Taylor Swift's latest album is called "1989" because that's the year she was born, and also because the record was influenced by '80s pop. Deep! Also, the first single is called "Shake It Off," because that's what she does with criticism. She just...shakes it off. Easy.
So today, in addition to revealing the album's title and cover art via Yahoo! livestream, Swift also debuted the Mark Romanek-directed music video for first single "Shake It Off," which is fun and cute and eye-catching and also very, very annoying. I'm sure it's going to be well-received (even the critics seems to like her), but I'm not buying it. Here are eight reasons why I find the new clip so aggravating:
1. This is basically a Gap ad.
Oh, come on. You tell me the difference.
2. Taylor's "goofiness" feels like pandering.
I thought Taylor was fine in the recent "Jimmy Kimmel" sketch where she put on braces and talked about apricots, but her constant "adorkable" pratfalls are getting tired. Not because she looks like a Barbie doll, but because her nerdiness feels like a put-on. Just be fierce and own your fierceness, Taylor. Stop trying to pretend like you're a regular person.
3. Oh boy, another empty empowerment anthem.
Know what we need less of? Pop songs that conform to the same banal sentiments as every other pop song. "Haters gonna hate"? Yes, they are - but just "shaking off" the verbal grenades of bullies isn't always possible. For an artist so often lauded for her "honesty," the lyrical content here is awfully trite.
4. She just had to dress up like a cheerleader.
First off: Madonna drove a stake through the heart of this coquettish pom-pom schtick in 2012. Secondly, how many tired stereotypes can we fit into one video? A ton, apparently. This is like a production of Ryan Murphy's wet dream.
5. She's basically just trying to sell you Keds.
Did you know that there are "no rules" in fashion?
6. She uses the term "sick beat."
Hearing Taylor Swift say those words is the equivalent of hearing your dad say them. It should never, ever have happened.
7. The T-Swift fans in the video are the human equivalent of Keds.
According to USA Today, the video features "a group of fans chosen from Instagram, Twitter, fan letters and other places." "Other places" like...a casting agency?
8. This doesn't feel like an evolution.
Taylor Swift will tell you that "1989" is "nothing like anything I had done" - an actual quote - but to me "Shake It Off" sounds not so much like a new direction but like the safest possible route to continued chart success. I have no doubt the album is going to connect with a lot of people, but the adherence to formula is uninspiring.
"1989" is slated for release on October 27.