Shake It Off
Taylor Swift isn’t going to let other people’s opinions bother her anymore in the casual “Shake It Off.”
Spirited drums open the single, setting an enthuiastic tone. She and her friend solidify their plans for the night. As she passes by one of her co-workers, she hears them giggle. Just loud enough for her to hear, they say of course that’s what she going to do. She only cares about the next party. They wonder out loud if her new boyfriend will be there. One of them snickers and says “which one?” The other woman says her charming personality must be getting in the way. (“I stay out too late, got nothin' in my brain/That's what people say, that's what people say/I go on too many dates, but I can't make 'em stay/At least that's what people say, that's what people say.”)
In the pre-chorus, she continues walking. She has other things on her mind: bills, errands, how her best friend is doing. Those are her real worries. They aren’t saying things she hasn’t heard before. (“But I keep cruisin', can't stop, won't stop movin'/It's like I got this music in my mind sayin' it's gonna be alright.”)
In the chorus, she says the cattiness and pettiness aren’t go to go away. There are going to be bad dates and people are going to try manipulate her. She isn’t going to waste her energy on them anymore. (“Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate/Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake/I shake it off, I shake it off/Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break/And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake/Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake/I shake it off, I shake it off.”)
Those people don’t know really know her. They are making assumptions. She actually does recover from failed romances and her other mistakes well. She has to get the past the impression people have of her: humorless and cold. However, she’s a self-sufficient, go with the flow person. (“I'll never miss a beat, I'm lightnin' on my feet
And that's what they don’t see, that's what they don’t see/I'm dancin' on my own, I'll make the moves up as I go/And that's what they don't know, that’s what they don’t know.”)
The second pre-chorus is sung again. (“But I keep cruisin', can't stop, won't stop groovin'/It's like I got this music in my mind sayin' it's gonna be alright.”)
An extended chorus is sung. (“Cause the players gonna play, play, play play…. I, I shake it off, I shake it off/I, I shake it off, I shake it off/ I, I shake it off, I shake it off/I, I shake it off, I shake it off/ I, I shake it off, I shake it off/I, I shake it off, I shake it off/ I, I shake it off, I shake it off/I, I shake it off, I shake it off.”)
In the bridge, she sees people rolling their eyes and letting out frustrated sighs. She says they could tune it out and put on the radio instead. She adds that she was out with a friend. Her ex-boyfriend was invited, too. He came with his new girlfriend. She went to her introduce herself and shake her hand. The girlfriend gave her a dirty look and wouldn’t even shake her hand. She shrugs. In the corner, there’s a guy who has thick jet black hair. He let it grow a little longer and he looks gorgeous. She heads other to flirt with him instead. (“Hey, hey, hey, just think while you've been getting down and out about the liars and dirty, dirty cheats of the world you could have been getting down to this sick beat/My ex-man brought his new girlfriend/She's like “oh my God”, but I'm just gonna shake it/And to the fella over there with the hella good hair/Won't you come on over, baby, we can shake, shake, shake.”)
The extended chorus is sung again to end the single.
Swift’s efferverscent vocals take a break and lighten up. She doesn’t want to be known as the bitter girl who can’t handle a breakup or solely concerned about her lovelife. She’s letting go of her own petty streak which hampered previous singles like “22” and “Mean.”
With the release of “Red,” the jokes were popping up: how would she rhyme Gyllenghal and online messageboard parodies that included apple-picking. Something needed to change. She has the self-awareness and intelligence to realize it. Her personal growth within the past year reflects it, making the single genuine. It’s the Taylor Swift I’ve been waiting for.
The organic “Shake It Off” is a single she needed to have, defying the pigeonhole.