Taylor Swift has fallen in and out of love many more times in her music than in real life. But “Gorgeous”, the third preview of her upcoming sixth studio album Reputation, is no “Love Story” — it’s a slapstick romantic comedy. For all the furor over “Look What You Made Me Do”, Swift has never taken herself less seriously. Rarely has she — or any songwriter — depicted infatuation as goofily as this.
The verses to “Gorgeous” are Swift at her pettiest. She meets a man and immediately negs him: “You should take it as a compliment/ That I got drunk and made fun of the way you talk.” She’s tempted to cheat: “I got a boyfriend, he’s older than us/ He’s in the club doing I don’t know what.” She’s even too melodramatic for her own song. Max Martin and Shellback’s gentle, rippling synths sound like thought bubbles — the soundtrack to Taylor meeting someone and immediately planning the rest of their lives together. “You’ve ruined my life by not being mine…” ding!
Swift’s luck is no better in the chorus. “I can’t say anything to your face/ ‘Cause look at your face!” For the first time ever, this songwriter’s so tongue-tied she can’t even think of a rhyme. “But what can I say?/ You’re gorgeous!”
The protagonist of this song is not a good person. She craves attention, she’s overly dramatic, never admits she’s wrong — and she blames everyone else for her own temptation. But isn’t that what infatuation does to all of us? Swift’s playing a character, someone raised on a lifetime of fairytales about true love — some of them maybe even sung by Taylor herself. “There’s nothing I hate more than what I can’t have”; it’s enough to drive you crazy.
Taylor Swift used to be a hopeless romantic. But growing up means learning that the world doesn’t revolve around you, even when you’re a household name. Being rejected in love isn’t the end — life goes on. So you laugh, pick yourself back up, and learn not to fall so hard next time. Or maybe you see another handsome face, and the cycle starts all over again. “Guess I’ll just stumble on home to my cats… alone,” she quips on the chorus. “Unless you wanna come along, oh!” It’s a pretty meaningful in-joke, coming from one of the world’s most famous cat ladies. At least Olivia and Meredith will always be there for her. Who needs men anyway?
For years, people have called Swift crazy in love, a maneater, someone who uses relationships as fodder for songs. But ever since “Blank Space”, she’s turned that on its head, mocking her image by blowing it up to comical proportions. With its oh-so-breathless delivery and obsession with always being right, “Gorgeous” could pass for a parody of a Taylor Swift song – in fact, the joke’s already gone over some people’s heads. But Swift’s never been wittier.
Who’s the real Taylor Swift: the all-powerful celebrity, or the flustered everygirl she plays on “Gorgeous”? Does it matter? She’ll let you laugh with her either way. Just don’t call it a “love song.”
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