I don't know if it's because it's Friday, because I'm coming down with a cold, or because the seasons are changing, but god damn, this new Taylor Swift song has wrecked me! "Call It What You Want" came out at midnight, and I already knew I'd like it just from the old-school promotion Swift was doing on her Instagram. And, for the first time, Swift actually full-on addresses all the stuff that's happened in the past year.
Sure, there's a lot about Joe Alwyn. Like, we get it. But there's also something new in this song that we haven't heard before yet on this album: vulnerability. I think some of the reason people weren't buying Taylor's new schtick, most apparent in "Look What You Made Me Do" and "...Ready For It?" is because it was lacking the honesty that attracted us to her in the first place. If your entire public image was destroyed with a single Snapchat, you wouldn't be stronger and meaner and more powerful than ever. You would be sad. You would shut down. You'd go to your house in Rhode Island, drink big glasses of wine, play guitar and paint and write this song — no, seriously, that's what she did. Just look at her Instagram story.
"My castle crumbled overnight/I brought a knife to a gunfight/They took the crown, but it's alright," the song begins. "All the liars are calling me one/Nobody's heard from me for months/I'm doing better than I ever was."
There are still elements of this "new Taylor," like when she sings that her "flowers grew back as thorns," calling out the Kardashians as "drama queens taking swings," but that's not the interesting part of the song. It's when she says "I know I make the same mistakes every time," finally copping to the fact that, yeah, she fucked up. "Bridges burn, I never learn, at least I did one thing right."
That one thing? Joe Alwyn of course. Normally, this would make me roll my eyes, but in "Call It What You Want," I let it slide. I realize it's a low bar to set, but as a Taylor fan, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief now that she's done what I've been wanting her to do for a year now: admit she was wrong. This is, of course, just the beginning. There's so much more I need from her in order to prove that she's grown from her mistakes, but at least we've taken the first step.