It’s not a clothing and accessories line. This is a relief. As I expected, all those teaser photos Taylor Swift’s been posting for the last couple of weeks were scenes from the video for her new single “ME!”, with Brendon Urie from Panic! At The Disco. I heard from a well-respected music industry source yesterday afternoon who’d just listened to the song and the description they sent to me was that “it’s a f-cking smash”.
“ME!” is indeed a “f-cking smash”. As expected it’s tearing up the charts. The video has already been watched millions and millions of times. That would qualify it as a “smash”. And that’s what my source meant by the text. “ME!” is radio-friendly. It’s catchy. It vibes in the same way that “Shake It Off” vibed back in 2014, the first song off of 1989. “Shake It Off” is not the best song on that album, not by far. But it’s the song Taylor chose to kick off the album cycle because it set a tone, it created momentum. That’s what “ME!” is doing here. We don’t know yet when the album will be released but after it comes out and all the cotton candy settles, I’m betting that “ME!” won’t be the standout, just like “Shake It Off” isn’t the standout from 1989, the best album of Taylor’s career so far.
In that sense, then, “ME!”, while not a song I want to jam to all weekend, is doing its job – getting stuck in people’s heads, generating all kinds of excitement, with that “me-hee-hee oooh-hoo-hoo” working the way “play play play, hate hate hate, and shake shake shake” did back then.
The title makes me laugh though. I wonder if Justin Timberlake is mad that she co-opted his favourite word. Like imagine if it was him instead of Brendon Urie on this track?
As for the video – well, it’s a pastel explosion, the most obvious possible departure from the “darkness” of the reputation era. This is a happy Taylor, a lighter Taylor, manifested in the form of snake clouds floating above her as she dances around in frothy gowns. Thanos has snapped the snake into a swarm of butterflies as joyful Taylor is done grudging and is now all about loving, in an Easter-coloured wonderland full of eggs for her fans.
I’m not spending too much time on these eggs. If you care about the eggs, you already know what and where they are because her fandom has already figured it all out. The most interesting reveal here, at least to me, is that there’s going to be a collaboration with the Dixie Chicks.
And … a possible collaboration with the NFL? Taylor’s interview with Robin Roberts last night aired during the NFL Draft leading many to speculate whether or not she’ll be the Super Bowl Halftime headliner in 2020. It’s one of the few “majors” she’s yet to achieve – because the halftime show is Pepsi and Taylor’s been aligned with Coca-Cola. It’s been a while though since Taylor’s done anything with Coke so if that deal has expired, yeah, of course the NFL would want her. She’s probably been at the top of their list for years. At this point, though, I wonder if they need her more than she needs them. To be able to say she’s done it? Sure. But what does that really mean anymore? The prestige of being the Super Bowl halftime headliner is not what it once was.
I’d love it if she said no. Or …maybe this: I’d love it if she said yes, and brought out the Dixie Chicks. The Dixie Chicks sang the American national anthem at the Super Bowl in 2003. About a month later, they criticised George W Bush. And you know what happened after, the backlash, the threats, the abuse. From probably many of the most hardcore fans of the Super Bowl. So, yeah, imagine if that’s the plan? If a couple of minutes through Taylor’s halftime show, she brings on Natalie, Martie, and Emily, similar to the way Beyoncé stood with them at the Country Music Awards and gave them the full support of the Beygency? I think I would sign up for that. You?
Attached - Taylor surprising fans in Nashville yesterday and leaving her apartment in New York the other day.