Taylor Swift is back with a vengeance. Like Arya Stark with her list of names, Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” is a revenge-themed song, hell-bent on proving that Swift is stronger after being put through the wringer than we could have ever expected. It’s been three years since 1989 was released, and Swift is really leaving her old self in the past. Is this the comeback we were hoping for? Or is Swift back to her old tricks?
Let’s get one thing out of the way right out of the gate: the new sound Swift is working with is so, so good. There’s a harder edge here, like what she worked with in “I Knew You Were Trouble.” It’s dirty, raw and electric — a refreshing sound for one of music’s favorite self-styled “good girls.” Considering 1989 was a mix of ebullient anthems and soft power pop, “Look What You Made Me Do” is an aural kick in the head, but weirdly, I like it? Yeah, I like it.
The lyrics, on the other hand, leave something to be desired. Swift sounds mad and, moreover, she sounds like she’s talking directly to someone who has wronged her. “I don’t like your little games / Don’t like your tilted stage / The role you made me play / Of the fool / No, I don’t like you” feels like Swift is throwing a barb right out of the gate at Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who famously dragged her through the mud when they revived West’s long-simmering feud with Swift. Playing the victim and removing herself from any responsibility in the role she has in the negative attention she receives is something Swift has grappled with for a long time now; acting as if it’s her versus the world isn’t going to endear her to us when there’s room to criticize her actions.
Swift could also be talking about a number of other celebrities to whom she’s been linked in a negative way in recent years: Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Calvin Harris and Harry Styles are either frenemies or former lovers that Swift, to the public’s knowledge, is either on shaky ground with or simply doesn’t speak to anymore. Is she taking aim at them, too?
It would appear that the song is getting mixed reactions on social media. People are unsure how to feel about Swift’s new sound or her lyrics. Some are critiquing her pettiness, and others are celebrating the launch of her new era.
Is it just me or does #LookWhatYouMadeMeDo sound like a song you'd hear on Pretty Little Liars
— Kaitlyn VanWay (@kaitlynvanway) August 25, 2017
One Twitter user’s reaction to the song made a low-key amazing connection to 13 Reasons Why and the way tapes were used in the show to illustrate how one person had wronged another.
"I'm sorry, the old Taylor can't come to the phone right now."
— R1 Breakfast with Nick Grimshaw 2012-2018 (@R1Breakfast) August 25, 2017
— katie stans bobby (@hiddlesIoki) August 25, 2017
The song has been out since late Wednesday, which means that there’s still plenty of time to listen and discuss the layers of “Look What You Made Me Do” ad nauseam. One thing’s for certain: if this is the first song from Swift’s new album, Reputation, then we should all brace ourselves for what’s coming.