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On The Awkward Brilliance Of Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ Music Video

By / 08.21.14


In September 2002, Christina Aguleria released her scuzzy hit, “Dirrty,” which is just as gross as its double-r’s imply. I was a 15-year-old boy at the time, so obviously I was a big fan of the song, or more specifically the music video, but even I felt guilty listening/watching to it. It’s a nasty song, and not in the Janet Jackson sense. It also wasn’t as popular as I remember it being: “Dirrty” only peaked at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100; it was Aguleria’s first single to not hit the top-20. So her label panicked quickly released another track: the sympathetic, you-are-perfect anthem “Beautiful.” It became a commercial (#2 on the Hot 100) and critical (Song of the Year nomination) smash.

Taylor Swift, who’s as popular now as Aguleria was during her pop peak, didn’t release a “Dirrty.” She went straight to her “Beautiful,” with a modern twist. She went awkward.

tswift dance


Picture the average T-Swift fan. They’re probably a 13-year-old girl. Maybe she’s too shy to talk to the boy she likes in class. She’s definitely aware of her graceless age; she stumbles and acts like a general klutz. Basically, she’s everyone’s younger cousin. She can’t relate to BeyoncĂ©’s empowerment and Justin Bieber is, like, GROSS, but she can make sense of, “Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake.”

The music video for “Shake It Off” (which, honestly, isn’t a very good song) is that line, visualized. Swift surround herself with talented dancers who move with the nimble grace of a deer; meanwhile, she’s the goof who stomps around like a bear and messes up cheerleader routine. This is obviously ridiculous, because Swift is very composed and very beautiful, but that’s what pop music is: a lie you choose to believe. Taylor Swift knows EXACTLY who her audience i$$$$$$$$$$$$, and she doesn’t care if you’re not along for the ride. Because then you’re just a hater who’s gonna hate, hate, hate.

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TOPICS#music videos

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