Taylor Swift releases “Gorgeous,” the third track from Reputation.

Taylor Swift’s New Track “Gorgeous” Is Not As Cringeworthy As “Look What You Made Me Do”

Taylor Swift’s New Track “Gorgeous” Is Not As Cringeworthy As “Look What You Made Me Do”

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Oct. 20 2017 1:41 PM

Taylor Swift’s New Track “Gorgeous” Is Not As Cringeworthy As “Look What You Made Me Do”

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Look what you made her do.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

At midnight on Friday, the Artist Formerly Known as the Old Taylor Swift dropped the third track, “Gorgeous,” from her upcoming album Reputation, and the good news is this: It’s better than the pouty spoken-word routine of “Look What You Made Me Do.” “Gorgeous,” which details a first encounter that leaves Swift crushing hard, hints that the past Taylor hasn’t been completely erased.

“Gorgeous” opens with a baby—rumored to be the child of one of Swift’s celebrity pals, perhaps the genetically blessed offspring of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds—announcing the track’s title before launching into a synth progression that gives immediate 1989 vibes (Swedes Max Martin and Shellback, who’ve worked with Swift on and off since Red, co-wrote and produced “Gorgeous”). From there, it’s a straightforward pop confection that sees the singer meeting a new, very attractive man, thought by Swift sleuths to be current boyfriend Joe Alwyn.

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Swiftian writing tics remain: the obsession with eyes (“ocean blue”), the emotional roller coasters (she traverses furious, hateful, jealous, happy, and sad in less than four minutes), the smattering of detail that sends fans on scavenger hunts (where on Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street in L.A. is Swift referencing?), the self-aware humor (“Guess I’ll just stumble on home to my cats”). But it’s also an aged-up version of Speak Now’s “Enchanted” without the fairy dust: The new Taylor gets drunk on whiskey and, instead of taking on the role of the victim or princess, commits the emotional sin of lusting after someone who is not her significant other. All we know about the boyfriend of the song is that he is someone “older than us” who is “in the club” (is it 36-year-old Tom Hiddleston? Is it DJ Calvin Harris?).

As usual, the country-queen-turned-pop-princess’ new release rocketed to the top of the iTunes charts. “Gorgeous” may not live up to its name—it’s a serviceable piece of pop, just not a once-in-a-lifetime gem—but it’ll fill the coffers.