[2] Taylor Swift, ‘Shake It Off’


I’ve loved Taylor Swift since I was twice her age. I know the narrative – fuelled by her, essentially – was that this was where she finally went ‘pop’, but if ‘Love Story’ wasn’t ‘pop’ then I’m feeling 22. Obviously I got caught up in the whole Taylor-goes-pop frenzy because, well, I have editors, but the only material difference is the heavier emphasis on synths. The rest is familiar, all hooks, love, no love, lost love, anticipation, regret, proper choruses and a singer who understands how to get it all across, emotionally and pragmatically.

‘Shake It Off’ is silly. Not too silly to be dissected lyrically, but that’s just a projected persona, isn’t it? I can’t imagine she’s really worried about haters or what they say. Its strength is in its hectic joy, the wail into the final chorus, the horns on the second, its immediacy – I watched the video that night and never again, but it and the song were glued down from that moment. It’s usually in my head but I still play it again.

Inevitably, it’s huge around here and they’re beaming from the first ‘Hey Mickey’ beats. “I love it,” says Junior 3. “I said I love it straightaway.” She did. Junior loves it too and does the whole “THIS. SICK. BEAT.” thing because, like Taylor, she’s well hip-hop. Junior 2 goes for deeper analysis: “I love the voices. It has a lot of expression.” It’s about time this family had a proper music critic.

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