Taylor Swift is going through an emo phase.
It comes about 12 years late, but considering how Swift was a country-pop princess when other teens her age were wearing fingerless gloves and dying their hair black, it’s understandable why it took so long. By all standards, Swift is allowed to be edgy at least once in her life, and if it happens in the public eye and every move somehow trends on twitter, so be it.
But does she have to publicize it so much?
I didn’t have anything against Taylor Swift. If anything, I maybe-sort-of-kind-of liked her. Shake It Off was catchy. I’ve been known to get it down to 22. Love Story is iconic. I felt bad for her – every single one of her relationships has been documented by tabloids and that probably takes a toll on people. However, I now find it incredibly difficult to find a shred of sympathy in my heart for someone who is worth the same amount of 1,400,000,000 Timbits and has broken up with six of my celebrity crushes. (I will never forgive her for Joe Jonas.)
To solidify her newfound dark persona, she released the cultural abomination that is Look What You Made Me Do, the edgiest song I’ve ever heard. The audacity of Swift to subject my, and the rest of the internet-connected population’s ears to the atrocity of a song that is the audio embodiment of too much eyeliner, is incomprehensible. It sounds like a relic from a long-gone era of MySpace and usernames that start and end with “Xx”. It is a song fresh out of 2004, but certainly not written by 2004 Taylor Swift. It is written by 2017 Taylor Swift, who resembles 2004 Taylor Swift’s polar opposite, Gerard Way, the lead singer of notoriously disbanded and incredibly emo band, My Chemical Romance. If you need more proof, just look at the album cover of her most recent album, Reputation – an image adorned with heavy rocker fonts and Swift looking like the punk character in any given John Hughes film. She is trying (and boy, is she trying) to distance herself from the girl from 2012 who could only gawk at Kanye West when he declared that Beyoncé was more deserving of the “Best Female Video” VMA. While the situation was pathetic at best and deplorable at worst, the ongoing feud between West and Swift is utterly redundant by virtue of the fact that it is impossible to win a fight for who can be the pettiest against Kanye West.
Swift is iconic. A cultural phenomenon. Her early songs are definitive of the 21st century, but the very idea that she may be trying to shift her reputation from quirky blonde chick to badass MOFO is devaluing her success derived from being a real-life Disney princess. However, she also seems hesitant to completely let go to her good girl persona. The behind-the-scenes videos of the making of her new album paint her as a cute cat-lover with an affinity for junk food and tomfoolery, but it feels like her last grasp at being considered down to earth. Relatability is a lost cause for somebody with a net-worth of $280 million and a massive global following hung on her every Tumblr like. If Swift is trying to illicit sympathy, she falls short. On the other hand, if her goal is to make me long for a time when she couldn’t stop singing about a Kennedy, then she is doing a far better job than she could know.