Look What You Made Me Do
September 14, 2017
Todd sits at his computer
Todd: Oh, XKCD, I love your science jokes I don't understand at all. (suddenly, he is startled by the sound of an alarm going off) Ah! What the hell? Is the house on fire?
(Then he looks closely at his computer and sees a system alert message: "TODD EMERGENCY - THIS IS A TODD IN THE SHADOWS EMERGENCY")
Todd: Oh, it's the Todd alarm. What set that off? (he looks at the cause; it's an article from People Music on Taylor Swift's song "Look What You Made Me Do") Oh, Taylor Swift finally dropped her next single. It's not that important. I'll get to it in four months, like I always do. It can wait. Eh, what the hell? I can take a listen at least. (puts on headphones over hoodie) Not worth taking my hoodie off, though.
(Cut to 44 seconds later...)
Todd: This can't wait.
(Todd sits down at the piano and plays...)
LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO - TAYLOR SWIFT
A pop song review Todd: Um.
Video for "Look What You Made Me Do"
Taylor Swift: Oh! Look what you made me do. Look what you made me do. Look what you just made me do, look what you just made me... Oh!
Todd: Okay, Taylor Swift wants us to look what we made her do.
Taylor: The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama.
Todd: She wants us to know that it's our fault that she's doing this. I think she wants us to be sorry. And I am. I feel very, very bad I made her do this. And now that we've adequately assigned blame for who made her do what she's doing, what the hell is she doing?!
Taylor: I... Don't... Like...
Todd: (v.o) Yeah, I kind of had to drop everything to cover this. Honestly, I think I already took too much time getting to it. It's, it's already been picked pretty clean, like people noticed within seconds that it uses the melody from "I'm Too Sexy" of all things.
Taylor: Oh! Look what you made me do. Look what you made me...
Clip of "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred
Richard Fairbrass: Shirt. Too sexy for my shirt. So sexy it hurts.
Todd: (v.o.) Quite honestly, that's the least interesting thing about this song to me. I wish it had sampled more of "I'm Too Sexy." That song's fun.
Taylor: I... don't... like your kingdom keys...
Todd: (v.o.) If we're gonna understand what led us to this... nuclear meltdown, we have to understand all the bad decisions that led us here. So let us go back eight years to the night Kanye West made that bitch famous.
Clip of the 2009 Video Music Awards, when Kanye infamously interrupted Taylor, set to "Famous"
Kanye West: Why, I made that bitch famous... (Goddamn)
Todd: (v.o.) Taylor Swift was already famous of course, but there's a kind of truth to Kanye's claim regardless. Todd: Taylor Swift, the songwriter was famous. Taylor Swift, the public personality was born that night.
Kanye: Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. [Much of the crowd boos Kanye, and he just shrugs.]
Todd: (v.o.) The image of the poor little teenage girl whose moment of happiness was stolen from her by one unstable, blithering idiot [Clip of Taylor doing an acoustic performance for MTV] was burned into our collective consciousness so deeply that [Headlines about Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter responding to Kanye's interruption] two presidents felt the need to comment on it. Now both Taylor and Kanye would go on to remain hugely successful and [Pic of Taylor and Kanye as friends] they even made up for a brief period. But while Kanye's image would never really lose the stain of that incident, Taylor's image of straightforward innocence and honesty began slowly curdling with [Clip of "Blank Space"] break-up after break-up, ["Bad Blood"] feud after feud, ["We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"] bitchy song after bitchy song, and ["I Knew You Were Trouble"] a sudden departure from country music towards bright, flashy pop music, a lot of it pretty bad. Todd: But then Kanye did this.
Video for "Famous"
Kanye: Me and Taylor might still have sex. Why, I made that bitch famous. (Goddamn)
Todd: (v.o.) Even for stupid loudmouth Kanye, this was over the line for many people. There was outrage, [Headlines of Taylor denouncing the Kanye's lyrics] and Taylor was quick to confirm that she too was outraged by it and had denied Kanye when asked for her approval, and later that week she burned him publicly at the Grammys.
Clip of Taylor's acceptance speech at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
Taylor: There are going to be people along the way who... will try to take credit for your fame. You will know that it was you, and the people who love you, who put you there.
Todd: (v.o.) And for a brief second, everything was back to the way it was. Taylor, the wronged innocent, Kanye, the braying jackass. It must have felt like old times for Taylor. Todd: But then...
Footage posted to Kim Kardashian's Snapchat of a little conversation between Kanye and Taylor...
Kanye: I don't want to do rap that makes people feel bad.
Taylor: Ummm, yeah. I mean go with whatever line you think is better. It's obviously very tongue-in-cheek either way.
Todd: (v.o.) Kanye's wife Kim Kardashian dropped this little bomb of Taylor actually approving Kanye's lyrics a short time later. Taylor tried to explain her version of events, but the damage was done. [Picture of...] Taylor Swift's image as innocent victim was as destroyed as [Pictures of...] Joe Paterno, saintly father figure, and Bill Cosby, moral voice of black America. Todd: Now, do you care about any of that?
