SINGLE REVIEW: Taylor Swift – “Shake It Off”

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Artist: Taylor Swift
Single: “Shake It Off”
Album: 1989
Genre: Pop

Taylor Swift returned to the international stage earlier this week with the release of her new single, “Shake It Off.” The song is the first track to surface of Swift’s highly-anticipated new album, 1989, and it ushered in a whole new sound and style for the girl who has spent the better part of the last decade as America’s pop music sweetheart. If you missed the premiere, or if you simply need a few minutes to experience the single again, click below to view the track’s official video:

We have been kicking around ideas on how to improve our single reviews, and while blasting “Shake It Off” through our offices yesterday it dawned on us that it might be fun to let everyone express their opinion in one thread. Instead of having one person on staff write 500-1000 words about Swift’s return we could all share an opinion and hopefully spark a bit of conversation with readers along the way:


“A lot has changed in music since Taylor Swift released Red, but to be fair a lot has also changed about Taylor Swift. The singer/songwriter who won over the planet with country inspired ballads has now fully embraced her pop alter ego and delivered a late-80s inspired radio single that is sure to be overplayed before the leaves change. I’m not sure I love “Shake It Off,” but I know it’s going to be stuck in my head. I think the bridge turns me off the most, but the attitude and sound is something I can definitely get used to. My only fear is that it may not stand out against other young, female pop starlets of the moment the way Swift’s previous hits did. This feels very ‘now,’ and ‘now’ might not work in six months.” – James Shotwell (Twitter)


“In a world ostensibly plagued with an inundation of darkness that tends to supersede life’s more cheerful qualities, pop music shines through. Alongside radio’s other recent heavy hitters (Pharrell, Charli XCX, etc.) Taylor Swift is having a blast and reminding us that it’s really not all that difficult to do so. As with the majority of top 40 pop hits, the new single does suffer from a bit of repetition, and I can’t say that I’m crazy about Swifty’s uninspired break in the song at 2:18, but for the most part, “Shake It Off” is indeed an infectious anthem for letting loose, ignoring your critics, and enjoying the simplicities in life that are readily available to anyone. So let your hair down, clear your head and dance along to this killer new video.

I for one look forward to everything forthcoming from this “new” Taylor Swift.” – Brian Lion (Twitter)


“I’m not a huge T.Swift fan, but this is easily the least catchy single she’s put out. The bridge sounds like an Avril Lavigne break and that’s not a good thing. It appears Ms. Swift is running out of ideas.” – Tyler Osborne (Twitter)


“When rumors about Taylor Swift’s forthcoming fifth album came in January, people piled on the “How many times can a girl-next-door’s heart be broken?” jokes. Now that her first single is out, it’s clear she’s been listening. “Shake It Off” is Swift throwing the first punch. She’s smashed the acoustic guitar, shoved the country into the closet, and stuck Max Martin and Shellback’s heads together to come up with a snarky comeback to the hate she’s gotten–and rightfully anticipated getting. The semi-rap breakdown is wildly reminiscent of Avril Lavigne and the extra-long diva note (ahem, 2:43) to those of Katy Perry, but the decision to go with horns, drums, and an organ is bold enough to make up for it. If Red being delivered to your door with a Papa John’s pizza in 2012 wasn’t indication enough, Swift’s lead single shows she’s ready to sell herself to the masses. I just hope she’s clever enough to spell out an apology in M&Ms this time if the other songs follow suit.” – Nina Corcoran (Twitter)


“Swift’s newest single “Shake It Off” is either a stab at Miley, or an attempt to hop on the freight train of controversial adolescent music that has been storming pop radio since Katy Perry kissed a girl, and liked it. Taking influences from Pink to Gwen Stefani, the song is the epitome of every defiant “pop anthem for the ladies” since 2008. Swift’s fans can take solace in the fact that it comes off as a little bit of a satire, but it doesn’t look like she’ll go back to singing country ballads anytime soon. Love it or hate it, “Shake It Off” is undeniably catchy, and it won’t be long until you’re singing it against your will.” – Scott Murray (Twitter)


“The first two things to pop into my head after the intro of “Shake It Off” were “this sounds a little like Avril Lavigne” and “Oh Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine, you blow my mind, hey Mickey, hey Mickey.” Was that just me?

When you become incredibly popular you will find yourself the target of criticism and hatred. Taylor Swift is no stranger to that. Her new single shows that she is well aware of what’s said about her, and she simply couldn’t care less. The song itself is not like any of her previous singles, which for those of us who are not a huge fan is a great change of pace. It’s not very serious, and isn’t meant to be. Fans of the artist will likely appreciate her approach to handling all of the negativity she receives. I’m curious to hear what the rest of her album sounds like and hope she continues changing up her sound.” – Kriston McConnell (Twitter)


“Not to be that guy, but throughout that whole song, I just watched and counted down until the end. The few things that made Taylor Swift’s music close to tolerable, are all but gone. No more guitar, no country melodies, just nasty, self-indulgent pop. Her fans will either feel completely abandoned or feel obligated to love it because it’s her. No in between.

Now, instead of the girl who got her heart broken, she’s got that cocky, “they didn’t matter” attitude that is laughable. Regardless, she’ll get plays, and get attention, and this will be huge, whether people actually like it or not.” – Corey From (Twitter)

Do you agree with us? Comment below and leave us your thoughts on Taylor Swift’s latest!

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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