Reviewing the Billboard Hot 100: Taylor Swift — “Shake It Off”

WEEKS AT NO. 1: One (three total).

PREVIOUS NO. 1: Meghan Trainor — “All About That Bass” (eight weeks)

WHY DIDN’T YOU PICK THE TOP 40? Good question. That may become the thing. But, from what I gather as the criteria for the Hot 100 vs. the Top 40, the former is more indicative of how people listen to music today. However, the Top 40 would probably give a higher frequency of new songs. So we’ll play this by ear.

WHAT’S THE SONG’S DEAL? Taylor made some news before her first single came out with a particular interview, one that still makes me cringe with the quotable: “I woke up not wanting but needing to make a new style of music.” Bleh. Not that it’s disingenuous, but there were about 14 different ways to express that in a non-pretentious manner. Just my two Internet cents.

But this is somewhat different than any other of Swift’s work. “Shake It Off” isn’t near “Out of the Woods” in terms of “out there-ness.” It’s also in a different stratosphere from “Teardrops on my Guitar.” Not that this is a sudden change, but Swift continues her evolution into full-blown, ubiquitous pop star she began on Red.

Now or the bad things on this song, some more discussed than others: the stupid rapping bridge, Taylor’s self-persecution complex (as noted by @PAPPADEMAS), the music video’s tone-deaf twerking part.

Other than all that … “Shake It Off” is catchy as all hell. From the vocal medley, starting off hollow over a bass-stripped beat, to tinny drums at the top, to the horns. Oh, the horns. Thanks, Max Martin. Max Martin comes in and does Max Martin things. (If you don’t know who Max Martin is, feast and revel at the Swede in one YouTube video. You’ll then realize why Max Martin can only be referred to by his full name. Max Martin.)  The chorus is an easily repeatable, repetitive string that anyone from a 7-year-old to someone’s mom could grasp, recite and/or mention ironically, as strong a sign as any of a song’s infectious spread across society.

MUSIC VIDEO: Let’s not.

PROJECTED LASTING POWER: Another 1989 will take the top spot some time in the near future. But since “Shake It Off” already spent some time at the top, it would be surprising if its second reign lasted longer than a handful of weeks again.

FAVORITE HOT 100 SONG OF 2014?By looking at the others, it kinda has to be, yeah.

FAVORITE POP SONG OF 2014?: Not while this exists.

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