Clip from TMZ covering Taylor's debacle with Kim and Kanye
Todd: (v.o.) I personally, do not! I don't read goddamn TMZ! I don't even want to know about this. I don't goddamn care. Todd: But Taylor Swift does, which is why I had to say all of that. You need to know every last bit of that to make any goddamn sense of this musical Hindenburg. This song is Taylor Swift reacting to all this bad press by leaning into her mean girl image.
Taylor: I'm sorry, the old Taylor can't come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, 'cause she's dead! Oh!
Todd: (v.o.) That's right. The old Taylor is dead. The new Taylor Swift is a vengeful killer on a roaring rampage of revenge, and she will exact her vengeance by making unlistenable music.
Taylor: Oh! Look what you made me do. Look what you made me do.
Todd: (v.o.) First thing that needs to be dealt with — This sounds like the Black Eyed Peas.
Video for "The Time (Dirty Bit)"
will.i.am: Dirty bit…
Todd: (v.o.) And, and not one of the middling ones, either. One of the really bad ones.
Taylor: Oh! Look what you made me do.
Video for "My Humps"
Fergie: My hump, my hump, my hump! My hump, my hump, my hump.
Taylor: The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama.
Fergie: No, no drama. No, no. No, no drama, sorta...
Todd: (v.o.) Now to be clear, this would’ve been a bad idea at any time. But in 2017? Music hasn’t sounded like this this decade. Todd: Maybe if she released it back in 2009, [Clip of "Can't Be Tamed" by Miley Cyrus] this would make sense. She’d be another Ke$ha or Miley. But it’s 2017! This is what Kesha sounds like now.
Video for "Praying"
Kesha: No more monsters, I can breathe again.
Todd: This is what Miley sounds like now.
Video for "Younger Now"
Miley: Feels like I just woke up…
Todd: That era of music is over! [Clip of "Boom Boom Pow"] It’s done! We tried it, it didn’t work, we’re moving on!
Clip of "Imma Be"
Todd: (v.o.) And the important thing is that, not only was the will.i.am sound annoying and vapid, it was musically incoherent. He’d just throw random sounds together that wouldn’t fit at all! Todd: And Taylor’s somehow even worse at that.
Taylor: I don’t trust nobody, and nobody trusts me…
Todd: (v.o.) The song’s really starting to build up a head of steam.
Taylor: Sorry, the old Taylor can’t make it to the phone right now…
Todd: She’s dropped the bomb about how the Old Taylor, is DEAD! [Lightning cracks] MWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA…
Smash cut to Todd dancing limply, with no sound behind him
Todd: [flatly] Look what you made me do… Look what you made me do…
Taylor: Look what you made me do. Look what you made me do.
Todd: (v.o.) If Michael Jackson had written music like this, this is how "Thriller" would’ve sounded.
Video for "Thriller"
Vincent Price: For no mere mortal can resist… the evil of… the Thriller! [A kazoo cover of the Star Wars Cantina Band plays over zombie Michael dancing]
Todd: To be fair, I suppose Taylor was always kind of out of step with the times.
Video for "Love Story"
Todd: (v.o.) Back when the Black Eyed Peas were huge, Taylor was corny and wholesome. But, that was different. Drawing on the traditions of country music is classic and timeless. [Clip from "Just Can't Get Enough" by the Black Eyed Peas] Drawing on will.i.am electro-clash is dated and unlistenable. Trying to drag us back to the will.i.am era of music is inexcusable.
Todd: And the scary part is, she has enough clout as a trendsetter that she could actually do it! She could actually take us back to 2009! Hell to the no! Hell to the to to the the to the no! I am not going back there, man! I can’t go back! I can’t go back!
Todd: (v.o.) But the sound is not the only problem. It might not even be the main problem. Let’s talk about “New Taylor”.
Taylor: Look what you made me do. Look what you made me do.
Todd: (v.o.) “Look what you made me do” is what wife-beaters say to their victims. So, she knows she’s the bad guy now. It’s deliberate, she’s being evil on purpose. I… I don’t know if she is in real life or not. Maybe it is all a smear-job like she says, or maybe it's all true. But… Todd: Even if in real life she is the bad guy, that doesn’t mean she can play the bad guy.
Taylor: But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time.
Todd: (v.o.) On what evidence?! What about this is “smarter” and “harder”? It sounds a lot dumber!
Taylor: I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red underlined. I check it once, then I check it twice. Oh!
Todd: (v.o.) And then I humiliate myself. Todd: Now, Taylor Swift has written plenty of angry songs in the past. She’s famous for it. [Clip of "Bad Blood"] But, she also always approached it from the moral high ground. ["Mean"] They were always about how hurt she was by your insults, ["We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"] or your snobby, douchebag taste in music, or whatever. Take that away from her, she doesn’t seem to know what she’s doing. I mean look at this. “Oh, I’m bad now!” Look, this is all I see.
Clips of South Park play, showing Butters under the shadow of a rain storm
Taylor: I'm sorry, the Old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. [Butters appears as Professor Chaos] ‘Cause she’s dead. [Professor Chaos trying to flood the world, by leaving a garden hose running] Oh! Look what you made me do. Look what you made me do.
Taylor: I don’t trust nobody, and nobody trusts me.
