Current Events/Music/My Culture/Teen Culture Enough With the Drama: Some Thoughts on Taylor Swift by Leah Murphy Taylor Swift, a celebrity genius (a mogul, some might say), has sent shock waves through the world with her sudden drop of “Look What You Made Me Do,” the first single off her new record Reputation, due to drop November 10. There was intrigue, mystery, and endless hype associated with this release for a few reasons: Tay has been pretty MIA for the last few months and hasn’t released any new music since 1989 in 2014. The fans were hungry. The new music was promoted by way of mysterious, intriguing tweets and Instagram posts, which fans were piecing together to speculate what this all could mean. Despite her musical silence, a lot of loud drama has taken place around Ms. Swift’s life, and her fans and critics alike are all curious about what beef she’s going to be addressing in her new music. Drama, Drama, Drama Now, as soon as the (brilliant) promotion of this new music started to surface, I have to admit, I was sucked right in. Was she about to bash on my man, Kanye? (I saw those Yeezy vibes in her album art). Was she going to call Kim out? Would she finally have the last word over Katy? And then, literally minutes before writing this, I saw that post on my Instagram feed announcing the song is out. I listened in an instant. And then I started hearing her lyrics: “I don’t trust nobody, and nobody trusts me/ I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams… look what you made me do.” The song, a very direct anthem of revenge over an enemy, comes from a hardened Taylor (who claims that “the old Taylor is dead”) that might be exactly what the world wants. Am I Living for it? I bought into the hype bigtime. But the more I listened, the more disappointed I became with myself and the sick pleasure I was getting from hearing this new piece of “art.” I was disappointed with myself because I was so sucked into this song, not because I wanted to behold something beautiful, not because it inspired something good within me, not because I was trying to encounter some kind of truth, but because of all the drama surrounding it. I listened to this song the moment it came out and eagerly awaited what was about to unfold because I wanted to know what fight she was going to start, or what beef she was going to end. I was listening to Taylor Swift’s new single because it’s exciting to watch conflict between human beings unfold… so long as it doesn’t involve me. Now I don’t want this into turn into some mushy-gushy, lovey-dovey blog that mindlessly dismisses whatever Taylor may be trying to achieve with this new music. But I will say that living for this conflict that she and other celebs (may I remind you, they are real-life, human people, with feelings, pasts, families, friends, etc.) have brewed, and watching them get burned, hardened, and isolated in the process is not cool. Sure, drama can be thrilling to watch as an outsider, but other than the brief satisfaction I might get out of watching Tay claim her victory over her enemies, what honestly is getting caught up in all this drama going to do to make my life more meaningful? Or am I Living for Love? If you’re like me and are finding yourself buying into the petty fights between celebs, check yourself. Is watching that drama unfold really adding anything to your life? Is art meaningful to you anymore for art’s sake, or only if it’s targeting someone/something? Are you captivated by the the drama because your life is so dull that you need to watch other people publicly tear each other apart to feel entertained? I don’t think that listening to Taylor Swift and enjoying her work requires one to buy into the drama surrounding it. I do think that as Christians, who are called to authentically love in all spheres of our existence, should be challenged to see the humanity behind public pettiness and refuse to let said drama become a source of entertainment for us. The life of a Christian, a life lived in authentic love of Jesus and neighbor, is far too exciting in itself to get caught up in the drama shared among other people, famous or not. So, with all that said, if you haven’t yet, go take a listen to “Look What You Made Me Do,” enjoy it if you want, critique it if you want (charitably); but if you call yourself a Christian, don’t let yourself live for the drama surrounding it. A life lived in authentic love is far more exciting than one that’s waiting for the next Twitter feud to blow up. Appreciate good art. Listen to good music. And live in the love you were made for. Feature image by Paolo Villanueva, used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, logo added.