After Taylor Swift announced her new album, Reputation, one detail raised some eyebrows; her release date happens to be the same date as the 10th anniversary of the death of Kanye West's mother, Donda.
Swift's team of publicists were quick to clear that rumour up, telling E! News, that the date was purely a coincidence. A source at Swift's record label, Big Machine Records, said, "It is standard practice that releases come out on Fridays and we locked in this release date based on other Universal Music Group releases. There is no correlation."
We know that Swift and West have had their problems in the past, in fact, many are speculating that her new single is about her beef with the West and his wife, Kim Kardashian. Rolling Stone made a pretty compelling argument for "Look" being about Kanye. Perhaps one of the most compelling pieces of the argument being Swift's lyric about the tilted stage as a possible reference to the rapper's tilted stage that he used on his recent Saint Pablo Tour. That, along with the phone voice in the song as a supposed suggestion of their infamous phone call, make a strong case.
Lyrics are one thing, but an album release timed to coincide with the anniversary of someone's death is attributing a lot of really hurtful behaviour to Swift. Yes, her new album is notably darker in tone and her new single's focus is vengeful, but the expectation that she would be conniving to that degree seems unfairly far-fetched. Something that vindictive goes way beyond rebranding yourself with an edgier persona.
Given that the release date is right at the start of the holiday season, it makes sense that she would choose that time of year as it is when sales tend to be high. Bruno Mars and The Weeknd both released albums around that exact time last year — is it traditionally a time when A-list artists drop their highly anticipated records.
The theory puts an expectation on Swift that begs the question, "Would we assume this level of vindictiveness of a male pop star?" Have you ever heard about a male singer being accused of doing something like this? It falls into the category of gender stereotypes that assume women are more vengeful and will seek revenge in more subtle ways. To sing about revenge is one thing, to do it is another. I would classify this as a step too far.
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