Taylor Swift has announced her upcoming album “1989” will be her first official “pop” album. With this announcement came the release of the album’s first single, “Shake It Off.”
The song starts with a horn track played over a looped open hi-hat and Swift stating, “I stay out too late, got nothing on my brain.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with these lyrics themselves, and Swift has the vocal chops to sing pop, but after three previous albums these lyrics seem uninspired.
The song carries on to the first chorus with lines like, “And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake I shake it off.” It’s infectiously catchy and will stick with you after just one listen. The chorus is a cue to what we can expect from the rest of the song, which is more chorus.
Similar to other songs that repeat chorus to completion like “Pumped Up Kicks” and “That’s Not My Name,” “Shake It Off” uses its chorus to anchor the song with the catchy phrase on repeat. Similarly to the opening words of the song, it’s not an abomination of lyrics but it’s not especially deep or new either.
The bridge of the song is where Swift goes full glitter-on-face pop. It’s a breakdown of the beat and Swift’s filtered voice saying, “Hey, hey, hey. Just think while you’ve been getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world, you could’ve been getting down to this sick beat.” She goes on to talk about her ex and how he could’ve been with her but now he’s with a girl that’s like, “Oh my God.” It’s a cutesy little break from the rest of the song, but almost makes her seem more like a sellout pop star than someone who’s semi-new to the genre. From here the chorus plays until the song is over.
Overall the song is very catchy and Swift already has the style and the creativity to make it in the pop world after a successful run in the country-pop realm. But what holds this song back is its lack of originality, not in terms of lyrics or production but more in style. The song is still fun and should be enjoyed by listeners who enjoy this style, but if you’re looking for something a bit groovier and less cookie cutter pop, you should listen elsewhere.