Shake It Off

Shake It Off by krin.jpg

Date Aired
September 14, 2014
Running Time
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Todd plays "Shake It Off" on the piano.

A pop song review

Todd: [already aghast] Whaaa?!

Video for "Shake It Off"
Taylor: I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
Shake it off, shake it off

Todd: Why?!!!

Taylor: My ex-man brought his new girlfriend
She's like...

Todd (VO): Oh my God, she's rapping!

Todd: Taylor Swift is rapping! I remember...

Clip of "Thug Story"

Todd (VO): ...when that was a joke!

Taylor: ...shawtys never thought I'd dream about
Rappin' hardcore!

Todd (VO): That used to be a joke! Now it's actually happening! [back to "Shake It Off"] What happened, when did Taylor Swift become a living Bratz doll?!

Todd: Okay, obviously, shiny, happy, pop diva Taylor Swift is not a new development.

Clip of "22"
Taylor: I don't know about you.

Todd (VO): This isn't new, I shouldn't be surprised. But I am! Like [clip of...] how the first Transformers was bad, so I knew the second one was gonna be bad, and yet I never could have predicted the insane, off-the-charts level of bad?

Todd: That's what this is. Taylor Swift is saying...

Clips of "I Knew You Were Trouble"...

Todd (VO): ..."No. Dubstep wasn't selling out, [..."22"...] that "Party in the USA" clone wasn't selling out, [...and back to "Shake It Off"] this is selling out."

Taylor: I'm dancin' on my own (dancin' on my own)

Todd (VO): And I can hear you saying now, "This isn't that bad, it's got hustle, it's got energy, it's happy, it's... it's more fun than listening [clip of "Stay with Me" by...] to that Sam Smith dirge that gets played all the time. This isn't that bad."

Todd: No, it is!

Todd (VO): And this is exactly where I was worried she was heading. [clips of...] And no, not because of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", not even because of "22".

Todd: No, the real song that worried me was "I Knew You Were Trouble".

Taylor: Now I see-ee-ee-ee-ee

Todd (VO): Sure, it was dubsteppy and vacuous, and she went "ee-ee-ee" at the end of every line like a wounded dolphin. But that wasn't why. It was because it was the first Taylor Swift song I ever heard that could've been performed...

Todd: anybody.

Todd (VO): Katy Perry could do it. Selena Gomez could do it. [clip of...] If Glee did a cover of it, it would be exactly the same! Think about that!

Todd: And that's what really bothers me about Taylor's increasing...

Todd (VO): ...Ariana Grande-ization. I remember thinking back when [clips of "Fifteen"...] she started out, she was just a teenage girl who wrote about teenage girl things, but with time, she would mature into a very good songwriter. [..."Love Story"...] I thought she would move on from writing about teen romance and boys named Drew to, uh... I don't know, paying taxes? Yeah, ad- adult stuff. But [..."We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"...] the exact opposite happened. She's only gotten more vapid and edgeless, and considering she started out in mainstream country music, that's a hell of a low point to reach. [...and back to "Shake It Off"] And instead of moving on to a more mature understanding of the world, she's talking about...

Todd: ...haters.

Taylor: And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate

Todd (VO): Yes, she is shaking off... [image of a man yelling and giving two thumbs down] the haters.

Todd: That great Boogeyman of pop music. [images of two girls talking about another girl behind her back, a creepy man peeking through the window blinds, and a cartoon of two men adding fluoride to water supply] Haters: they're everywhere. Haters are infiltrating our government right now, poisoning our water supply. [Todd knocks on the piano three times] Uh-oh. I think I hear some coming now! [sure enough, Statler and Waldorf peek in from the bottom-right corner]

Clips of "Teardrops On My Guitar"
Taylor: Drew looks...

Todd (VO): Okay, let's rewind here. Now, I have obviously never been a big fan of T-Swizzle, as we used to call her as a joke but now seems like maybe it isn't. Back when she first got big and she was winning Grammys everywhere, I thought she was very overrated. But now that the backlash is setting in [... and "Ours"] and she's a very easy target, I'm more inclined to defend her, believe it or not. Because she does have some very real talent, and honestly, I think a lot of the criticism she gets is bullshit, especially the ones that center around her personal life.

Todd: "She dates a lot of different guys." And?

Clip of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

Todd (VO): If I were a famous chick, I'd date tons of guys, too, so would you. And, "She breaks up with them." So? You think she should [pic of her with...] still be dating John Mayer? I wouldn't wish that on anyone. "Well, she writes songs about them." Well, no duh, what's she supposed to write about?

Todd: "Yeah, but she always blames the guy in the song", no she doesn't!

Clip of "Back to December"

Todd (VO): Honestly, she hasn't even written as many break-up songs as people think. And yes, she does write about other things. I've listened to her albums, and she's got more depth and range than you realize if you just listen to her big singles. [Back to "Shake It Off"] So yeah, I would say that if there's anyone in the world who has the right to be aggrieved at "haters", it would be Taylor Swift.

Todd: [sigh] But God in Heaven, she really shouldn't write songs about it!

Taylor: I go on too many dates
But I can't make 'em stay
At least that's what people say

Todd (VO): Taylor, Taylor, Taylor!

Todd: Don't...feed...the trolls!

Taylor: Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake

Todd (VO): Look, here's the message of "Shake It Off". She's just going to ignore the haters. She's gonna shake, shake, shake them off.

Todd: Basically...

Clip of...

Todd (VO): ...she's gonna whip her hair at them.

Willow: Whip our hair and just shake em off

Todd: Look, Taylor Swift's biggest problem from the very beginning has...

Clip of "You Belong with Me"

Todd (VO): ...been a limited scope. She can only write what she knows, the things she has direct experience with. You lock her in her room, she'll write songs about her lamp. So she wrote about very mundane teen girl stuff, but she wrote it pretty well.

Todd: At the very least, it- it spoke to people.

Clip of "Fifteen"

Todd (VO): Teen girls usually only get like Miley or Demi Lovato or whoever, but Taylor's stuff was real. [Clips of...] "Teardrops On My Guitar" was for any girl who had ever had a crush. "You Belong with Me" was for any girl who had a crush. And an unexamined jealous streak. Even "22" can work for you if you're 22. I suppose, I wouldn't know, being 53 and all.

Todd: But she's not teenage every girl anymore, and she's just stopped being relatable.

Taylor: I go on too many dates
But I can't make 'em stay

Todd (VO): These are only things that Taylor Swift gets criticized for, like who cares? Newsflash: no one cares about your problems with "haters", because the only people with haters are celebrities. The rest of us normal people...

Todd: not have haters, make content on the internet. [Clip of the video being on the website] Which would be a really dumb thing to do. But a mass of anonymous people [Image of two cartoon people, one pointing to the other, with the caption "I hate this guy."] who dislike us personally, no, we...

Todd (VO): ...don't have that in our lives. At best, we have assholes. And if we do have haters, it's only like one guy.

Clip from Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld (himself): Newman!

Todd: Now, plenty of people do write about haters and are good at it, but...

Clip of Jay-Z - "99 Problems"

Todd (VO): ...they're big personalities that call attention to their own world-conquering celebrity. You gotta be like a Beyonce or an Eminem or a Lady Gaga. Taylor Swift just does not wear celebrity well. If Taylor Swift wanted to transition into pop diva mode, that'd be one thing, but it's not a diva song. It's this dorky, happy song from dorky ol' Taylor Swift. Are you kidding me?

Taylor: Shake it off, shake it off

Todd (VO): She just does not wear celebrity well. I mean, listen to her. The result is that she sounds like a sassy 10-year-old.

Todd: Matter of fact...

Taylor: I stay out too late
I go on too many dates
That's what people say

Todd (VO): Seriously, the haters say you go on too many dates and stay out too late?

Todd: Are these haters [picture of girl rolling her eyes at...] your parents?

