Robin Blassberg A&E Editor
On April 26, Taylor Swift released her lead single, “Me!” from her upcoming seventh studio album featuring Brendon Urie.
The song was highly anticipated by fans due to Swift’s promotion. Her website featured a countdown to April 26, on April 13, leaving fans speculating new music was on the horizon. A mural of a butterfly was painted by Kelsey Montague, a street artist, which various news outlets reported had connections to new music from Swift. On April 25, crowds of her adoring fans gathered as Montague emblazoned the word, “Me!” atop, where Swift appeared and revealed that the butterfly was a part of the countdown. In an interview with Robin Roberts, she confirmed the name of the single, as well as the fact Urie, lead singer of Panic! At the Disco, is featured on it.
“Me!” is highly juxtaposed to the style of Swift’s last album, “Reputation,” a edgier and darker side of the country pop singer. It is bubblegum pop, with an upbeat sound, repetitive lyrics, and clearly marketed towards kids and pre-teens. Whereas “Look What You Made Me Do” of 2017 took on a vengeful and tense tone, this song is enveloped in bright and happy self-empowerment, but not to the fullest or deepest extent, due to the child-like nature of the lyrics.
Swift begins the song by admitting her faults in a relationship, as well as the prevalence of “cool chicks out there.” She reminds the subject of her song, “I know that I’m a handful baby/I know I never think before I jump,” but goes on to assure him “Baby doll, when it comes to a lover/I promise that you’ll never find another like me.” In the chorus that follows, it is clear Swift is confident in herself and the uniqueness she brings to the table, but it is veiled in weak lyrics that are not typical of her. She reveals to the listener, “I’m the only one of me/Baby that’s the fun in me,” then goes on to fluff the song with dragged out “eh-eh-eh”’s and “ooh-ooh-ooh”’s.
During her interview, Swift shared that the song is “about embracing your individuality, and really celebrating it, and owning it. With a pop song “we have the ability to get a melody stuck in people’s heads and I just want it to be one that makes them feel better about themselves.” While this is true, with the childlike diction of the lyrics, this statement almost feels dishonest, and that the song only promotes self-love at the surface level. Before Urie’s verse, Swift interjects with, “Hey kids, spelling is fun!” which pierces the listener’s ears with confusion on its place in the song. Urie and Swift then go on to teach the listener, “Girl there ain’t no ‘I’ in team/But you know there is a ‘me’.”
Listeners can agree it is important for an artist to grow, evolve, and change their sound, it can also be noted this does not mean lyrics have to suffer. We have seen her stronger and thought-provoking lyrics in past eras, which hopefully hints to a stronger album to come.