At first, I didn’t understand the song.
“I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams.”
“I’ve got a list of names and yours is dark red underlined.”
And the real kicker:
“I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t pick up the phone right now.
Oh… Cause she’s dead.”
Is she saying the Taylor who wears sparkly dresses and is obsessed with cats and the number 13- the Taylor we all love- doesn’t exist anymore? And in her place is this girl filled with darkness and thirsting for revenge?
That’s what I originally thought. I was confused and honestly, questioning whether I’d buy her new album, entitled “Reputation”. Which is a lot coming from me- everyone who knows me can tell you I love Taylor and her music. I thought the song was repetitive and irritating. But as I laid in bed, “ooh, look what you made me do, look what you made me do” kept repeating itself in my head. And I think that’s a testament to how good of a songwriter she is-despite the fact that I thought the song was irritating and I’d just about decided I would never listen to it again, Taylor had created something I found stuck in my head. And because it was stuck in my head, I listened to it again. And again. And I arrived at a second, totally opposite-end-of-the-spectrum conclusion.
This song is genius.
Not because of its sound or lyrics, but because of what I think she’s trying to accomplish with it.
I think this song is her way of fighting back.
I think she’s tired of being hurt and the target of a media hurricane. I think maybe she feels like her hands are tied behind her back, and “Look What You Made Me Do” is the knife she cut the ropes with. She didn’t release this to give us a melody and lyrics we were in awe of. She wasn’t trying to be deep or blow our minds with lyrics that touched our hearts and souls. She was trying to be her own voice. Quite frankly, I don’t think she cares one bit about what people will think or say about this single.
I also think she’s playing into the hands of her haters: “You call me crazy and psycho, I’ll go crazy and psycho.” It’s like a Blank Space 2.0, only with a (much) darker and less teasing sound.
It’s dripping with vengeance, anger, and pain, but underneath that coat I hear strength and empowerment: “I got stronger…. in the nick of time; I rose up from the dead I do it all the time.” No matter how many times she’s been knocked down, she finds a way to get back up and keep going. Maybe she’s trying to say that no matter how angry or hurt you are, there’s still a light inside of you, and traveling through this cave of darkness will only make that light shine more brightly.
To be honest, I still don’t entirely understand the track, and it’s far from my favorite of hers. It’s just a little too dark and repetitive and electronic for me. But confidence and strength? I can be behind those two things 100% of the time, and I admire her ability to be both irritating and catchy at the same time. That’s a rare level of creativity, one I hope to reach one day. What will the rest of “Reputation” sound like? We’ll just have to wait and see.
What do you think of “Look What You Made Me Do”? Do you love it? Hate it? Tell me in the comments!