With the voice of a baby, Taylor Swift’s third single from her upcoming album Reputation, “Gorgeous,” entered our eardrums at midnight on Thursday. It’s been a strange album rollout so far, defined by Right Said Fred samples and deals with UPS, and “Gorgeous” continues down that road. After listening one time and one time only, the Ringer staff answered a few questions about the latest single.
1. What is your tweet-length review of “Gorgeous”?
Donnie Kwak: One of those new songs that sounds instantly old.
Andrew Gruttadaro: I stand by this:
only way i'll respect Taylor Swift's "Gorgeous" is if it's a direct cover of Kanye West's "Gorgeous"— Andrew Gruttadaro (@andrewgrutt) October 19, 2017
Miles Surrey: LOL.
Kate Knibbs: [poop emoji] x 140.
Justin Charity: Each new Reputation single has me retrospectively wondering whether Taylor Swift has ever made a good song, or any songs; whether she even exists.
Richard Wolff: Taylor, you should take it as a compliment / that I think you’re better than this. Or might have been at some point. I think.
Alyssa Bereznak: I used to think falling in love with Taylor Swift was analogous to joining Scientology. But now I realize it’s probably more like getting really into CrossFit.
2. Which of the song’s lyrics stand out to you?
Knibbs: “I feel like I might sink and drown and die.”
Kwak: “I can't say anything to your face / ’cause look at your face”—because the silly repetition reminds me of Ma$e rapping: “I can't be mad ’cause you look at me / ’cause on the real, look at me.” Harlem definitely won that one.
Surrey: “Guess I'll just stumble on home to my cats, alone.” I find that quite relatable.
Charity: “Guess I'll just stumble on home to my cats” is the most deceptive bit of personification that an advanced artificial intelligence program designed to produce and perform pop music has ever pronounced.
Bereznak: “You make me so happy it turns back to sad, yeah / There’s nothing I hate more than what I can’t have / Guess I’ll just stumble on home to my cats.”
I don’t doubt that Swift loves her two Scottish folds very much. (I love my cat, too.) But as a world-famous pop star, she also used them to perpetuate a certain relatable, social-media-friendly image of herself. She’s been photographed walking around New York City with a new kitten on her arm. One of them starred in an ad campaign for Keds. Another recently appeared in an AT&T commercial. At a certain point, integrating your cats into every part of your public image becomes gimmicky self-parody. And that point was reached when she referenced them in a song about a crush.
Gruttadaro: The second time she says, “Look at your face,” it doesn’t feel like a compliment. It feels more like, “Look at your face—there’s barbecue sauce all over it.”
3. Taylor’s first single sounded like Right Said Fred, and her second like Kanye West—what does “Gorgeous” remind you of?
Surrey: “Gorgeous” sounds like the final phase of Rebecca Black’s career trajectory. Not great.
Gruttadaro: I’m getting “Super Bass” vibes?
Charity: “Gorgeous” reminds me that I need to delete Twitter from my phone and also log out of Twitter on my desktop.
Knibbs: Kidz Bop.
Bereznak: The bass line for “Gorgeous” reminds me of Blondie's “Heart of Glass,” but more boring.
Kwak: Hmm, instead of another artist, I'll go with a food comparison: plain celery stalks.
4. Rank Taylor’s three new singles.
Surrey: Before I rank these songs, remember that one of them has to be no. 1.
- “... Ready for It?”
- “Look What You Made Me Do”
Knibbs: 1. "Look What You Made Me Do"*
2. "… Ready for It?"
*This is the only list I'll ever make in which "Look What You Made Me Do" will triumph.
Gruttadaro: Can’t believe I’m saying this but: “Look What You Made Me Do” first, “Gorgeous” second, and then “… Ready for It?”
Wolff: I would prefer not to, but: “… Ready for It?,” “Look What You Made Me Do,” then “Gorgeous.”
Bereznak: I don’t like any of them, but if we’re taking least annoying to most annoying:
- The parts of “… Ready for It?” that don’t include Taylor rapping
- “Look What You Made Me Do”
- The parts of “… Ready for It?” that include Taylor rapping
Kwak: Like Cleveland Brown quarterbacks, they're getting progressively worse.