By GRACE HOWIE
On Friday, October 20, Taylor Swift released her third single from her newest, sixth studio album, “Reputation.” “Gorgeous” is a classic Taylor Swift pop song, the track is repetitive and simplistic making the vocals shine.
Since the song is repetitive the lyrics draw the most attention. I find the lyrics problematic and juvenile. These lyrics are thematically different but contain some similarities to the first single release, “Look what you made me do.” While senior Sarah Kinzer said that “Gorgeous” is “okay,” and “better than the other new one,” Swift writes herself as the victim and remains blameless in every aspect. This seems to be the theme surrounding this album. I find this rhetoric toxic and irresponsible.
This idea of blame-shifting that began in “Look what you made me do.” This left me feeling puzzled. As my therapist has told me time and time again, people can’t make you do anything.
In “Gorgeous,” Swift blames this ‘you figure’ for how she feels when they seem to have done nothing other than look attractive. This is at the forefront of this song throughout the verses. In the first verse she says, “You’re so cool, it makes me hate you so much,” which is echoed in the chorus with, “I’m so furious, at you for making me feel this way.” She takes no responsibility of her own feelings.
Vulture said in their review that “if she can’t take the hint implicit in her new songs that she’s her own worst enemy, there’s no future for the megastar aside from burning out,” which I agree with, especially considering the singles released so far on this album.
Senior Annie Frazza said, that to her this “sounds like every other Taylor Swift song.” “Gorgeous” is extremely reminiscent of “Blank Space,” one of the first singles released from her last album, “1989.” There is a similar lyrical phrasing and use of marking sounds, which in “Gorgeous” is a bell dinging at the end of certain verses. The similarities between two albums is disappointing from someone who promised them the their old self is dead. I was personally expecting all new directions for this album, which I guess isn’t happening.
The first time I heard this song I thought it sounded like it was written by a young teenager dealing with an infatuation for the first time. This crush is superficial and lacking any depth other than childlike flirtations which Swift mentions as she makes “fun of the way [they] talk,” and that this person, “should take it as a compliment that [she’s] talking to everyone [there] but [them].”
Billboard magazine has a theory, that she is “mocking her image by blowing it up to comical proportions.” When thinking about the song in that context, it is immediately better and Swift seems wittier than the surface level pettiness that is this song. While this is plausible, considering that the ending of the, “Look what you made me do” video portrayed a self-aware Swift showcasing everything she has been criticized for. Maybe that’s the point of this album but the point seems to be slightly missed. Even if this idea of self-mocking is the case, it still doesn’t excuse the issues that I find myself having with the lyrics.
One issue with Swift’s songs, everyone attempts to analyze the lyrics not for what they are, but rather to find out who these songs may be about. Even with this, senior Ana Leino said, “She has proven once again even though the song is about another person she has managed to make it about herself.”
Swift is so self-concerned on this album with how other people are affecting her. Personally, I couldn’t care less who the ‘you’ is because when I listen to a song I want to be able to identify with it rather than decode a celebrity’s life. That’s just me though.
Imagine if these lyrics were being sung by a man, “You should think about the consequence of your magnetic field being a little too strong.” It would be criticized for its content and the predatory, victim-blaming vibes it gives off. When coming from a white-female singer in her late 20’s, no one bats an eye even when she’s “furious at [them] for making [her] feel this way.”
This rhetoric goes back to what I said earlier, people don’t make you do anything and hopefully Swift is just mocking her image, but on some level it is not explicit enough. These toxic ideals are being overlooked as she idealizes the jealous girlfriend archetype.
Younger generations will listen to this and internalize that the lyrics are appropriate behavior. She hints at wanting to cheat at one point which seems unnecessary other than to tease those fans trying to figure out the timeline of this song in relation to her actual love life. She has monopolized on the fact that she exploits her relationships and partners through her music.
I don’t even know if she could mock herself in regards to something other than relationships. It frustrates me though, because we see today that relationships are already so delicate and flawed which means she’s just contributing to toxic behaviors in society. Reputation will be released Nov. 10.