Taylor Swift is back with yet another superpoppy single off her new album, 1989. Like the last two, this one practically screams that Swift is no longer a country singer. Unlike the last two, this one is really, really bad.
Leaked last night and subsequently released via iTunes, "Welcome to New York" goes way deeper into pop territory than either of her previous releases, telling the totally original and not at all problematic story of a young white girl who moves to the big city and finds the bright lights inspiring.
Critics at Jezebel were quick to point out the song's pro-gentrification lyrics. It's yet another gentrification anthem, in the vein of Katie Shaw's horrendous "Brooklyn Girls," celebrating the transplant lifestyle that has transformed New York City into a utopia of Beacon's Closets and juice bars, unrecognizable to its previous inhabitants. As Julianne Escobedo Shepard from Jezebel writes: "[T]he whole of this song feels so tone deaf at this particular, pivotal moment in New York's history, and it is rage-inducing."
But perhaps just as importantly, the lyrics are inane and the music is dull. Fans can and should expect better from Swift. She's written some great pop songs in the past, with intelligent lyrics and unique melodies, but "Welcome to New York" has none of her spark. Perhaps New York-based music legend David Bryne was right when he wrote in a Guardian editorial last year that New York is becoming a creative wasteland that only draws financial and business talent rather than true artists. Swift does, after all, live in a $20 million apartment.
If Taylor Swift's new song is the future of songwriting in New York, then all the real artists better jump ship to keep finding inspiration. Famed New York hip-hop legend El-P may be the first to go: