Any fans of mine that have drifted over from my former blog likely know that one of the many running jokes from that blog was random snippets of hate directed at Taylor Swift. Why? Because this is America, and our only major export is cowardly internet anger. Also because every time I got into my car, no matter what station was playing, I would be forced to listen to a 12 year old singing rejected Hallmark cards to an acoustic guitar. She was a girl who released her first chart-topping album before she was 18, and I was a guy who beat all three Bioshock games before I was 28; we were natural rivals. During this time in our relationship, Ms Swift would often spend hours backstroking through her Scooge McDuckish money pit, sobbing because some part-time bartender/blogger in Pittsburgh was cobbling together poorly structured jokes about her in his likely-haunted economy apartment. “How can I get Patrick Malloy to like my music?” she would weep, looking into a mirror that was worth more than my car, which was a bike. But that was then, and this is now. A whole new blog and a whole new outlook on life. I even have a new car that is probably worth more than Taylor Swift’s fancy mirror (assuming that Taylor Swift’s mirror costs $3,499.00 or less!). The impetus for this change of heart came from Ms. Swift, who took a sudden turn on her highway to hell and drove directly into my heart with her new single: Shake It Off. Now we can be friends, Taylor, who is undoubtedly reading this article. You’re invited to my birthday party. Here’s why Shake It Off might be the best song of all time in the category of “Songs That Aren’t By Bon Jovi.”
Shake It Off is so poppy and upbeat that every time I hear it, I begin sweating cotton candy. It sounds like a record label rounded up gummi bears and unicorns, locked them in a room with a high school marching band, and wouldn’t let anyone out until they wrote a hit song. While indentured gummi bear servitude is one of the cutest societal evils that America needs to address, it also gave us a song that makes white girls’ heads explode at the bar. If you’ve never been at a bar full of white girls or a Panera when this song comes on, just imagine what it would look and sound like if someone lit a chicken coop on fire. I imagine that the decision to release this song went something like this: “Hey Taylor Swift, here’s a song that basically glittery stickers thrown on Hey Mickey, You’re So Fine”… “But I’m a country singer who is very dedicated to my craft and role as a storyteller”… “Well, sure, but money.” And now we have Shake It Off. The first time I listened to this song, by the time it finished my body had begun naturally producing shiny grape lip gloss. It was a delicious. Thank you, new best friend Taylor.
Another thing that I love about Shake It Off is the weird talky-rappy thing that happens at the end where Taylor Swift breaks it down. Just being able to write the sentence “Taylor Swift breaks it down” is enough to make me forgive her for previous songs with lyrics that sounded like they were written by Carrie after the blood prom. There is a section of the weird talking part where Taylor Swift, an artist who previously only wrote about stalking teenage boys in a way that would make Jeffrey Dahmer uncomfortable, says the words: “This sick beat.” To call this song simply pop music cash-grabbing would completely ignore the power inherent in Taylor Swift saying “This Sick Beat.” It allows everyone in the world to feel black by comparison to its unfathomable whiteness, therefore contributing to a better understanding of cultural differences and challenges in our society. Not even John Lennon accomplished that. I mean, I’m pretty white – I’m one gimlet away from being considered a gentleman farmer – but hearing Taylor Swift say things like “This sick beat” and “Haters gonna hate” allows everyone else a brief glimpse into why everyone hates white people. This creates a dialogue for us to address societal issues. Taylor, you’re the voice of a generation. You’re like if Bob Dylan raided my aunt’s wardrobe.
So, Taylor Swift, I have been converted by this catchy tune about… shaking things? As long as you don’t mean babies or sodas, I’m on board. Because – if I may be granted license to interpret the subtle meaning buried in this masterpiece – what I believe you are saying is that sometimes haters are gonna hate hate hate hate hate and sometimes players are gonna play play play play play but you can just shake these things off. This is a powerful message that should be embraced by everyone from Obama to the homeless guy who yelled at me earlier because I didn’t have any cigarettes. The refrain section about how “breakers are gonna break” is beyond my comprehension, as I am not an electrician, but I assume it’s very deep for that particular demographic. And since I’m a fella with hella good hair, I think we can bury the hatchet and move forward as best friends. Hell, if I wasn’t a happily married man, we could even go on a date since a relationship with you seems like it would be very pleasant and not at all like you’d boil my pets. Let’s bury this silly rivalry, with me being jealous of your millions of dollars and you being jealous of my ability to guess when the electric company is going to cash my check each month. You’re officially invited to my birthday party, which is pretty much me alone attempting to consume an entire 30 pack of Coors Light and an entire Carvel cake while watching old Ridley Scott movies. Yes, it is TWICE as fun as it sounds, and thanks to Shake It Off, you’re welcome to attend. Haters may hate, players may play, and breakers may even break, but we’re friends now. Lucky you.