“Taylor Swift’s next song should be titled, ‘Maybe I’M the Problem,’” tweeted @AmberDonn after the first single from Red, Taylor Swift‘s much-hyped new album, turned out to be yet another post-breakup kiss-off. The fact that the single immediately broke sales records suggests that Swift’s girl-who-didn’t-let-celebrity-go-to-her-head-but-got-done-wrong-by-a-guy-who-did personal brand is nowhere near wearing thin. She’s the complement to Justin Bieber: while Bieber convinces the girls of the world that he loves each and every one of them just as much as they deserve to be loved, Swift convinces them that she hates all their ex-boyfriends just as much as all those assholes deserve to be hated.
In “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Swift slyly slides over from country to pop by both covering her back (a la Shania Twain, she released two versions of the song so that listeners can choose synth or twang to match their outfits), and focusing her lyrics and video on the shared enemy that fans of both genres can agree to hate: indie rock. The two worlds made twain in Valley Girl are torn asunder as Swift rolls her eyes sarcastically at her ex-dude’s preference for “some indie record that’s much cooler than mine.” The video rubs salt in the wound with a furry band that Swift says she included because she wanted the video to be “as quirky as the song sounds,” which is the most nonsensical sentiment by a top 40 artist since Carly Rae Jepsen told her crush that before she met him, she missed him so so much. If you want to know what Swift’s really getting at, ask Jake Gyllenhaal how many Animal Collective albums he has on his iPod.
No worry: at video’s end, Swift is already back in her pajamas and ready for the High Fidelity viewing that will re-open her heart to music nerds so that she can get a couple of good breakups under her belt in time to write her next album. She’ll have no problem finding adequately insensitive guys to tune her guitar, despite — maybe even because of — the well-established fact that if you so much as cough on her cat, you’ll be hearing coded references to yourself in shopping malls all over the world. “If guys don’t want me to write bad songs about them,” a sweetly smiling Swift tells an interviewer in a video that plays to appreciatively screaming fans at her concerts, “they shouldn’t do bad things.” A more apt title for the album might have been Fifty Shades of Red.
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