Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
The fact that Taylor Swift had her first UK no.1 with Look What You Made Me Do is a little sad for me, as a long-time fan. The song represents a disappointing lack of self-awareness (which once was one of her biggest strengths) and a self-indulgent prioritising of musical experimentation and media attention-seeking over quality songwriting. But on the bright side, the video made the song feel a bit more camp and lighthearted, and we now know we’ll be getting another electro-pop album from Taylor, which is an exciting prospect as 1989 was such a treat. I felt a wave of relief on hearing the new song …Ready For It?, which was released without warning this weekend. My Max Martin radar seems to be in good working order, as I loved this track even before I knew it was his work. Maybe I was tipped off by the Britney-esque ellipsis at the beginning of the title. …Ready For It? has a similar sound to Tove Lo, a member of Max’s production protégées Wolf Cousins, so I’d be interested to find out if she has any connection to the song (was she involved in production, a secret co-writer, or were parts of the song originally meant for her?). There’s also unexpected similarities to Taylor’s own secret co-write, This Is What You Came For by Calvin Harris and Rihanna. It turns out what I saw as a favour to her boyfriend of the time was more of an indicator of where Taylor was headed musically than I imagined. But the best thing about this song is that it affirms that Taylor can experiment without sacrificing her songwriting ability – thanks to Max keeping her on track. The “in the middle of the night” section could even be a sample from her country days. I’m not sure it quite matches the best tracks of 1989 but it certainly would have been a worthy inclusion on that album, and that puts it ahead of what most pop artists could ever achieve.