Todd: (v.o.) Like, Taylor has to write this song about herself, because she can’t make it about Kim, because she has absolutely no ammo.
Taylor: The role you made me play. Of the fool…
Todd: (v.o.) I think she’s trying to insinuate that Kim lied, or did something. But all I hear is. “You did a thing. A real bad thing. Some kind of thing. I’m not going to explain. But trust me, it was bad. So I decided to turn evil.” Todd: But here’s the thing, she didn’t decide to turn evil. She’s not changing her image, her image got changed for her. She blundered into it. [Picture of Walter White, before and after his development] This isn’t an antihero transformation, it’s just a last-ditch attempt at spin from a woman who has badly lost control of the narrative. [Panels from "Calvin and Hobbes", where Calvin throws a giant snowball on top of himself while trying to launch it] It’s like watching someone wipeout, face-first and then announce, [Panel of Calvin telling Hobbes...] “Well, I meant to do that. By laughing at my faceplanting, you fell right into my trap!” Please. Here, I came up with a new intro for the song.
The music video starting up
Todd: (v.o.) “Ladies and gentlemen. Miss Taylor Swift, in an act, of desperation.”
Todd: Hell, it’s not even a particularly shocking change. “Oh, it's the New Taylor. The Old Taylor is dead!” I wasn’t even really surprised by this song. It’s not like it came out of nowhere. Just look at her last album. [Clips of...] “Shake It Off” already showed that she was thin-skinned. “Blank Space” showed that she was able to play into her own negative image. And “Bad Blood” showed that she was willing to make music that sounded like dog shit. So, what’s new here?
Todd: (v.o.) “I’m sorry, the Old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, because she’s…”
Todd: Made an entirely logical progression into her current incarnation.
Todd: (v.o.) And judging by all the things she’s said so far, this song is not even about Kim or Kanye. It’s about the way she’s treated by the media in general, [At the end of the video, we see the various Taylors both for the video and done as callbacks, all in line for a curtain call] and all the versions of Taylor that they’ve made up.
Todd: Which is, quite probably the least interesting direction she could’ve taken this. Look, I’m not against Taylor Swift as a person.
Footage of Taylor's Instagram, showing off her friends
Todd: (v.o.) I think she probably does get too much stink. Even now, there are rumors spreading like, [Headline reporting...] “Oh, she’s deliberately dropping her album on the anniversary of Kanye’s mom’s death.” [sighs] It’s such a stretch, but people want her to be that evil. And, I just feel the same way like, [Headline of...] when I see made-up stories about Donald Trump. Like… [News report about the Access Hollywood recording] were the things we actually know somehow not bad enough? We have to make up shit now? Come on!
Todd: So yeah, I kind of might be on her side on this one. But, that doesn’t mean I want her to sing about it.
Todd: (v.o.) At some point, your image has to be about something besides itself. This exact problem caused career low points for [clips of “Applause” by…] Lady Gaga, and for [“Just Lose It” by…] Eminem, and even for [“Leave Me Alone” by…] Michael Jackson. I mean, it’s okay that Taylor Swift isn’t the pop singer for the everygirl anymore, but she has to find a way to get out of her own ass!
Taylor: I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams.
Todd: (v.o.) Ooh! Is this the real Taylor, or the Taylor made up by the media? It’s one of the many personas she has played over the years. It’s an act, she’s an actress… Todd: One, no she’s not.
Clip of Valentine's Day
Felicia: (Taylor Swift) He’s like, “Look outside your door.”
Julia Fitzpatrick: (Jennifer Garner) Oh…
Felicia: And, but you know… I look outside my door… and my boyfriend’s nowhere to be found.
Todd: Two, who cares?
Todd: (v.o.) This whole thing has the stink of a TV show that’s been on too long. Full of in-jokes and meta-references, and the plot doesn’t make any goddamn sense anymore.
Todd: Bottom line, this isn’t an act of revenge against her enemies. It’s an act of charity.
Clip of "Extra", interviewing Kim and Kanye
Todd: (v.o.) Somewhere, Kim and Kanye, in between trying to put out the fire of whatever jackass thing Kanye has done now, are laughing their asses off. [Live performance of "Bon Appetit"] And Katy Perry, who seems to shrink and get lamer with every single, [Video for "Swish Swish"] and who released her own Taylor diss track that Taylor probably didn’t even notice, can at least take comfort in the fact that at least she didn’t release this. Todd: But of course, I’m only saying that because [The intro to the song starts up] that’s what the Todd in the Shadows persona I’ve put on would say! Is it real or not real? Who’s the actual Todd when he comes out of the shadows? Does he really hate this song, or is it just an act—
Smash cut, and the song has stopped abruptly
Todd: Yeah, no. We’re not doing that. It is the real me. The shadow thing is just a dumb gimmick. And yes, I do in fact actually hate this song. I mean, duh. I have ears.
Gets up and leaves
Taylor: Look what you just made me do. Look what you made me do.
Taylor Lineup: Shut up!
Closing Tag: "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
"Look What You Made Me Do" is owned by Big Machine Records
This video is owned by me
THANK YOU TO THE LOYAL PATRONS!