TS: Return to Sender

Musicology, You Didn't Ask Me, But...

Taylor Swift recently released Look What You Made Me Do, the first single and video from her upcoming telenovela treatise angry diary post album “Reputation.” In the song, she opines how KanyeKimPeopleBoyfriendsHuh forced her to kill off her old personas–essentially, her rebirth from the fires of pop culture. A vanilla bean phoenix if you will.

Well, sis, you can go ahead and kill this edition of yourself too, because we don’t want it either.

Taylor Ssssswift took JAY-Z’s immortal lyrics I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man! to laudable heights. I’ll give her props for making herself into a pop culture icon with millions of album sales, millions of fans, and millions upon millions of dollars. Sure, she’s worked hard and possesses musical talents. And reinventing herself from bubblegum country queen to music maven was merely par for the course. Kudos. But all along, as she built persona after persona, she added more pieces of plastic to her image, wrapping herself in a thick film of fakeness audiences now see through much too easily.

As her contrived victimhood grew, so did our disbelief in her authenticity. It all began with the VMAs (wrong!) awarding Swift the Video of the Year Award over Queen Bey and launching Kanye West further into (sad!) infamy. Although we were all thinking it, West said it (OMG, Brittany!) and turned himself into the public’s King Kong, dragging the helpless white woman to the top of the Empire Building to be saved. I thoroughly believe Taylor would’ve gotten to the top eventually, but I call shenanigans if you think the VMA scandal wasn’t kerosene poured onto the fires of her career.


The beginning of a grand ol’ time

It was cute and she was dandy in the beginning, and maybe it wasn’t her fault, but ours as the audience, for egging on a mostly paltry conflict. We fanned the flames as West went down a rabbit hole and Swift was uplifted. But then, the perpetual defense of Swift in connection to West got boring. And worst of all, annoying. It could’ve been set aside and overcome and I wouldn’t have to be out here caping for Mr. West, which I am loath to do. But then there was Katy Perry. In this white-on-white gang war,  Swift came out on top surrounded by a #girlsquad that seemed as sturdy as a straw house. And then there was her cries for #feminism, but seemingly only when it proved useful to her victimhood.* The longer you feigned shock at award shows, the more we grew weary and the bigger you got, the less you used your sizable voice to make an actual impact.

And then Kim Kardashian dropped the Snapchat of the year and it was revealed that Taylor Swift was as calculating as we’d imagined.

She was suddenly unmasked.

But instead of taking any onus of responsibility, she asked to be “excluded from the narrative.” As my beloved mother always says, tell the truth and shame the devil. She, unlike Taylor, knew better.

Now here we are. She took a well-deserved sabbatical, but came back swinging swords  she didn’t earn, with a new persona that seems equally as contrived as the old for all of the pomp and circumstance. She’s bringing sexy back or something like that, but I don’t buy it. No one made you do anything. Not to mention, a fair amount of your haters were fans who were simply over it. 

All celebrities have a right to rebrand themselves, but we don’t buy it when you choose not to address the actual reasons why folks are over your personas. Work on that aspect of your reputation and why you think you need to dead them at all, because I suspect you haven’t quite figured it out.

In this new era, you say the old you can’t come to the phone?

Girl, we really weren’t calling.


*I will concede that part of this was a result of her being slut-shamed and no woman should go through any kind of sexual assault or verbal abuse because of her relationships. Or for any reason. Rape culture is disgusting.


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