Taylor Swift‘s back.
You probably already knew that because, in true Taylor Swift fashion, she made sure you knew it with a seemingly endless scavenger hunt of sparkly, pastel-hued clues across her Instagram – and even sprinkled hints in her own speeches and editorial features over the past few months. (I’m still slightly shook by her subtly shouting out her own April 26 countdown in a “30 Things I Learned Before 30” piece.) While it might be annoying to some, I can’t help but appreciate the Cloverfield-esque webs that T. Swift weaves for her loyal Swifties, and everyone else following along for the ride.
“ME!” is The Comeback Song of this bright new era, produced by Joel Little, out on Friday (April 26).
If the story of 1989 was “country star-goes-pop,” and reputation was about reclaiming her own narrative in the media and doubling down on being branded a snake (in retrospect, I do wonder how years of exceedingly vicious online hatred didn’t entirely destroy her), the story of “ME!” seems to be…fun for the whole family.
To illustrate that point, the opening of the “ME!” music video sees a reputation era snake slithering into view, poised to attack before exploding into an array of colorful butterflies. And just like that, we enter the candy-coated, kid-friendly world of the “ME!” era.
“ME!” is incredibly cutesy and bree-hee-heezy and, true to early first listen reports, sorta-kinda resembles Emeli Sande‘s “Next To Me.” And maybe a Pink self-empowerment anthem? Maybe something off of the Trolls soundtrack? It’s definitely a song suited for a children’s movie, that’s for sure.
“‘ME!’ is a song about embracing your individuality and really celebrating it, and owning it. I think that with a pop song, we have the ability to get a melody stuck in people’s heads, and I want it to be one that makes them feel better about themselves,” she explained in an interview with Robin Roberts.
You can sense how much remarkably lighter (and sillier) Taylor’s feeling these days, three years after being chased off social media with snake emojis and alt-right icon accusations, now serving happy-go-lucky Singin’ In The Rain-slash-Mary Poppins-slash-Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory-slash-Hairspray vibes in a land of fluffy clouds, framed photos of chicks (and the Dixie Chicks, get it?), earworm-y hooks and goofy lyrics aplenty. (“Spelling is fun!“)
I mean…the songcraft. “I’m the only one of me. Baby, that’s the fun of me…you can’t spell ‘awesome’ without ‘me.’” Bruce Springsteen is shaking. Carole King is over.
Their faux-mance is sugary-sweet, too – very different compared to the hot-and-heavy, toe-licking horniness of Madgeluma in “Medelliín” we just saw one day before. Brendon provides buckets o’ charm like the sweet, sweet prince that he is, and effortlessly holds his own with his crooning.
Is this kitten, unicorn and rainbow-filled world for ME(!)? God, no. Not at all. This is not my cup of te-hee-hea. But I’m happy she’s happy, and she’ll surely bring some needed joy and a boost of self-confidence to a bunch of kiddos (and grown-ups), too.
Photo Credit: TAS Rights Management