Taylor Swift still wants revenge

Pop star Taylor Swift's new album Reputation will be released on Nov 10 - the 10th death anniversary of the mother of rapper Kanye West, with whom she had a run-in last year.
Pop star Taylor Swift's new album Reputation will be released on Nov 10 - the 10th death anniversary of the mother of rapper Kanye West, with whom she had a run-in last year.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • Throughout the years, pop megastar Taylor Swift has a notable theme in her songwriting - revenge.

In Picture To Burn (2006), she taunted a misbehaving ex. In Mean (2010), she took down a music critic. In Bad Blood (2014), she brought an entire celebrity army to confront a frenemy who did her wrong.

So, it is not a total surprise that Swift's new song - released on streaming services last Thursday night after days of Internet hype - involves vengeance.

Titled Look What You Made Me Do, off her upcoming sixth studio album Reputation, she is fired up as she confronts an enemy - one whose actions are to blame for whatever happens next.

"Oooh, look what you made me do," she intones repeatedly on the pop-dance track, over a beat that sounds a bit like Right Said Fred's 1991 novelty hit I'm Too Sexy. In an odd twist, she and her co-writer and producer Jack Antonoff gave the mostly forgotten British group a writing credit on the song.

Specifically, she makes barely veiled reference to rapper Kanye West and his wife, reality television star Kim Kardashian, who became her most confrontational rivals last year in a scrap over the lyrics to his song Famous.

She hisses: "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."

West - who used a tilted stage on his latest tour - name-checked Swift in Famous, something he said she had approved. When Swift intimated that she was caught off guard by the "misogynistic" song, Kardashian released a recording that appeared to show Swift and West chatting about the lyrics during a friendly phone call.

There are other indications that West remains near the front of Swift's mind: Some of her new merchandise uses a font that is similar to the one West popularised on his The Life Of Pablo T-shirts.

One hopes it is a coincidence that her scheduled album release date, Nov 10, falls on the 10th anniversary of the death of West's mother, Donda.

WASHINGTON POST, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2017, with the headline 'Taylor Swift still wants revenge'. Print Edition | Subscribe