Todd (VO): [imitating] I don't do my homework
I tease my little sister too much

Todd: Look, Taylor Swift's best asset...

Clip of "Mine"

Todd (VO): that she's got a good ear for details. That's what most country artists used to be good at before...

Todd: music became an unending string of [brief clip of performance on ABC, sung to the tune of Luke Bryan's "That's My Kind of Night"] "it's summer, parties, drinking, girls have legs." You remember what she was like, right? You know...

Brief clip of "Begin Again"

Todd (VO): friend's named Abigail, whiny ex listening to shitty indie rock. It was very evocative and specific.

Todd: But now she writes...

Taylor: But I keep cruising
Can't stop, won't stop moving

Todd (VO): "Can't stop, won't stop moving"?

Taylor: Players gonna play, play, play...

Todd (VO): "Players gonna play, haters gonna hate"?

Todd: You wanna just throw in a [image of...] #YOLO while you're at it?! Seriously, is [picture of...] Pitbull gonna be in this?! If not, why not?! It's not like he's gonna make it any worse. [beat] Okay, yes, he is gonna make it worse. But still.

Taylor: I'm lightning on my feet
And that's what they don't see.

Todd (VO): And the second verse may honestly be even worse than the first. Where the first verse was all way too specific, this one is all way too vague.

Taylor: I make the moves up as I go (moves up as I go)

Todd (VO): All Katy Perry platitudes about how she brushes off everything because she's just so awesome. This makes me feel like a chump for defending her.

Todd: [mocking] "Oh, she's so stuck-up, she thinks she's so cool." How dare you! Taylor Swift is a nice girl, and you're projecting all sorts of mean things on her because you're just jealous! She is down-to-earth and relatable, and she does not think she's perfect and never makes a mistake!

Taylor: I never miss a beat
I'm lightning on my feet

Todd: Never mind.

Todd (VO): And this song fails in one other big way: I do not believe it for a second.

Taylor: It's like I got this music in my mind
Saying, "It's gonna be alright."

Todd (VO): Oh, she doesn't care about the critics? She hears music in her head, she dances around like she just doesn't care, she's just gonna shake, shake, shake.

Todd: Ahem...[captioned] BULL SHIT!

Todd (VO): She is trying way too hard.

Taylor: And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake

Todd (VO): Yeah, fakers are gonna fake, Taylor. I hope you're singing that to a mirror!

Taylor: I make the moves up as I go

Todd (VO): Making it up as you go. This is the most transparently calculated pose I've ever seen. Apple products get less focus-grouped than this.

Todd: Real talk: Taylor Swift is the thinnest-skinned celebrity alive.

Clip of "Mean"
Taylor: All you are is mean
And a liar and pathetic

Todd (VO): She cannot take criticism. She is worse at taking criticism than [clips of...] Eminem, [news clip of, suing Pitbull...] Lindsay Lohan, [NYPost article: N. Korea threatens ‘merciless’ war on US over… Seth Rogen?] and Kim Jong-Un combined. You could give her the mildest critique, and she'll dedicate ten pages in her burn book to you.

Todd: Watch. [Picture of Taylor] Taylor Swift, your fans too much. [Picture splits in middle of her face, eyes turn red, fangs are added, fire in background, demonic hissing sounds]

Todd (VO): And you don't have to know that she's already responded to critics several times, or that she can't take the slightest joke about herself. All you have to do is listen to the song.

Taylor: I stay out too late

Todd (VO): If you are so bothered by someone saying you stay out too late that you have to write a response, you have officially failed to "shake it off."

Todd: Now, if this was all I had to say about this song, I'd conclude that it was unconvincing and kind of lame. There are worse things, and I'm not usually this harsh on, you know, happy, upbeat pop songs. It's fun, it's harmless, right? But...[chuckles] now we have to get to the real heart of the problem, because there's selling out, and uh...then, there's selling out...and oh, Jesus!

Taylor: Hey, hey, hey

Todd: [head in hands] Hey.

Taylor: Just think while you've been getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world
You could've been getting down to this sick beat.

