Virgin EMI (label)
03 November 2017 (released)
04 November 2017
Taylor Swift’s fourth Reputation single, ‘Call It What You Want’ finds her defiantly in love.
If you’re reading this, then you’ve almost certainly heard something of Swift’s tumultuous 2016. After all the drama, Swift opted to go silent, barely being seen by the public eye for months on end.
Now, Taylor is in love and doesn’t care what the naysayers think.
‘Call It What You Want’ sweetly chronicles the special relationship that pulled her through the tough times. Fans won’t have to work too hard to realise its current beau Joe Alwyn.
The chief line, “call it what you want to”, emphatically serves to put the court of public opinion on notice. Hiddleswift, may have once been brought low by public pronouncements, but the song proves, in more ways than one, that its author is going to do things her way this time. Critics be darned.
In past Reputation tracks the singer has looked to play up or caricature the various facets of her public image. While, ‘Call It What You Want’ continues in a similar vein it seeks to do things in a more earnest and grounded fashion.
Although, the 27-year-old is still keen to hold her enemies to account with some obvious lyrical jabs, her song is more about finding, love, strength, and support, in spite of the backlash. If her detractors are the metaphorical storm during choppy waters, then her man is the lighthouse.
Lyrics feel at their most autobiographically warm when hearing of swift, laughing with her lover, “making forts under covers”, and trusting “him like a brother”
In a moment of welcome candour, the singer admits:
“I know I make the same mistakes every time
Bridges burn, I never learn
At least I did one thing right.”
At its best the artist’s catalogued journeys through the rise or fall of a courtship with a sense of empathetic authenticity.
When Taylor went through heartbreak on the likes of ‘All Too Well’ and ‘The Moment I Knew’, the listener could hear the pain and relate. When hearing the couple’s story, in this latest offering it’s difficult not to find it sweetly endearing.
Although the wordsmith is not shy about apportioning blame for a shaky reputation, she is not going to be pigeonholed as a damsel in distress. In one of the most interesting lines the American tells her lover “you don't need to save me. But would you run away with me?"
It’s a sharp line that not only serves the romantic vibe, but also to remind the listener that despite it all, Taylor Swift is self-possessed and in control.
The only issue with this labour of love may arise depending on your perception of its originator. How a listener views the infamous West tape, for instance will perhaps determine how they receive the song.
If you take the tape as definitive proof of guilt, then you’ll likely find Swift’s explanations hollow. On the other hand, if you take the view, that there is more to the controversy than meets the eye, then you will find solace in the artist’s fiery contentment.
As Swift, sings of “liars”, “drama queens”, and “jokers”, people are bound to wonder just how complicit Taylor was in her own difficulties. The real-life rep has the potential to nag at the art, and its creator might just benefit from answering the court of public opinion directly, once and for all.