‘Gorgeous’ survival guide: Taylor Swift’s producers are melting into the same person (and it’s the wrong person)

Taylor Swift has a new song and Aaliyah doesn’t need to worry about ceding the throne for pop songs with talking babies in them.

“Gorgeous,” the third song released off next month’s “Reputation,” is OK. It’s a song with a good verse, a very good pre-chorus and a wildly forgettable chorus. It probably ranks third of the releases thus far, with “Look What You Made Me Do” astonishingly still having yet to be surpassed.

At first, it seemed that LWYMMD was the latest use of Swift’s “put out a lesser song first, then wow them with the second single,” trick. Two songs later, we’re still kind of waiting to be wowed. If anything, maybe this is a longer con than we expected and she’s using all off the songs released before Nov. 10 to throw us off.

Either way, we’ve heard something like a quarter of the album so far without getting an “I Knew You Were Trouble” quality cut. Instead, we’re left to pick apart songs that take the listener by surprise. I’m not ruling out that being the play either. Girl’s keeping the Ringer in business.

But about the song:

IT WORKS BACKWARDS DYNAMICALLY

Typically, you add things as the song progresses. Martin and Shellback do the opposite here, which is cool.

“We Are Never Getting Back Together” serves as a good example as the norm. The verse is a single-tracked vocal, then thickens to double-tracked (two vocal tracks singing the same thing) in the prechorus, then gets really big vocally in the chorus (in this case, with a gang vocal).

In “Gorgeous,” however, the opposite occurs. The vocal begins with a two-part harmony in the verse, then goes to one line double-tracked, then to one one single-tracked in the pre-chorus. The chorus goes in and out of octaves and harmonies, which feels bigger because even though the song had a good amount going on vocally right off the bat, the chorus is coming off a lower point dynamically.

This is a method similar to one used by Martin in “Can’t Feel My Face.” The beat drops out in the second half of the second pre-chorus after a really big verse, making the second chorus feel huge all over again.

THE LYRICS ARE TRASH LMAO

Yeah, you can’t rhyme a word with itself unless you’re trying to get people to really focus on the lyric. When you do, you should be saying something interesting. “I can’t say anything to your face/‘Cause look at your face” doesn’t really do it.

‘CEPT FOR THE CATS BAR

Taylor Swift is the Jerry Orbach of pop music. She loves her clever little lines. Among them:

– “Who’s Taylor Swift, anyway?”
– “Like, ever.”
– “This. Sick. Beat.”
– “‘Cause darling, I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.”

And, most underrated of all, the LWYMMD “Whaaat?”

This song is no different, except she basically builds and entire section around delivering it. The bridge, which continues the annoying trend of overdone triplets in pop songs (save it for something good!), sets up:

There’s nothing I hate more than what I can’t have
Guess I’ll just stumble on home to my cats
Alone, unless you wanna come along, oh!

Coming from the world’s biggest dog lover and cat hater, if you can’t enjoy those lyrics, you simply aren’t any fun.

SPEAKING OF FUN …

Jack Antonoff is taking over the world. Seriously. Know how I know? Because he didn’t even produce this song and all you can talk about after hearing this song is Jack Antonoff.

This song sounds remarkably Antonoffian, yet he isn’t involved in it at all. It’s electro-pop/MPC heaven.  Antonoff’s all about that life. The drums aren’t as huge as they might be in a Bleachers song, but St. Vincent’s new album and LWYMMD have shown that Antonoff’s willing to reign that in a bit in favor of a tighter hip-hop beat.

It speaks to Antonoff’s hold on pop music that Martin and Shellback, who have never had to answer to anyone, are now starting to take after the relatively new kid on the block. The pre-chorus is classic Martin between its instrumentation and beat (both calling back to “Blank Space”), but the bones of the song production-wise are Antonoffian.

As someone who is Concerned About Too Much Jack Antonoff, this is troubling. Antonoff’s recent work has been better and better, but he’s still mostly got just one sound. There’s already too much of it without the best pop producers in the world mimicking it.

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