Taylor Swift is not ready to make nice on “Look What You Made Me Do,” the biting lead single of her highly anticipated sixth album, Reputation. Jack Antonoff, who worked with Swift on her last album, 1989, co-wrote and co-produced the dance-pop song, which includes an interpolation of Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.”
Musically, “Look” is a continuation of the pop direction Swift definitively began on her 2014 LP, but in a much darker iteration. She carried over the antagonistic persona from the vengeful hit single, “Bad Blood” rather than the optimistic, dreamy synths of singles like “Welcome to New York” and “Shake It Off,” favoring a more nightmarish aesthetic.
“I don’t like your little games/ I don’t like your tilted stage,” Swift viciously sings. “The role you made me play: of the fool/ No, I don’t like you.” Later, she sings, “The world moves on / Another day another drama, drama / But not for me, Not for me / All I think about is karma.”
Towards the end of the song, Swift uses an effect that approximates singing through a phone. “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now,” she says. “Why?/ ‘Cause she’s dead.”
While not mentioning Kanye West by name, the song’s lyrics (West notably used a tilted stage on his recent Saint Pablo tour) alongside the phone voice appear to reference her long, public feud with the rapper. The beef was revived last year after West’s song “Famous” included the lyric: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that bitch famous.” West’s accompanying video feature Swift’s likeness naked in bed with other naked celebrities. Swift denounced the song upon its release, taking issue with being called a “bitch” and West taking credit for her success. Months later, West’s wife Kim Kardashian leaked video and audio of West and Swift’s phone conversation, seemingly confirming that Swift was aware of some of West’s lyrics about her in private. There was no recording, however, of Swift listening to and approving “I made that bitch famous.”
Prior to “Famous,” Swift and West made amends both publicly and privately following their initial rumble at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards where West hijacked the stage during Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video to say that Beyoncé should have won. The gaffe was so shocking, even President Barack Obama weighed in, calling West “a jackass” for interrupting the singer. Swift’s Speak Now ballad “Innocent” is about that event. “I think a lot of people expected me to write a song about [West],” she told MTV at the time. “But, for me, it was important to write a song to him.”
Reputation will be released on November 10th and is available for pre-order. Swift has partnered with Target to release two 72-page magazines alongside the album that will include “personal poetry and photos, artwork by Taylor, handwritten lyrics, exclusive poster” and photos from the “Look What You Made Me Do” video shoot.
While the singer-songwriter has yet to reveal specific tour dates, she also announced a partnership with Ticketmaster Verified Fan, a new program that attempts to block scalpers and bots from obtaining tickets. The singer also released a video explaining the process.
Since wrapping her 1989 world tour at the end of 2015, Swift took on more background roles in music. She co-wrote Little Big Town’s “Better Man” and Calvin Harris’ “This Is What You Came For,” which features Rihanna on lead vocals. She also collaborated with Zayn Malik on the hit song “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” from the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack.
~ Thomas Jefferson