Forget any notion you had of Taylor Swift, the country music leading lady. Well, for now at least. The former country music diva is taking a turn down a different musical path for the moment with her first upcoming full-length pop album, set for release on Oct. 27, and a sneak peek at its pop flavor with her new single “Shake It Off.”
On Monday, Ms. Swift revealed to the world in a Yahoo! live stream that 1989 would be her freshman foray (pardon the alliteration) into the cluttered musical space of pop. The now-bobbed blonde also premiered the video for the first single off the album, “Shake It Off,” on Monday as well. Ms. Swift’s “Shake It Off” is not to be confused with the 2005 single by the same name from Mariah Carey nor with the similarly named “Shake It Out” song from decidedly non-pop group Florence and the Machine. But we digress.
The “Shake It Off” video is definitely a departure for the singer with its unmistakable pop-ness. Watching the video almost feels like a marriage between a handful of videos from already-existing pop icons — an odd marriage at times. The video starts with Tay Tay doing her own unique take on an apparent Black Swan ballet with, er, her own flavor. We think? Her white swan costume and headpiece look quite similar to those worn by the fabulous Natalie Portman in the actual feature film Black Swan. In fact, it is somewhat difficult not to long for the evil Mila Kunis to suddenly grace the screen. And while it’s certainly amusing to watch Taylor-as-a-ballerina, might we say, she’s got nothing on Natalie.
After the Taylor-as-Black-Swan take, she moves on to personify a few other pop culture-type figures in a seeming effort to show the world (and her haters) that she is more than what the public has made her out to be. It sort of seems as if she is all of a sudden not sure who she wants to be as a star, at least within the confines of this video, that is. And dammit, world, she is OK with that, and you should be, too! Taylor morphs from ballerina to Lady Gaga clone to punk rocker and back again. See, she really can do more than country! If we were forced to choose our favorite Tay in the vid, then we’d have to go with Tay-as-Gaga. Just saying. She also waxes with lyrics like, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, but I’m just gonna shake it off.” You do that, Tay Tay. We support you.
In her Y! live stream, she echoed sentiments of the same desire to diversify with this album, calling it a “rebirth and very “socially cohesive.” In an interview with Rolling Stone on “Shake It Off” specifically, she said, “I’ve had every part of my life dissected — my choices, my actions, my words, my body, my style, my music. When you live your life under that kind of scrutiny, you can either let it break you, or you can get really good at dodging punches. And when one lands, you know how to deal with it. And I guess the way that I deal with it is to shake it off.”
Ms. Swift co-wrote “Shake It Off” with Max Martin and Shellback, who also produced the single. These two worked with country-Taylor on her “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” hit as well. If the saccharine sweet pop song “Shake It Off” proves anywhere as successful as Taylor’s previous tracks, we (and the iTunes store) may need to re-bucket her genre. Good-bye, country Tay Tay for now, see ya on the flip!