I’m sorry, the old new Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, 'cause she was smothered by a Live Laugh Love pillow!
You guuuuyyysss. Taylor Swift is back and as you may have heard, it sucks! Not only does “ME!” suck, but it has brought to the surface the underlying thesis of all of Taylor’s work since Red: She is incredibly tacky.
Tackiness is pervasive because it’s easy. It’s about being the loudest person in a room while having nothing to actually say. It’s empty platitudes tattooed on forearms in a cursive font.
The scary thing about Taylor is that she’s tacky and smart. It’s a dangerous combination that makes me think if she weren’t a singer she’d be that one bitch making money off of an MLM scam.
“ME!” weaponizes tackiness so as to become unimpeachable. Taylor said that the song is “about embracing your individuality and really celebrating it, and owning it.” She’s put herself in an amazing position where she can see that critics are saying the song is bad (which it is) and then she can say, “Haters love to tear down a young woman singing about positivity,” if she wants to.
But this song isn’t even about “embracing your individuality.” Here are some lyrics:
I know that I'm a handful, baby, uh I know I never think before I jump And you're the kind of guy the ladies want (And there's a lot of cool chicks out there) I know that I went psycho on the phone I never leave well enough alone And trouble's gonna follow where I go (And there's a lot of cool chicks out there)
But one of these things is not like the others Like a rainbow with all of the colors Baby doll, when it comes to a lover I promise that you'll never find another like
And then she goes “Me-hee-HEE.”
Taylor spends the entire first verse being like, “Listen, baby, I know I’m treating you poorly and that I’m not thinking about you,” and then jumps into the chorus where she flips those things around to say that they’re what make her a special and unique woman and also maybe that she’s good in bed? No one should ever say “lover.”
This song is about being a shitty person who refuses to change, but it’s wrapped up in enough pastel packaging so people can be tricked into thinking it’s cute. Remember those sassy Tweety Bird shirts that say things like “Ask someone who cares!” and “Now back to me!”? Tackiness abounds.
The thing is, there’s an interesting pop song to be made about recognizing the fact that you’re a bad partner. That’s not Taylor’s brand though. The only song of hers that comes to mind where she accepts her own fault is “Back To December” and that was nine years ago. “I Did Something Bad” doesn’t count because–like a serial killer–there’s no remorse. Just like “ME!”, it’s about reveling in being callous.
It’s as though Taylor has never gotten stoned and thought about how everyone imagines themselves to be the heroic protagonist of their story but that they can also be the villainous antagonist of someone else’s.
Or maybe she has, but she made a business decision. It’s profitable to make tacky anthems. This is a song for young girls who currently going through drama because there’s too many people in their prom group and someone has to get cut. Those girls have parents who will buy them a hideous $60 long-sleeved tee that says “Awesome!”
Like a necklace with an anchor pendant that reads “refuse to sink,” the words and the imagery of “ME!” don’t match up. What is supposed to be a bubbly song celebrating individuality is actually an ode to being a piece of shit. Not that any of that matters though, I bet 7-year-olds are already streaming it on a loop.
P.S. The GALL to drag Brendon Urie into this mess and then have to QUALIFY his presence by adding “of Panic! At The Disco” to his name. If you feel the need to explain who Brendan Urie is, you’re consciously making music for children and seniors’ aerobics classes.