Todd: Hi, [brief clip of "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" by...] Fall Out Boy.

Patrick Stump: Sing until your lungs give out

Todd: Where the hell did...

Taylor: My ex-man brought his new girlfriend
She's like "Oh, my god!"

Todd: Hi, Kesha!

Clip of 3OH!3 ft. Kesha - "My First Kiss"
Kesha: My first kiss went a little like this
Taylor: And to the fella over there with the hella good hair
Won't you come on over, baby? We can shake, shake, shake

Todd: What the hell just happened?! Who are you, and what did you do with Taylor Swift?!

Todd (VO): Yeah, midway through this song, Taylor Swift delivers one of the most bewilderingly awful 22 seconds I think I've ever heard in a pop song. I could spend the same amount of time with my hand on a lit stove and come out in less pain. I don't even know where to start.

Taylor: This sick beat

Todd: "Sick beat"?!

Taylor: ...fella over there with the hella good hair

Todd (VO): "Hella good..." Who talks like that?! Who wrote this, my mom?!

Todd: Taylor, you're embarrassing me in front of my friends!

Todd (VO): I...I refuse to believe Taylor Swift wrote that. All of that had to have been added by some studio hack, unless... has Taylor Swift been a 40-year-old pretending to be a young person the entire time? Is she an undercover reporter preparing an expose on youth culture?

Todd: And remember how I said she used to be really good at providing details, especially against people she didn't like to make them look really bad? This is what she's become now:

Taylor: My ex-man brought his new girlfriend
She's like "Oh, my god!" but I'm just gonna shake.

Todd: That's it?

Todd (VO): "She's like 'Oh, my God'"? You're a professional lyricist, and that's the best you come up with.

Todd: Okay, to be fair, we've all known that chick who is like, "oh, my God." Man, your Your ex-man's new girlfriend sounds really vapid. Who'd wanna be around a chick who's like, "oh, my God"?

Clips of Taylor holding...
Taylor: I'm on the cover of Rolling Stone! Oh, my God. Oh, my God!
...and at 2011 American Music Awards...
Announcer: Taylor Swift now has ten American
Back to Rolling Stone cover
Taylor: Oh, my God!


Todd (VO): This is the most flailing and desperate thing she could have released. This is the exact same career arc that happened to [clips of "Complicated" by...] Avril Lavigne, who started out as a genuine, unpolished teenage girl whose music spoke to teenagers; [...and "Girlfriend"...] then hit her 20s, had no idea how to age artistically, and now spends her time doing this.

Clip of Avril Lavigne - "Hello Kitty"
Avril: Mom's not home tonight
So we can roll around, have a pillow fight
Like a major rager OMFG

Todd (VO): Can Taylor Swift be far behind?

Todd: She's practically already there.

Todd (VO): And also, one last thing. The video. It has also become controversial, mostly because of the tunnel of butts. And yes, the tunnel of butts was indeed a very bad idea. It was a very, very bad idea. Bad Taylor Swift.

Todd: But I hate the video for a different reason.

Todd (VO): I just dislike this whole idea that, you know, "oh, look at me. I'm gonna put on silly outfits, pretend to be other pop stars, but it's still just me, little ol' Taylor Swift.

Todd: These costumes don't fit me." Yes, they do.

Todd (VO): You are those costumes, they are your personality, that's exactly who you are now. You'll never be band geek Taylor Swift again. You're the cheer captain, and...

Todd: ...I don't know...[clip of "Tennis Court" by...] Lorde is on the bleachers.

Lorde: Let's go down to the tennis court, and talk it up like yeah

Todd: See? [A thought occurs to him] Oh, God, Lorde! What's gonna happen to her in five years?

Clip of Britney Spears - "Work Bitch", with Lorde's head pasted over Britney's
Britney: Live in a big mansion
Party in France
You better work bitch

Todd: Pop music ruins everything.

Gets up and leaves

Video ends

Closing tag song: Mystikal - "Shake Ya Ass"

"Shake It Off" is owned by Big Machine Records
This video is owned by me

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