Taylor Swift, she of the saucer-eyed surprise face and cutthroat business acumen, rah-rahed back into our lives Tuesday with Shake It Off, a single from her upcoming "first documented official pop album."
The new LP will be titled 1989 (psst: the year she was born) and releases Oct. 27.
The "official" pop switcheroo is mainly hype; 2012 album Red wasn't exactly Loretta Lynn. Swift has been pretty poppy for a while. But by consciously uncoupling from her Nashville beginnings, the 24-year-old pride of Wyomissing, Pa., at least quiets those nagging folks who still bother debating what genre she is. Heck, at this point she transcends genre.
Set to a marching band beat and a slight persecution complex ("I go on too many dates / But I can't make 'em stay / At least that's what people say"), Shake It Off is nowhere near as inventive, or subtly caustic, as 2012's We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. No matter: Swift could burp the alphabet and hit No. 1 overnight. Predictably, Shake It Off is already the top seller on iTunes. Social media reaction has been tsunamic and favorable.
The likable, if safe, new cut will no doubt be the only thing you hear on the radio for a while. You'll know every word by Friday — whether you want to or not.
And she's true to her pop promise: Super-produced by Max Martin and Shellback, Shake It Off doesn't have a hint of her country past; instead, it has a giddy Gwen Stefani vibe to it, an innocuous slice of late-summer fun with a fast beat and a determination to overthrow Ariana Grande at the top of the charts.
An accompanying video was also released, showing Swift alternating between sexy and goofy. (She's good at both, and she knows it.) In the four-minute vid, she tries on various guises —a ballerina, a breakdancer, a cheerleader, a Lady Gaga clone — until finally gamboling with the masses in a big let's-love-ourselves dance-off.
(She's also really good at pretending she's JUST LIKE US. Yep, just a regular gal … who dated the hairy kid from One Direction and has a separate house for her Grammys.)
So here we go with full-on Swiftian domination: The girl next door has shaken off her cowboy boots and roots once and for all. Something tells me she's not losing any sleep over it.
Sean Daly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @seandalypoplife.