The Spokesman

Taylor Swift Rules Over The Summer Music Industry

Brandon Tejeras, Editor

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2017 has been an eventful summer in the entertainment industry, to say the least. We’ve not only had blockbuster movies featuring our favorite superheroes but also triumphant returns in the music industry. After an eternity of teasers and riddles from Taylor Swift, we have been granted a sneak peak into her new album with her latest hit, but has it been all that it was hyped up to be? Has the return of one of the most famous artists been all that we hoped for? I sure think so, but let me tell you why Taylor Swift has shaped the summer and set a new standard for music.

Taylor Swift is one of the reigning queens of pop and one of the most controversial female solo artists of this century. You would have to have been under a rock for the past few years to miss the feuds and scandals staining Taylor Swift’s reputation. From her high profile beef with Kim Kardashian and her gal pals to the many boyfriends at the center of some of her best songs, Taylor Swift is a name synonymous with conflict. Her new single- “Look What You Made Me Do”- only adds to her brand of conflict.

Before being released, “Look What You Made Me Do” caused widespread controversy on social media, as the phrase is often said by domestic abusers. Many people have come out on Twitter and Instagram criticizing the name because they themselves have heard this phrase in far more sinister scenarios. It’s important, however, to remember that many artists across all genres have been denounced for the imagery, titles, and lyrics in their works; this is nothing new. It almost seems as though Taylor Swift gets nitpicked the most out of celebrities today. She’s certainly used to the heat, as it plays a major part of her latest song, and will serve a pivotal role in her new album Reputation.

The music video for “Look What You Made Me Do” is the most dramatic of her videos thus far- it’s chock full of Easter eggs and hidden references that need to be noted. The music video starts off in an ominous looking graveyard, zooming in on a tombstone enscribed with the words “Here Lies Taylor Swift’s Reputation.” Swift then emerges from her grave wearing a dress strikingly similar to the one she wore in her music video for “Out of the Woods.” A decaying Swift appears digging a grave for Nils Sjoberg, a minor reference to her ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris. This is the name of the alias she used while writing Harris’s song featuring Rihanna. In this same scene, she is burying herself, also a nod to the fact that she brought about her own downfall.

The next shot shows Taylor Swift in a bathtub full of diamonds, with a single dollar bill resting on top. This is a reference to the recent court win for Swift. In 2013, Swift was allegedly sexually harassed by a radio DJ. Instead of suing him for all he had, she asked for one dollar to send a message. In the next scene, she is seen on a throne covered in snakes, a reference to how Kim Kardashian called her a snake after it was revealed that she lied about a lyric in one of Kanye’s songs. One of the snakes that litter her throne room is shown serving a cup of tea, which is a popular symbol for gossiping.  

Katy Perry’s new look with her cropped and platinum blonde hair was slyly referenced in the following scene where Swift gets in a car crash with a similar hair color and style. The next big reference came in the form of a bank robbery at  “Stream Co.” which is a nod to the feud Swift had with Apple Music. This came about when Apple started a three-month free trial for their new feature on iTunes. Swift and many other artists found this troubling because none of the artists would be compensated for the free plays of music during those 3 months. A couple scenes after this, there is a scene that shows a group of dancers behind Swift. These dancers are wearing an “I love TS” crop top. If you recall her brief relationship with Tom Hiddleston, you might notice that he wore a similar shirt, professing his love for Swift.

The music video ends in typical Swift fashion. She expertly takes control of her critics by addressing every insult used against her. This post-song features several past versions of her from different performances and music videos bickering with each other- an almost word-for-word reference to the accusations aimed industry at her over years.

Taylor Swift has been a staple of the music for much of my life and the lives of teens everywhere. From her self-titled debut album in 2005 at the age of 16 to her most recent smash hit 1989, Taylor Swift has a long history of inspiring and energetic material that continues to get us on our feet and dancing. Using her fame and celebrity status, Swift has brought to attention issues in the entertainment industry concerning sexism and pay differences. Whether you love her or hate her, Taylor Swift will continue to be dominating figure in the music industry and a powerful voice for young women everywhere.

There was a lot to see and annotate from the newest Taylor Swift song; surely there will be more to say on November 10th.

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