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Taylor Swift “Shake It Off”
Writer(s): Taylor Swift, Max Martin, Shellback (see lyrics here)
Released: 8/18/2014, First charted: 9/6/2014
Peak: 14 US, #14 AC, #18 AA, #58 CW, 3 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 4.00 US, 0.57 UK, 4.85 world (includes US and UK)
Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): 400.18
Review: In 2014, Taylor Swift made a conscious decision to embrace pop music completely and abandoned attempts to pigeon-hole her work into a country mold. The result was met with immediate approval in the pop world. Lead single “Shake It Off,” from 1989 – Swift’s fifth studio album – debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100. It was her second time atop the chart – the first being “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” the lead single from her previous album, 2012’s Red. The song also set up Swift for the biggest album debut in a decade with 1.29 million sales in its first week.
She wrote the song with Max Martin and Shellback, who also collaborated with Swift on “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.” SF It marked Martin’s 18th #1 as a songwriter, putting him only behind Paul McCartney (32) and John Lennon (26). SF The song is uptempo with a melody which Billboard magazine’s Jason Lipshutz compared to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop.” He called it a “surefire hit” which “proves why she belongs among pop’s queen bees.” WK A Music Times critic compared the song to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” while Shirley Halperin, from The Hollywood Reporter, described it as an uptempo version of Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” and called it “pop-tastic.” WK
Lyrically, the song is Swift’s message to her haters. She said, “People can say whatever they want…at any time, and we cannot control that…You can either let it get to you… [or] you just shake it off.” SF She told the BBC “it honestly doesn’t matter if someone else doesn’t want to understand you.” SF. The song found some detractors; Kevin Fallon of The Daily Beast said it was “a great pop song,” but “the least musically interesting song” of her career, noting that “this new direction…is woefully depressing.” WK
Mark Romanek, who was previous behind Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” and Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream,” directed the video. In it, Swift surrounded herself with what Music Times called “some of the world’s best dancers in the styles of hip hop, lyrical, ballet, jazz and even cheerleader” while Swift embraced “her inner dorky dancer.” WK The video received mixed reviews. Direct Lyrics called it a “fun one” but The Guardian’s Molly Fitzpatrick said the mix of different dance styles was “fun, but the conceit falls flat.” WK Jezebel called it a “cringe-worthy mess” WK while rapper Earl Sweatshirt criticized the video for playing on racial stereotypes. SF
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