It has been a while since I let A Bit of Pop Music’s awesome panel discuss new releases, but what better way to reintroduce them than to let them chat away about the brand new Taylor Swift!? I am pretty sure if we would put these proper pop fans in one room, they could talk about TayTay for hours, but we are not going to put you through that of course. After A Bit of Pop Music’s very own cautiously optimistic review on the ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ song and video it is time to find out what Tim, Zuheir, Jarrod and Marjolein think of what might already be the biggest pop comeback of the year!
Tim, The Netherlands
“Wow, Miss Swift really has a strong PR game going on. I can’t remember ever having been excited for a new song of hers, but the anticipation for her newest single was pretty high. I really liked 1989 though, that probably helped as well. And as it turns out, I also really dig ‘Look What You Made Me Do’. Yep, she’s still very much capitalizing on her role in the media, and although she’s not as much playing the victim this time around, the lyrics still focus on Taylor as ‘the innocent one’ and – well, all the others as the ‘villains’. But now, she sounds darker and more vengeful than ever. Not just lyrically, but musically as well. ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ isn’t even that radio friendly, apart from the bridge. It’s pretty dark, filled with heavy synths and a grim spoken part after the middle eight. It sounds different than anything Taylor has ever done before – and it looks very different as well, seeing as the accompanying music video provides a certain bad girl image for the singer. She has never looked this confident or this sexy before and she can actually pull it off pretty damn well (which I doubted, since her ‘sexy’ moves in the video for ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Forever’ were pretty… awkward). But this is an entertaining video from start to finish, with a lot of not-so-subtle messages for her haters. I must say I am liking this new Taylor Swift era so far.”
“When ‘Famous’ came out last year, I wasn’t particularly pleased with Kanye’s distasteful remark about Taylor, but I guess I have to thank him now for this song! It’s been a few days and I am still playing Taylor on repeat! I got to say, the 80’s electronic vibe is a fresh alternative to many EDM inspired pop songs these days. My friends agree with me on it being addictive, although they have some reservations about the drama in the lyrics. I personally don’t have a problem with that. After all, Taylor is known for her not so coy method of expressing her feelings. Personally I think the ultra-confident image Taylor is portraying in her song mixes well with Right Said Fred’s ‘I’m Too Sexy’ sample. Overall, I have to say this is one of my favourite Taylor Swift tracks and I am stoked to see the kind of materials she will be producing on Reputation. Unfortunately I can’t say the same about the music video, though. I find it a little too dramatic (that tombstone for her old reputation, a bit too much!). She should have stayed with the noir stye of the lyric video, as that worked much better. In the actual video there is just too much going on and it is all a bit comical, to be frank. Not all is bad nevertheless, I do enjoy the scene where Taylor is standing on her previous alter egos (can you not be impressed with the nostalgic ‘ Belong With Me’ dorky Taylor?) with a giant T, resembling a big cross behind her. To me, that is the only scene that gives me the jitters and actually carries the death of the old taylor quite effectively. Overall, it could have been done in a better way to justify the dramatic echoes of the lyrics.”
Jarrod, New Zealand
“First off I want to say that I’m disappointed with the topic of this song, mostly because I’m over Taylor’s beefs and boyfriends. I’d be more interested to know where she stands with the alt-rights and white supremacists of the world, seeing as it’s part of what’s currently going on in her country. During my first listen the production reminded me of Samaria’s ‘Deadline’ and ‘Operate’ by Peaches, which funnily enough, was used in a scene in Mean Girls. In 2014 Katy Perry referred to Taylor as “Regina George in sheep’s clothing” but this song isn’t about Katy, she’s on the list but I’m pretty sure Kanye is the one whose name is underlined in red. His most recent tour was performed on the ’tilted stage’ she is referring to. Lyrically, I do have a problem with the title and line of the hook. “Look what you made me do” is a phrase often used by manipulative/abusive people to flip the script on actual victims. It’s classic abuse veiled in victim complex. The victim complex is something Taylor has been accused of more often, but is she or anyone on her team aware that people might interpret this track as her exposing herself as a manipulative and abusive person? At the same time… “I’m sorry the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ’cause she’s dead!” gasp lol. After many listens this is probably my favourite part of this possible ear worm of a pop song. It’s so comical and I say that as a compliment. Personally, I’m a sucker for something you can vogue to and the chorus is great for that.”
Marjolein, The Netherlands
“After I played ‘Blank Space’ and ‘Shake It Off’ until infinity and beyond, I was so ready for some new Taylor Swift music! I looked forward to it but I have to be honest and admit that ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ disappointed me a little. The first five times I thought: seriously, is this it? The melody is too simple and I can’t ignore that I prefer the higher register of Taylor’s voice over the much lower one she uses here. It almost feels like it is too low for her to even express anything. I must admit that the song slowly grows on me after more listens, but not nearly fast enough to make it on my playlist for my holidays! The music video at the same time is quite hyper active with too many different scenes. I do appreciate the horror of Zombie Taylor in the beginning and the choreographed parts are on point, but other than that it is too busy and overwhelming. As there are too many scenes, they are all too short to really make sense of what is happening. Longer scenes with less different set ups would have worked better in my humble opinion. Let’s hope I can be more positive about Taylor’s next release!”
Turns out both the song and video are quite ‘hate it or love it’, which is not very surprising coming from Taylor. Either way ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ is now the most watched music video in its first 24 hours, breaking Adele’s record. She sure gave us something to talk about!