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Taylor Swift's 'Midnights' single 'Anti-Hero': Why did it hit a nerve?

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Taylor Swift revealed little about her 10th studio album “Midnights” before its release on Friday – she didn’t sit down for any interviews and gave her the usual cryptic hints about what fans can expect. However, over the past few weeks, the pop megastar has posted several short Instagram videos with brief descriptions of certain songs. One of the songs was “Anti-Hero,” written by Swift and her co-producer and longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff.

“Track 3, ‘Anti-Hero’ is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. I don’t think I’ve gone into this much detail about my insecurities before,” said Swift, adding that he faced challenges in a life that had become “unmanageable” because of his reputation. “It doesn’t sound too dark, but I struggle with the idea of ​​not feeling like a human being.”

At this point Swift immediately added, “Don’t feel so bad about me – you don’t need it. But you know, this song is a true guided tour of all the things I really hate myself. We all hate things about ourselves. … That’s why I love ‘Anti-Hero’ so much because I think he’s really honest.”

How has searching for clues in Taylor Swift’s music become an all-consuming task?

This may have been an understatement. “Anti-Hero”, the album’s official lead single, with a music video premiering on Friday morning, is a true anthem of self-loathing and kicks off Swift’s deepest insecurities with the line: “I have this thing where I got it. It’s older but never smarter. ” The song instantly got on the nerves among listeners, despite the social media explosion of reactions to the album overnight.

One of the most quoted lines instantly: “When my depression works the graveyard shift, it’s my afternoons at midnight / All the people I’ve dreamed of just standing there.” Although Swift has openly talked about going through tough times like thinking her career was over in 2016 after the internet branded her a “snake,” she never used the phrase “depression”—often talking about “low times” or “bad times.” ” understands. It was a new level of intimacy for Swift from an album that was pretty dark music, as many critics agreed with early reviews.

“It’s me, hello, it’s me, it’s me,” she sings in a chorus that will pop into your head instantly. “I will look directly at the sun but never in the mirror / It must be tiring, always rooting for the anti-hero.”

The lyrics contain another classic Swift riddle: You have no idea what he’s singing about, but you also probably know there’s a deeper meaning to what you’re missing that you’ll probably figure out later when he drops a clue or sneaks it. Message. In “Anti-Hero” the honor was along the lines of “Sometimes I feel like everyone is a hot babe / And I am a monster on top”.

Superstar Taylor Swift’s tenth album “Midnights” will be released on October 21. The album will contain a series of hidden meanings linked to his love of numerical symbolism. (Video: Allie Caren/The Washington Post, Photo: Sarah Hashemi/The Washington Post)

People on social media were lost trying to understand what the phrase “everyone is a hot babe” might mean: Is this a inside joke? A veiled insult? A reference to the 2011 episode of “30 Rock”, which mocks the idea that men are attracted to women who act young and helpless, whom Cristin Milioti describes as “a very sexy babe”?

The internet was stunned, and the song was captioned, “Did you hear that she disguised my implicit narcissism as lightly altruistic / Some kind of congressman?” with more mysteries. Not to mention the verse where Swift confesses, “I’m having a dream, my daughter-in-law is killing me for money / she thinks I left them in a will”. Swift previously described the album as “stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life,” and those words definitely sound like restless and paranoid thoughts running through one’s mind in the middle of the night.

Still, despite its dark message and confusing lyrics, Swift wants the world to pay special attention to “Anti-Hero” – not only the lead single, but also swapped her Twitter and Instagram bios for reading right after the album’s release. , “The problem is mine, mine.” Fans know he might eventually release a detailed explanation of what exactly he means in the song, or leave it a mystery forever – with Swift there really isn’t anything in-between.

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