At least she did one thing right: Taylor Swift has released another song from her long-awaited, November 10 album Reputation. “Call It What You Want” sounds at first like it’s going to be another career arc narrative, addressing the damage done to her reputation in a disastrous 2016 by dual feuds with Kimye and Calvin. “My castle crumbled overnight,” she begins. “I brought a knife to a gunfight, they took the crown but it’s alright.”
But just as you start readying your eyes and ears for some epic shade, the song reveals itself for what it really is: An ode to Swift’s boyfriend of one whole year Joe Alwyn. You can call it what you want, because Swift supposedly doesn't care anymore: “My baby’s fit like a daydream/ Walking with his head down/ I’m the one he's walking to,” she sings in the chorus. (The song’s suggestion to “Call It What You Want” could also be used to refer to her dubious relationship with Tom “I <3 TS” Hiddleston). Basically, haters, Taylor has a boyfriend now and everything is A-OK. In fact, she’s doing “better than she ever was.”
The accompanying lyric video is written in a photo-free scrapbook, but Swift almost broke her fans with an Instagram story of herself singing an acoustic version of the song, presumably filmed (poorly) by Alwyn.
not to be dramatic but the acoustic version of call it what you want singehandedly saved my life. im serious. pic.twitter.com/HXwc07ad4W— hannah the bee 🐍 (@justhiceIeague) November 3, 2017
Swift has the sole writing credit for the new track, which is littered with Swiftean writing tics—or clever self-references, if you’re a Taylor detective: Castles, things being like daydreams, storms, being brand new, and running away. The haters are, of course, still at her door (will they ever stop?), but “they fade to nothing when I look at him.”
Is it a revenge song or a love song? Call it what you want.