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Full disclosure: I am a dedicated Taylor Swift fan.
As fans may recall, Swift began her music career in 2006 and soon became known as an up-and-coming female country singer. Though her debut album, “Taylor Swift,” did not necessarily fit a pure genre, it appealed to country fans worldwide and was thus endorsed as country music.
Swift’s music has since transformed in a variety of ways. Has her most recent revamp been for the better, or for the dreadfully worse? Swift’s music has completely shifted from country to pop, sometimes recalling a more sophisticated Disney Channel song. Her new bubbly single “Shake It Off” is the latest exhibit of that evolution. (“Shake it Off” headlines the new album, “1989,” which is set to release at the end of October.)
The single, which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 last month, is dedicated to all the “players” and “heartbreakers” of the world. The video depicts Swift in a variety of dance scenarios — cheerleading, hip-hop and ballet — trying to keep up with the beat all the while.
Upon hearing of the video’s release, I dropped what I was doing and sprinted to the nearest computer. My feelings? Mesmerized, slightly confused and happy.
Some parts of the video, namely the twerking women with big bottoms, have caused quite a bit of controversy over the last few weeks. Rapper Earl Sweatshirt took to Twitter to vent:
haven’t watched the taylor swift video and I don’t need to watch it to tell you that it’s inherently offensive and ultimately harmful
— EARL (@earlxsweat) 19. August 2014
In what way is this mostly G-rated video offensive or harmful?
Twerking and other forms of dancing have entered the mainstream, and any cultural significance is almost certainly unintended. The video’s director, Mark Romanek, later commented on Earl’s claim, saying: “We simply choose styles of dance that we thought would be popular and amusing and cast the best dancers that were presented to us without much regard to race or ethnicity. It’s very, very innocently and positively intentioned.”
Many artists these days incorporate these forms of dancing in their music videos, and you don’t need to look any further than the title of the song to see that it isn’t something that needs to be infused with any significance that goes beyond surface level. If someone senses this may be “offensive” or “harmful,” I would recommend staying off the Internet completely.
Though Swift’s music may have a different sound to it these days, her legions of fans will embrace every new album and quirky single, whether it’s a chart-topper or a flop. Unfortunately for Mr. Sweatshirt, this one is a downright hit.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Audrëy Rodriguez at email@example.com.