Taylor Swift is so sick of everyone talking about her that she made a video so everyone will do just that

Every primary school, every office and every college dorm has a Swift. Your husband dated her in sixth form

Grace Dent
Monday 28 August 2017 17:31
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Taylor Swift in the video for her new single "Look What You Made Me Do"
Taylor Swift in the video for her new single "Look What You Made Me Do"

Taylor Swift, as Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards proved, is possibly not the Queen of Pop, but she is certainly one of pop’s most irritating and therefore watchable courtiers. You have to give her that.

Swift’s video for “Look What You Made Me Do”, her new Right Said Fred “Too Sexy” re-hash rhapsodises how furious, vengeful, yet at the same time not bothered, she is about criticism.

Old Taylor Swift is dead! Or so the message was in the video premiered at one of the pop landscape’s most lauded evenings! Swift appears from the grave, dressed as a zombie, in a three minute video jam-packed laboriously with references to how badly the world has treated her. No frame, no millisecond wasted. The symbolism is so bold one would need to be dead oneself not to pick up on it.

Swift lampoons her celebrity girl squad, her fake “Oh I’ve won an award” face, her label as a “snake”. But just to make it clear, all new Taylor Swift is totally rising above all this tittle-tattle about Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West or Calvin Harris.

Taylor Swift's new song: 'Look What You Made Me Do' trailer

Yes, she’s put it to bed by employing video director Joseph Khan to stuff a three minute video with nods to Perry’s lack of Grammy awards, Kim K’s jewellery heist and her not-so secret credit on a Calvin Harris hit. This should sort it Taylor. They won’t be talking about you anymore. Hang on, is it just me, or does new re-born Taylor Swift, seem an awful lot like the old one?

And furthermore, isn’t Taylor Swift so utterly fascinating as a pop phenomenon because every woman, in the Western World at least, knows someone like her. I began toying with this theory circa her girl squad-era which, to my weary vintage gaze, seemed like a pack of flinty-eyed social climbers jostling for Instagram exposure. It was nothing remotely resembling friendship.

Or perhaps it was when that poor git Tom Hiddleston got tangled up with her during her Calvin Harris rebound state-of-mind. Somehow Hiddleston and his mother ended up on a casual “seaside stroll” along Aldeburgh beach with the world’s paparazzi. All completely accidental, probably. The last thing she wanted, I am sure, was all that attention.

Swift is a glorious piece of work. And so, indicative of a genre. Every primary school, every office and every college dorm has a Swift. Your husband dated her in sixth form, but she broke his heart and now he just can’t understand why you don’t like her messaging him on Facebook because, come on honey, she is just so harmless!

Twitter, in particular, is awash with Swift-a-likes. They are generally most active at 1am addressing the self-created problem of “everyone having an opinion” on them by starting a hundred post long “Thread” drawing attention to “backstabbers everywhere”, despite themselves being “only about love and good vibes”, and this being all a bit rum when considering their charity work and their self-diagnosed bi-polar that they rarely talk about.

Swift is the Borg Queen of women like this. It is no coincidence that she spent last week dramatically deleting her Instagram accounts in a scorched earth “Nothing to see here!” manner. Flouncing on and off social media is the modus operandi of the Swift-a-like.

If you don’t know anyone like this: I’m sorry, you are her. Swift’s behaviour over the weekend reminds me of a recent brilliant spoof advice feature on the razor-sharp comedy “woman’s interest” website The Reductress entitled “How to Avoid Negativity Now That You Are Over The Drama You Created”.

The closing moments of “Look What You Made Me Do” feature a cacophony of through-the-years Swift, (country and western Swift, Shake It Off Swift, all-American goddess Swift).

The gang are insulting the new re-born Swift 2.0 with the sorts of things you hear in gossip columns. It’s all very sixth-form meta and I’m certain Swift hopes this underlines that she is self-aware enough to know and deal with what her detractors say.

Yet having met women like Swifts so, so many times before, this is purely more sympathy-seeking. “Look what they’re saying! Poor me!” she’s actually saying. All I did was dress up as Katy Perry and wave about a Grammy and now everyone's making it look like I’ve wound up Katy Perry!

Taylor Swift’s has made it clear she’s pig sick of everyone talking about her, by ensuring everyone in pop land can talk of nothing else. You have to admire this. She is not the Queen of Pop, but she’s a brilliantly accomplished jester.

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