift’s lyrics also come down to simple word choice. A phrase that is repeated throughout the song is, “But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time / Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time.” The reading of these lines is uncomfortable as Swift uses the word “time” to rhyme with itself. If Swift wanted to maintain her run-of-the-mill plotline, then the least she could have done was use different words that rhyme with each other.
An un-original beat accompanied by lackluster lyrics earned Swift some backlash for her release. Critic Frank Guan from Vulture said, “For all the serpent-themed hype leading up to the launch of the song, Swift’s words lack venom, fangs and smoothness. They have the consistency of wet flour and their meaning could be converted into a series of impotent hisses without any loss in translation.”
The poor reviews continued with critic Meaghan Garvey from Pitchfork, “In her past work, Swift has flexed a real talent for molding real-life experiences into clue-filled allegories, at once personal and universal. Here, she’s uncharacteristically un-nuanced, and when she slips in hilariously artless digs like ‘I don’t like your tilted stage,’ it sounds like the part of a break-up when you start hurling all the banal insults you’ve got left.”
Even though Swift received negative criticism, “Look What You Made Me Do” was awarded four out of five stars from customer reviews on iTunes and is number one on Spotify’s “Today’s Top Hits.” “Look What You Made Me Do” is part of Swift’s upcoming album, “Reputation,” which will be released on Nov. 10.