Taylor Swift: the bad bitch, as she wanted you to believe on her last album Reputation, can’t come to the phone right now, because she’s dead. Taylor Swift has metamorphosed from a cold and callous woman who left snake emojis with her perfectly maincured nails on Instagram, into the girl who inundates the gals' group chat with unicorns, butterflies and rainbows; she is no longer the most popular girl in school, surrounded by her gaggle of supermodels (including Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid), because she is too busy revising for a Spelling Bee; we can conclude that Taylor Swift definitely - definitely! - has a Live, Laugh, Love sign somewhere in her house. So yes, following today’s comeback single ME!, we are happy to report that Taylor Swift is now back to being a basic bitch. And, believe us, when we say we are using the term very lovingly. Because we are here for it.
Yesterday evening, just before her latest saccharine offering was unleashed, a billboard confirming the single - and what bubblegum brilliance was about to come - was spotted in Leicester Square. It shrieked ‘ME!’ in candy colours, with Swift wearing unicorn earrings and a new light pink dip-dye on her blonde bob. Unicorns; the official animal of being a basic bitch! Dip-dye! It also confirmed that, yes, the single was going to feature Panic! At The Disco’s Brendon Urie, a man who is quite literally pop-rock sunshine, singing about high hopes and telling his mum that he’s finally made it. (He has a kind face, okay.)
Upbeat, catchy - the only way to describe ME! is that is sounds like it’s the finale in an episode of Glee, or a really quite terrible - but well-intentioned, with good morals - animated children’s film. The song itself is a happily-ever-after Disney princess/prince duet, a couple who will never fall out of love because they are just SO unique and appreciate each other that much. It is as sugary as a prosecco cocktail, with a miniature umbrella, on a girl’s night out - at a themed bar. The lyrics, which are by no means filled with wisdom, includes fun gems like ‘Hey, kids! Spelling is fun!’ and ‘you can't spell "awesome" without "me",’ which, if it isn’t already, is going to be printed on thousands of cards, with confetti packed in the envelopes. It’s like Shake It Off - but Taylor isn't in her ex-squad, slagging off the haters, rather offering a hug, because she has described the song as ‘embracing your individuality and really celebrating it and owning it.’
The music video is like the Greatest Showman - a popular, but basic film! - but dipped in candyfloss and glitter, making it somehow even more basic. It starts with the pair arguing in French, in front of Swift’s two cats (basic!), Olivia and Meredith. It gets sillier, with ensemble dances from there. And, oh my God - the outfits! A heart-motif babydoll dress; pastel suits a pink, tulle cascading maxi gown; Greatest Showman-esque outfits, but in pastel. If being cute, and not sexy, is basic, then yes, the outfits are also very basic.
I am willing to bet you money - on the spot, right now - that ‘You will never find another like MEEE-eeee-HEEE’ is going to be in your head for weeks. (If you’re not a fan of bombastic pop music, you’re in for a rough ride.) But the fact is, you will find another like Taylor Swift - because she is all of us, who are just a little bit basic at heart. When I scroll through Twitter, I see a lot of sneering and jibing at women who like prosecco, unicorns, mermaids or other typically mass-marketed and feminine associated things. We’re seen, sometimes, and especially by cool girls, as basic, unintelligent, vapid of personality - or, like a tweet I saw the other day, that 'we hate ourselves.' No consideration that maybe we like silly things! Having fun! And not taking ourselves too seriously! But we will not hide anymore. Turning her back on her ice-cold persona, Taylor Swift has seen the light - and, just like us, she is proud to be basic.