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Taylor Swift, the woman known for writing songs about her lovers as a form of coping, has recently hit a record for having the most tour sales of the year for her 2018 Reputation Tour. She is an incredible artist with an incredible fanbase that continues to grow every day.
Brendon Urie, of Panic! At The Disco, has reached all types of fame and has so many collaborations with various genres' artists under his belt. He is also one third of what some people call the “Emo Trinity," which consists of Panic! At The Disco, My Chemical Romance, and Fall Out Boy, all iconic names in the “emo” scene.
As you probably already knew, theses are two very different artists, both in their lyrical content and the way they present themselves as musicians. That, among so many other factors, is a great reason to collab on a track! I personally thought that this song was going to be the new genre-bending banger. However, I was left rather disappointed when the clock struck midnight and the video premiered live on Taylor Swift’s YouTube account.
The first thing I noticed and would like to say is that the music video itself is beautifully put together and has so many little references and Easter eggs. I truly love it, so props to Taylor Swift and Dave Meyers, who are credited in the opening scene as directors, and to the editors and all others who helped it all come together so nicely.
Now, we get into the not-so-nice parts. The first thing I want to mention is that the song itself, although Swift did say it was a lighthearted way to start her new era, is just lyrically unoriginal and dull. Much of the lyrics are either wildly repetitive or just phrases you would hate to find on an otherwise cute Forever 21 shirt. For example, there is probably a cute olive green shirt in a Forever 21 right now with “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team’!” or, “You’ll never find another one like me!” on the back of it. I can also guarantee that her main merchandise phrase, “You can’t spell ‘awesome’ without ‘me’!” is on a million old children’s t-shirts from the early 2000s. In fact, if I remember correctly, I owned a shirt that said that exact phrase in second grade. That was over ten years ago.
Also, let us not forget about the very random “Hey, Kids! / Spelling is fun!” that starts the bridge of the song. Even if it is an Easter egg for her fans, that alone stood out so strongly and made me physically cringe, because it just made the whole song feel like a joke or a kids show tune.
On top of that, the whole song, even if Brendon Urie does have a songwriting credit for it, sounds like Taylor wrote it. That would be completely fine if they were in similar writing eras, or even had similar lyrical styles. I feel that the lyrics really take away from Brendon’s uniqueness and feel a little forced, in a way. This completely defeats the purpose of a collaboration! In my opinion, a collaboration is meant to showcase the beauty created when two or more different artists bring their own thing that makes them unique to the table. Having a song that feels like Brendon had nothing to do with, really makes it feel like just another song. It draws your attention away from the feature and the accompanying artist.
Lastly, as everyone knows, these two are vocal powerhouses, but I think this song kind of feels like they’re trying to conform to each others vocals. Some of Brendon’s notes fell flat when they were mashed with Taylor’s in their shared verses and vice versa. The two voices are so powerful, and are meant to be the center of attention, which led to the vocals combatting for main stage. This is something all artists try to avoid when working on a collab, but Taylor and Brendon don't seem to care.
Despite all of the negative of the song, it has reached 56 million views on YouTube in 24 hours, so, again, kudos to Taylor, Brendon, and their teams for making this song and video, and always remember that you can't please everyone!