Opinion & Review / Taylor Swift’s Me! Is Radio Pop at Its Worst

by Samantha Wolfe

© 2019 Dave Meyers & Taylor Swift

© 2019 Dave Meyers & Taylor Swift

I should be honest before we begin: I love Taylor Swift. Like, a lot. To the point that when I was 16 I somehow convinced my mom to let me get a tattoo that was yes, Taylor Swift lyrics. So take my word when I say this.

Me! is so disappointing.

When discussing Taylor with people that don’t know her entire discography by heart, usually what I tell them is yeah, she’s not the vocalist that Ariana Grande is. She’s not the dancer or visual artist or all around powerhouse that Beyoncé is. But she has like, really great lyrics. She wins awards for them! Speak Now is an album full of underrated classics that will convince you!

This song feels like it goes out of its way to make me out to be a liar.

Songs like Me! are the reason people think pop music is universally garbage. With an uninspired, flat backing track and lyrics that wouldn’t feel out of place if you put them on a graphic tee and sold it at JCPenney for $7.99. “You can’t spell awesome without me!” and “You’re the only one of you/Baby that’s the fun of you” are two lines that stick out, but only serve to remind you of the good old days of Taylor Swift, when it didn’t feel like she was trying to prove something with every song she released. If 2017’s Reputation was her way of rebelling against her “good girl” image, Me! is her way of ensuring that yeah, all that was just an act. The music video, which was released along with the song, even opens with the snake that plagued her entire marketing of her last album bursting into a flurry of butterflies. For those of us that were never really down with Reputation anyway, it’s a good sign, but sadly it’s all downhill from there.

Me! is like someone doing a lousy impersonation of Taylor Swift.

Throughout her career, Taylor has often used to most “radio friendly” track on her album as the lead single, starting with 2012’s Red. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” felt similar to Me! It was also somewhat dull and radio friendly, like an extremely dumbed down version of whatever made Taylor stick out in the first place. After the album’s release, which featured incredible tracks such as All Too Well and The Lucky One, it stood out only as the weakest song on the album. I can only hope that’s the case here.

The song also features Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, who is giving 110% as usual, but still can’t save the track. Though he sounds great and reminds us that he is one of the best vocalists in the game right now, in the end it’s just one song of many he lends his vocals to for a product that is forgettable, boring, and riskless. There’s something to be said about the fact that a song that yells in your face about being unique sounds identical to every bland, overproduced song out right now.

Me! will likely do great on the charts. It’ll probably be used in trailers for shitty animated movies, the kind that revolve around the same half-baked “love yourself” message that this song does. We probably won’t be able to escape this song for a few years. That was likely the intention of this song, which if so, she did a great job. But as a Taylor Swift fan, this makes me worried. While Taylor’s strengths have always lived in her deeper cuts, she’s never sunk this low before. Her upcoming 7th studio album, which at this point doesn’t have a name, will have to consist of something truly great to make up for whatever happened with Me! In the meantime, let’s just revisit Red again, shall we?

Rickie McCanna