On Monday, Aug. 18, Taylor Swift released her newest single, “Shake it Off,” the first single from her upcoming pop album. Yes, pop album. And, as far as I’ve observed, listeners either love it or hate it. There is no in-between. Those who love it praise the song’s pop elements, and those who hate it lament that Swift has changed from a wholesome country singer to a pop superstar, and that the pop superstar Swift has zero substance.
Personally, I fall into the “love it” category, much to the dismay of some of my closest friends. My roommate is probably about ready to kill me for the number of times I’ve played “Shake it Off” over the past few weeks, and I don’t even want to think about some of the comments I’ll hear from my friends and colleagues who are anti-Taylor Swift. But, just hear me out guys. Here are the top four reasons why I will continue to shamelessly love “Shake it Off,” no matter how much crap people give me for it:
1. It’s catchy. You can’t deny that much. Whether you like the song or hate it, chances are it’s stuck in your head all day after you hear it. You’ll find yourself humming it, or tapping your foot the beat – you can’t help yourself. It’s the number one song on Billboard Hot 100 for a reason. Whether you’re listening to it on your commute to work or at a Saturday night party, it’s still relevant – which is, in my opinion, the mark of an effective pop song. No matter the setting, it’s appropriate and undeniably easy to sing along to without even realizing it.
2. It’s fun (and easy!) to dance to. If the music video wasn’t indication enough for you, this song (like most pop songs) was made for dancing. Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” is second behind Swift’s “Shake it Off” on the Billboard Hot 100, and is certainly catchy too, but ask me to dance to it, and I’ll laugh. I am far from a gifted dancer (and I mean very, VERY far from a gifted dancer), but I feel comfortable dancing to Swift’s newest single because, let’s face it, it’s not very hard to do. Some “brush it off” hand gestures, a little jumping around, and throwing your hands up in the air every once in a while, and you’re good to go. It’s easy, simple and fun – much like the lyrics and music itself.
3. It has a positive message. I appreciate that Swift has made a departure from writing songs about the teardrops on her guitar or how she’s hopelessly in love with someone who will never love her back (so basically every single song on her first three albums). Instead, she’s writing a song with a positive, self-affirming message that I think all of us could get used to hearing more often – shake it off. It’s a message I think mid-twenties Swift probably wishes she could tell her teenage-self: not to waste so much energy on the haters and the players. Instead, just shake it off because, in the long run, they don’t matter much at all. All that matters is your own happiness, and you shouldn’t let the players or the haters get in the way of that (okay, I’ll admit, that’s a little bit of a cliched sentiment, but it’s nice to be reminded of every now and again).
4. It’s Taylor Swift. I’ve been a Taylor Swift fan since the age of fifteen, when I first saw her live, as the opening act for Brad Paisley and Kellie Pickler. She played maybe six songs in total, wearing a white sundress and cowboy boots, with a guitar slung around her shoulder, and her signature (at least at the time) curly hair out of control. I memorized all the lyrics to every song on her debut album, the only country album in my iTunes library at the time, and may or may not have cried listening to “Tim McGraw” (okay, I totally cried – I was fifteen, don’t hold it against me). My junior year of high school, I listened to Fearless on repeat. My freshman year of college, my roommate and I wallowed in self-pity together listening to “Dear John” (hey, freshman year can be tough) and played “Mean” on repeat when she and her boyfriend broke up. I have literally grown up with Taylor Swift, and while she was rising to pop stardom, I was rising to adulthood – there’s a certain loyalty I owe Swift, which is perhaps the biggest explanation for why I will continue to listen to her music guilt-free.
The haters are going to hate, the players are going to play, but me? You can find me squealing with excitement each time I hear the opening lines to “Shake It Off” come over the speakers, instantly singing and dancing along (unfortunately with even less grace than Taylor herself in her music video).
Photo via E! Online.