Kennedy Corrado ’21
And in an instant, the snake explodes into butterflies. Taylor Swift’s new pop single “ME!” with Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie signals a new era and another drastic reinvention of her career.
Swift made it out of the Reputation era looking better than the people who put her there. Her tremendous come-from-behind victory was fascinating, but playing the villain can clearly be draining and only last so long. “ME!” is more like Reputation’s predecessor, 1989, in that it is more cheerful and good-natured. On April 25th in Nashville, Swift told Robin Roberts, “With a pop song, we have an ability to get a melody stuck in people’s heads, and I just want it to be one that makes them feel better about themselves, not worse.” I appreciate her desire to get back to her old roots. But with Swift teasing new music in Nashville and a series of home-like instagrams, I was disheartened when I didn’t hear a country song.
The electro-pop duet has a sesame-street feel, making me believe it should be the anthem of an animated children’s movie. The music video is fun, with happy colors and scenes, making nothing about it subtle. There are winks to “Blank Space” and “Welcome to New York,” both songs from the 1989 record. There are also nods to Mary Poppins and the Dixie Chicks. The old Taylor has been resurrected, jump starting a new era of rainbows and unicorns.
As far as the lyrics go, ME! is nowhere near Swift’s best. We are talking about the woman who wrote “All Too Well” and “Getaway Car.” Her lyrics never seize to amaze me by their creativity and ability to capture every range of emotion. I was disappointed when the first taste of new music from Swift since 2017 did not strike a chord in me. “I’m the only one of me / Baby, that’s the fun of me,” might be her worst ever. This song is missing Swift’s usual charm and smarts, and is especially disappointing due to her new interest in politics. She has stayed silent on the matter in the past, but announced her support for two Democratic candidates for Congress in Tennessee last year. Swift vowed to be politically active and speak out against “disgusting rhetoric.” Unfortunately, nothing about this song advances my thoughts about her like taking that stand did.
If you’re feeling as let down as I am, history suggests that Swift reveals her crummiest songs first before she releases an album. For example, “Shake it Off,” on 1989 and “Look What You Made Me Do,” on Reputation were both the first taste received from the albums. As a Swiftie from the very start, I am definitely not losing hope. The new era seems to be the sound of moving forward and for that I am proud of her, I just hope the new album showcases her true brilliance.