Before this week I had a bit of a soft spot for Taylor Swift, even after my children decided to adopt her music as a new form of torture for me. No Prisoner of War should ever have to endure endless out-of-tune renditions of ‘Shake It Off’ at 6am in the morning.
I couldn’t help admiring her either. Here was a pop star bucking the trend. A Class Act who tackled sexual harassment head-on and didn’t feel the need to flash a boob to conquer headlines. She wrote good tunes, worked hard and never took herself too seriously. I even sort of forgave her for HiddlesGate. Yes, she made him look like a right chump but if he’s going to line them up then her ace publicity team is bound to knock ‘em in.
Above all, she prioritized her girlfriends. Her posse of gangly-limbed, genetically blessed, wide-eyed sheep who collectively laughed in the face of old ideals: that a woman ‘needed’ a man to feel complete. She hammered that point home, oh boy did she ever – splashing countless images of her happy smiley beauties across her social media accounts. Taylor’s statement was Swarovski crystal clear: True popcorn-and-movie friendship was THE new-age equivalent of a lovey-dovey handhold… Then Kanye West emerged from the bushes like the IT clown and it all sort of derailed from there.
There’s a phone call saga between him and Taylor apparently. Something that erupted last year and caused a bit of a stir in the celebrity world. In it he accuses Pop’s Most Perfect Princess of lying, that she didn’t ‘OK’ a line in one of his songs inferring that the two of them were going to end up having sex (poor love).
Drama aside, that lyric is horrendously offensive on every level. It’s an insinuation that Taylor had no choice in the matter. What followed Kanye’s accusation wasn’t so much a ‘he said, she said’ scenario. It was more a terse statement and a dignified silence from Tay-Tay’s camp, and continuous noise from the other.
And here’s where Kanye is my epitome of a playground bully.
Niggle, niggle, jibe, jibe. It’s the classic bullying formula, isn’t it? Keep poking the victim until she reacts. Intimidation splashed across the headlines for months of end. He was determined to tear Taylor’s character down, skin it and then drape it over a bored-looking model to wear at one of his fashions shows.
And so to this week, and here’s where my admiration for Taylor ends. After much speculation, and months of enduring her lesser-talented rivals on the radio, Taylor finally has a response for Kanye. Unfortunately it’s in the most boorish, tone-deaf, dirge of a song imaginable.
‘Look What You Made Me Do.’ Oh dear. No thank you.
What’s the first thing we teach our kids about bullies, Taylor? WE DO NOT RISE TO THEM! It gives them too much satisfaction and the cycle of hate continues.
You were on such a high as well, taking on that sexual harassment case and making women worldwide pump fists with you. I bet you ten bucks that Kayne is sitting in his mansion right now cackling like a hyena.
You should have played to type. You should have put on your ‘short skirt and that red lip classic thing’ that we all like so much and written a belter of a comeback single. One that didn’t allude to Kanye, or his ‘tilted stage’, or his ‘little games’. Just you and a guitar like the old days when you blew the world away with your talent. In one (assured No.1) hit, you would have cut that bully down to size. Instead, you’ve chosen to release this antagonistic, over-produced drivel that’s dragged us all back into the playground again.
For want of a better word, isn’t it all just a bit… childish?
As a result I won’t be playing Taylor’s new song to my children, no matter how much they request it. And it’s not because the thought of it screeched into my eardrum at 6am isn’t appealing… (I actually think they might struggle to remember this one – she seems to have omitted any sort of tune for starters.) It’s because all I hear in that song is a great pop star gone bad.
Has the victim become the bully? Sorry, Taylor, you’ve let the side down. You’ve stooped to Kanye’s level now, and no good can ever come of that…