Every week, a slew of new music videos hits the web. Watching them at your desk is not time theft because you deserve it; think of it as a nice reward for surviving another work week. But what if you don’t have time to watch every video — maybe you have a deadline, a hungry pet, or other grown-up concerns. In consideration of your schedule, Lizzie and Kaitlyn bring you a series called One Video. Each week we’ll tell you “one video” you need to watch, why, and for how long.
This week’s video: “Look What You Made Me Do” (lyric video) by Taylor Swift
Lizzie: “Look What You Made Me Do” is Taylor Swift’s first new song since her December 2016 submission to the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack. Its release was preceded by a social media blackout and an album cover that looks like a first attempt at graphic design. But the song is a big deal, because not only is it the first single from Swift’s new album, it’s also a song about Kanye West (probably, at least a little).
Kaitlyn: Here is why we picked it: what else were we supposed to do? The whole web is chattering about this nutso song, which is equal parts “I’m Too Sexy” and Gossip Girl soundtrack, with a little bit of The Ring-inspired spoken word. The lyric video — which already has nearly 5 million views — looks like someone tried very hard to make an animated Hitchcock poster but accidentally made something that looks more like an abandoned Scooby-Doo episode in which the gang finds out that Daphne is secretly huffing chloroform and murdering journalists. Or, to be a little more charitable, it looks like Taylor Swift finally watched the 2014 vampire movie A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and felt that it really spoke to her experience. Me too, Taylor! Don’t murder me during your great media purge of 2017.
Who is Taylor Swift?
Kaitlyn: Taylor Swift is a self-proclaimed snake and a gifted songwriter with a specific skill set that she has apparently abandoned in favor of threatening Kanye West and the media with extremely mild threats that betray her total ignorance of what it is like to spend a day on the internet as either of those parties.
Also, Taylor Swift is a comedy genius. Imagine if Lizzie changed her voicemail message to “Ol’ Lizzie can’t come to the phone right now. Why? ‘Cuz she’s dead!” Her mom would have a fit!
Lizzie: My mom would actually probably say, “Sweetie, why is that your voicemail?”
It feels almost impossible to describe Taylor Swift, because she does it so well herself, even though she often ends up looking the exact opposite of the way she originally intended. For example, this song, which references an ongoing tension with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian over a lyric in Kanye’s song “Famous,” features the line “But I got smarter, I got harder, in the nick of time.” In actuality, Taylor is still pouting over perceived bullying that literally happened over a year ago. And I know she has an FDA-approved artistic license, but she also refers to this event as a “crime.” Hoo-boy Taylor, just go for a jog or something!
What’s special about “Look What You Made Me Do” (lyric video) by Taylor Swift:
Kaitlyn: Well, as you know as a longtime reader of the recurring column “One Video,” the rise of lyric videos is a phenomenon Lizzie and I have have been dedicating just one eyeball each to for some time. They’re clearly a gimmick to boost streams of a new song before the official video comes out, but more often than not they seem inadvisable. The Chainsmokers have released one for almost every single one of their songs, which is kind of like if every pack of hot dogs you bought came with a behind-the-scenes video of them being made. You’re just drawing attention to the grossest part of the whole operation. This is one of the more lyrically embarrassing songs of Taylor Swift’s career, and animating the words makes that even harder to ignore. It’s special, I suppose, that she is proving one of our points for us.
But forgive me for saying so, I think the most special thing about “Look What You Made Me Do” is the late-night Twitter joke parade and the friends we made along the way.
Lizzie: The most special part of this video, and the promo leading up to it, is how unbalanced it feels in the context of anything else but Taylor Swift’s universe. Taylor always does this thing where she’s like “Everyone calls me crazy, but I’m just being ME” and then she’s like “What if we do a video where I fingerpaint my enemies’ social security numbers in blood in my mansion bathroom?” and everyone’s like “What enemies?” and she’s like “The ENEMIES” and everyone’s like “Good point.”
How long everyone should watch “Look What You Made Me Do” (lyric video) by Taylor Swift:
Lizzie: I think if you watch through to the first chorus, at around 1:10, you’ll get a good sense of what you’re in for. Depending on the type of person you are, that sense might take you deeper into the video, or it might make you think, “Got it,” and then peacefully go about the rest of your day. Congrats if it’s the latter.
Kaitlyn: In my opinion you must watch the voicemail portion of the video, which is from 2:49 to 2:59. It’s already a meme and you don’t want to be left out. And then maybe just watch an old “One Video” selection instead, such as “Quit” by Cashmere Cat featuring Ariana Grande, which is the rare example of a good lyric video. This is why we write the column every week — on bad weeks you can just go back and revisit a better week.