Ever since Taylor Swift first started sharing snake videos on her social media, everyone's been talking about ushering in a whole new age of Taylor — a dark Taylor, an edgy Taylor. Heck, Taylor herself even declares the "old Taylor" dead in "Look What You Made Me Do," the first single off her new album, Reputation. But is today's Taylor really a brand new version of the singer-songwriter? Is she really that different than the Taylor we've known and loved over the years? We took a look back the lyrics from her singles off her self-titled first album, Taylor Swift, and lyrics from her first two Reputation singles to see whether or not Taylor really has changed. Check it out.
(Photo Credit: Taylor Swift)
"When you think of happiness / I hope you think that little black dress / think of my head on your chest"
"The Old Taylor can't comes to the phone right now / Why? / 'Cause she's dead"
Okay, so this lyric from "Tim McGraw" is pretty wildly different from the spoken words on "Look What You Made Me Do." And this is probably what you're thinking of when you remember Old Taylor in comparison with New Taylor. But let's be honest — "Tim McGraw" is a love song and "Look What You Made Me Do" is, uh, not. So let's compare a little more apples to apples, right? Check out the next sets of lyrics.
"There's no time for tears / I'm just sitting here / planning my revenge"
"I've got a list of names / and yours is red, underlined"
Now, that's more like it. "Picture to Burn" and "Look What You Made Me Do" are a lot more ~on theme~, wouldn't you say? New Taylor sitting there with her list of names certainly sounds a lot like Old Taylor sitting there planning her revenge. Sure, Old Taylor's revenge was like... tee-peeing her ex's house and other pretty mild, garden-variety pranks. But that underlying anger is pretty much the same.
"And if you're missing me / you'd better keep it to yourself / 'cause coming back around here / would be bad for your health..."
"The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama / but not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma"
Just check out these next lines from "Picture to Burn" and "Look What You Made Me Do." Again, New Taylor seems to be plotting something seriously dark. While you move on, she's still sitting there, dwelling, hatching up some kind of scandalous scheme. Old Taylor's a little more straightforward. She'll have her daddy beat you up ("If you come around saying sorry to me, my daddy's gonna show you how sorry you'll be"), and she is giving you fair warning — but the message is pretty much the same.
"But when you think Tim McGraw / I hope you think my favorite song / the one we danced to all night long"
"In the middle of the night, in my dreams / you should see the things we do, baby"
And the love songs share a lot of similarities, too. On "Tim McGraw," Old Taylor sings about how they spent the night dancing under the stars and being #relationshipgoals and all that. New Taylor, on "...Ready For It?" also sings about being in love at night. We're, uh, pretty sure they're not exactly dancing in the middle of the night in Taylor's dreams — but the same sentiment is there, right? It's all about the ~romance~.
"He's got a one-hand feel on the steering wheel / the other on my heart"
"But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time / honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time"
But, sure, if you just want to compare lyrics like this — "Our Song" to "Look What You Made Me Do" — you definitely can. We can definitely look at Old Taylor's sweet, country love song versus New Taylor's vicious, revenge song and say that Old Taylor is nothing like New Taylor. Old Taylor was a nice girl who gets trampled on and New Taylor does the trampling.
"Drew looks at me / I fake a smile so he won't see / that I want and I'm needing / everything that we should be"
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"Me, I was a robber / first time that he saw me / stealing hearts and running off / and never saying sorry"
And when you compare "Teardrops on My Guitar" to "...Ready For It?" you can definitely make that argument. After all, Old Taylor was pining after Drew and getting her heart broken as she mournfully watched him go after anther girl. New Taylor, on the other hand, was unapologetically breaking hearts of her own. But we think that's less a drastic shift and more about Taylor gradually growing up over the years and realizing that she's going to go for what she wants.
Taylor has definitely matured over the years, and so has her music. But when you really sit down and look at her lyrics, well, she's not actually that different. Whether she's dreaming about a boy and their romance, or plotting revenge against someone who has wronged her, she seems like the same incredibly talented artist to us. Just, you know, now she's 27 instead of 16. We think she's allowed to grow up a little.
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