In case you didn’t know, Taylor Swift released her latest single, titled “ME!”, at 12 a.m. this past Friday (4/26). Over the years, I have been a steadfast Taylor Swift fan. I got into her music right when Fearless, her second album, was released. When I found her, I devoured her self-titled debut album and then absolutely fell in love with her during Fearless. Did I make up a whole dance to accompany “You Belong With Me”? You know I did. When Taylor’s third album, Speak Now, came out in 2010, I basically died. I remember sitting inches from my TV, which is older than me, watching the premiere of Taylor’s music video for her first single on the album, “Mine.” Then Red came along in 2012, and I was in deeper than ever. I went to her concert, which was so surreal, and I’m pretty sure Red is my favorite album (It does fluctuate all the time, so future me might be reading this and shaking her head). Taylor became even more popular and commerically successful with the 2014 album, 1989, with huge hits like “Bad Blood,” “Shake it Off,” “Blank Space,” “Style,” “Wildest Dreams,” and “Out of the Woods”. Then we had all that Kanye-Swift-Kardashian drama that I don’t really want to get into because let’s face it; it’s old news. 2017’s Reputation wasn’t my favorite album, but there are some really strong songs in there like “New Year’s Day”.
All that said, I was so excited to hear that Taylor Swift was releasing new material on Apr. 26. I’m not gonna lie, I was worried it was going to be something other than music, but was so relieved to see the promotions for her newest single, “ME!” in collaboration with Brendon Urie. Though it is a little weird to have your lead single be a collaboratioin, Swift and Urie are two performers in pop who have maintained relevance and commericial success in music for well over a decade. The prospect of finally seeing them work together was amazing.
But then I listened to the song. At first listen, I was so stunned by the amazing visuals of the music video and my own happiness at seeing Taylor perform again that I just went along with the song. After a couple hours though, I decided to give it another listen because unlike other Swift singles, this one didn’t stay with me. Upon my second listen, it’s apparent why. “ME!” doesn’t have any of the usual vulnerability that marks the majority of Swift’s music. I’m used to her being so forthcoming and personal in her music, but “ME!” feels really generic. Swap it out for Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (another song that ends with an exclamation point, btw) and I wouldn’t notice the difference. In my opinion, “ME!” sounds way too manufactured; it honestly seems like a money grab. Swift and her team knew this was going to be a hit, but they also know this song is largely marketable to a young audience, and it will probably be playing in kid’s stores until the end of time.
While I’m largely dissapointed in “ME!” I’m still holding out hope that TS7 will be amazing. Now that my expectations have been lowered, they’ll probably be blown out of the water. I’m trying to remind myself about the time when “Look What You Made Me Do” released. I liked the song, but not that much. Reputation, however, was much stronger as a whole. I’m hoping the same will be said of Taylor Swift’s upcoming album. I’ll be “patiently” waiting.