I, like millions around the world, anxiously awaited Taylor Swift’s new single. I’ve always enjoyed her music – even the ones that are explicitly slamming someone. Then “Look What You Made Me Do” dropped.
It was catchy and the theme was in line with what you would probably expect – she’s using her personal experience as creative inspiration.
And yet, I found myself disappointed, sad and quite frankly, annoyed. It didn’t have the cheekiness of “Blank Space” or the innocent naivete of “Mean,” or the more uplifting message of “Shake It Off.” My first thoughts were that the message was trite. Incredibly petty. Lacking any sort of positive substance. Part of me wanted to shake her and give her a lecture on being the bigger person.
But most of all, I just didn’t get it, nor could I identify with it. Was it supposed to be empowering and highlighting a new Taylor Swift? That she can overcome anything? That she’s growing?
I’m still not sure. But I don’t think it did any of those things. I think it was a message to those who criticize her, to those who have “wronged her.” I hear her saying: “How dare you continue to criticize me. You’ve made me turn revenge. I’ve done nothing wrong. And now, watch out.”
This is not meant to be a slam on Taylor Swift or those who enjoy the song. Her songs, like most music, are inspired by her life, her experiences, where she’s at in her life. And she didn’t change her M.O.
The only thing that really changed was me. Like her music reflects her, my reaction reflects me and my experiences. And I think I just may have out grown T-Swift.
I think it’s mostly a symptom of maturing. It’s realizing that feuds do nothing but make both parties miserable. It’s understanding what issues are important to stand your ground on and which ones aren’t worth the anger. That there are always two sides to every story, and it takes the actions of two people to have a feud. That stooping to the level of your enemies only let’s them win. And ultimately, the only way to win is to be the bigger person and forgive.
But I think it’s also a consequence of how I felt coming out of the last election. With the divisiveness that’s permeating this country, the last thing I want to listen to is music that promotes revenge, points fingers and completely lacks an inspiring message. In this current climate, give me something that will help me escape. Or make me want to be and do better. But I don’t want anything that will make me hate.
I may be alone in my reaction. But as I approach my next birthday, it’s just a reminder that I’m continuing to grow, continuing to learn new things about myself. And at the end of the day, that’s all I can really ask for.