Cheers to the New Taylor Swift


Vanessa Obioha

Call her new iteration an imitation of Beyonce’s sassiness or not, one thing is very clear: The old Taylor Swift is dead. At least, that was the message the 27 year-old artiste ostentatiously conveyed in her new video ‘Look What You Made Me Do’. The video broke three records in its first week of release. The song which was released on August 24 with an accompanying lyric video received 19 million views in its first day. The following day it garnered 8 million streams in Spotify and on Sunday night when it was released during the VMAs, it was viewed almost 30 million times in 24 hours. Adele was previously holding this title with her video ‘Hello’ which achieved 27.7 million views.

Arguably, in more ways than one, Swift can be said to have taken more than a clue from the Sasha Fierce Queen. One which is visibly clear and has drawn criticisms is the striking semblance to Beyonce’s ‘Formation’ video. The visuals were very similar to Beyonce’s.

But beyond that, Swift certainly took more than that from the queen. Her timing for the release of her video during the VMAs is nothing short of what Beyonce did last year at the Super Bowl. The singer chose to perform the Formation song at the event and followed it up with the release of her video. This strategy is what Swift adopted when she decided to release the video of her song during the VMA, an event that she ostensibly was absent from. Her actions too reeked of a hidden motive that goes beyond the spotlight.

It is no news that there is no sisterly love between Swift and Katy Perry. Swift has deftly continued to push Perry to the background each time the latter seemed to hit the spotlight. Take for instance, Swift’s decision to release her full music catalogue on all streaming platforms at the same time Perry released her new album Witness. At the time, Swift’s excuse for her action was that she wanted to celebrate the historic landmark of her 1989 album hitting the 100 million sales mark of RIAA.

Now on a night where Perry was hosting the VMAs, Swift decided to release her video, once again, taking the shine from Perry. Could there be some truth in Kim Kardashian’s public perception of the singer as a snake? Well, Swift didn’t forget that part in her video. She publicly showed that she had accepted the name with her throne of snakes but not without sending a stronger message to Kim’s husband Kanye West. Kanye who in more than one occasion has never ceased a moment to deride the artiste. From his ‘Famous’ video to his Pablo concert. Swift’s response was to showcase all the characters she has assumed in the past and to pronounce to Kanye that the old Swift is dead. She is no longer cowered by his daunting insolence.

Irrespective of what the critics are saying, the truth is that Swift’s strategy has worked well for her. She has broken records and more important, the spotlight is still on her. If there is anything she has promised her fans, it will be that she is a bolder and fiercer artiste. So, cheers to the new Taylor Swift.