Taylor Swift’s “ME!” debuts a brand new picture for the star


Rumors of the Outdated Taylor’s demise have been enormously exaggerated.

Or, extra exactly, what’s been exaggerated is the demise of the Outdated Outdated Outdated Taylor — the girly Taylor of large twirly attire and lengthy ringlets and teardrops on her guitar, the Taylor who reached her apex with 2010’s Communicate Now. That Taylor was lengthy regarded as vanished, buried below the retro-chic femininity of 2012’s Pink and the pop sleekness of 2014’s 1989, after which definitively murdered throughout the heel flip of 2017’s Fame.

That’s to not say that Taylor ever went grunge or androgynous. Within the 2010s, Taylor moved away from the nation sound she constructed her title on, however she was nonetheless girly. She was just a bit bit much less … floofy about it. Till now.

Now, Floofy Taylor’s again with a vengeance. And we all know this as a result of the video for her latest single, “ME!”, which she dropped on the stroke of midnight on April 26, opens with the snake that Taylor made her mascot throughout the Fame period exploding right into a cloud of butterflies. Delicate she ain’t.

Taylor’s accomplished attempting to be a nasty lady snake, “ME!” informs us. She’s again to her hyper-femme butterfly days.

Swift’s new picture debuted solely after months of preparation on Instagram

Swift’s been constructing as much as this return all 12 months. On her Instagram, there’s a stark dividing line between the posts of 2018 — the Fame period, all blood reds and black — and the posts from final Christmas on. Within the Fame period, Swift tended to point tenderness with black-and-white photographs or sun-drenched footage of her in monochromatic outfits, however as she put that section to mattress, she began diverging increasingly more from the black-and-white-and-red colour story she’d constructed for herself. The photographs on her Instagram began to get brighter.

A collection of thumbails from Swift’s Instagram shows her changing color story

The Fame period ends with the cat image.
Taylor Swift / Instagram

Colours began creeping again into the frames, regularly however unmistakably: a frilly costume right here, a pink-filtered staircase there. By March, they have been hyper-saturated with daring, blaring pink (“screaming colour,” even), and butterflies. Butterflies all over the place.

Thumbnails from Taylor Swift’s March 2019 Instagram

So pink!
Taylor Swift / Instagram

The pinks and the butterflies and the rainbows recommend that Taylor is attempting to return to her roots — not musically (“ME!” by no means tries to sound something like a rustic tune), however by way of her persona.

They recommend that she’s sick of attempting to play the villain position she saddled herself with within the wake of the #KimExposedTaylorParty, when Kim Kardashian West printed a video that appeared to show that Swift had publicly lied about Kanye West, one exhibiting Swift signing off on a Swift-referencing Kanye lyric that she would later declare he’d printed with out her permission. The butterflies recommend that Swift desires to maneuver previous all fuss, to return to being a popular culture princess. Whether or not she’ll be capable to pull off that return is a bigger query.

In some methods, throwing again to her ultra-femme good lady picture is a sensible transfer for Swift. She at all times wore her dangerous lady mantle uneasily, as evidenced by the comparatively anemic reception she earned with Fame (anemic, in fact, by Swift requirements solely; for many different artists, it might have been a smash). Critics nearly uniformly discovered her harping on all of the methods she’d been wronged exhausting, and whereas her diehard fan base remained supportive, no tune on Fame ever achieved the extent of inescapable cultural saturation that, as an illustration, “Shake It Off” had in 2014.

Nevertheless it’s price remembering that Swift by no means fairly selected to make a heel flip within the first place. She discovered herself pushed into the position after Kim Kardashian West caught her in a messy public lie that clashed viciously along with her likable persona, and audiences began to consider her as pretend.

Popping out of the Fame period, Swift has accomplished a bit rehab work on her tattered princess picture, particularly as in comparison with her nemesis Kanye. She inspired her followers to register to vote, and in so doing drove what seemed to be a measurable spike in voter registration numbers. She broke her long-standing rule in opposition to taking public sides in politics to endorse two Democratic candidates for Congress. (They each misplaced, however nonetheless.)

And most poetically, Swift made her political strikes proper across the similar time that Kanye West courted controversy by visiting Trump on the White Home, positioning herself because the woke, politically accountable different to the more and more alienated — and alienating —Kanye. Primarily, Swift lastly beat Kanye West in a PR skirmish for the primary time since her main loss in opposition to the West couple in 2016.

There’s an opportunity that Swift has repaired herself sufficient that the general public will likely be keen to have a look at her with unabashed adoration once more, and a barely greater probability that the general public is so uninterested in the dangerous lady period of Fame that they’ll be keen to just accept Butterfly Taylor as a much less exhausting different.

Nevertheless it’s additionally completely attainable that Swift’s public picture basically modified ceaselessly within the wake of the #KimExposedTaylorParty, and that it doesn’t matter what occurs any further, folks will at all times consider her on some stage as a bit little bit of a snake.

If that’s the case, it’d behoove Swift to discover a technique to reconcile the 2 poles of her picture — a technique to be each unapologetically a floof-loving girly lady and a scheming, plotting snake. That’s a Taylor Swift that I may get behind.


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