Shake It Off is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her fifth studio album 1989 (2014), marking a rapid departure from her signature country pop musical style in favor of a more radio-friendly format. The song was released as the lead single from the album on August 18, 2014, by Big Machine Records. An accompanying music video directed by Mark Romanek was released on the same day as the songs release.
Swift began teasing about an announcement in August 2014. On August 4, she posted a video on Instagram in which she pushes the number 18 in an elevator. On August 6, she tweeted an image of the time 5:00 and the next day a screenshot from a Yahoo! homepage. She later confirmed on August 13, 2014 on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that a Yahoo! live stream session would take place on August 18, 2014 at 5pm. During the live stream, Swift announced her upcoming fifth album and premiered its lead single.
Shake It Off was written by Swift, Max Martin and Shellback. Produced by Martin and Shellback, it lasts for a duration of three minutes and thirty nine seconds. Musically, Shake It Off is an uptempo pop song that scrapped Swifts traditional country pop musical style in her previous releases. It is instrumented by saxophone; Jason Lipshutz from Billboard compared the songs melody to that of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis song Thrift Shop (2013). A writer from Music Times, meanwhile, likened the song to Pharrell Williams Happy (2013). Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Shirley Halperin labelled Shake It Off an uptempo version of Idina Menzels version of the Disney song Let It Go (2013).
Lyrically, the song is dedicated to Swifts detractors. Swift explained that, Ive learned a pretty tough lesson that people can say whatever they want about us at any time, and we cannot control that. The only thing we can control is our reaction to that. In an interview for Rolling Stone, Swift further elaborated, Ive had every part of my life dissected my choices, my actions, my words, my body, my style, my music. When you live your life under that kind of scrutiny, you can either let it break you, or you can get really good at dodging punches. And when one lands, you know how to deal with it. And I guess the way that I deal with it is to shake it off.
Jason Lipshutz of Billboard wrote that via this song Swift proves why she belongs among pops queen bees: As you may have guessed, the song sounds like a surefire hit. Tarynn Law from The 405 praised the track and characterized the songs hook as poppy and catchy. Shirley Halperin of The Hollywood Reporter gave the song a positive review, describing it as pop-tastic. Alice Vincent from The Daily Telegraph also positively reviewed the song, noting it as a catchy, upbeat track. The Guardians Molly Fitzpatrick also found that the song is catchy but doesnt show off Swifts writing talent.
Writing for The Daily Beast, Kevin Fallon found this new direction of her career is woefully depressing. While he admitted Shake It Off is a great pop song, he said it is the least musically interesting song that Swift has done and its not personal, at least not in the ways we expect from a Taylor Swift song. Fallon deplored Swifts transition to pop in which he felt she abandoned her sound in the process.
Billboard predicted that the song could sell over 500,000 copies during its first week of release and become Swifts second number-one single in the US since We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (2012).
The music video directed by Mark Romanek was released on August 18, 2014, the same day as the songs release. It was shot in June 2014 over three days in Los Angeles. Swift talked about the making of the video,
It was so much fun. I woke up every day of that shoot and couldnt wait to get to set. We had twerking, which was so funny. Those girls were trying to teach me how, and its just never gonna happen. I tried really hard. They were teaching me what they do, and theres like a science to it – theyre like digging their heels into the floor without you seeing their legs move, but their butts moving. Its mind-blowing to me. They were explaining it all to me, and its so above my comprehension of how to understand your body.
The music video for Shake It Off features several references to multiple celebrities, including Swift dressing as Lady Gaga.
According to Music Times, the video features Swift embracing her inner dorky dancer by submerging herself with some of the worlds best dancers in the styles of hip hop, lyrical, ballet, jazz and even cheerleader. The Guardians Sean Michaels also noted the accompaniment of twerkers in the clip. Shake It Off music video also features Swifts fan works and letters on Twitter and Instagram. Critics also noted references to Lady Gaga and Skrillex in the clip. Hugh McIntyre from Forbes noted the references to Gaga, Skrillex, Fergie and Gwen Stefani in Shake It Off video, further writing that it is quirky and hard to dislike.
The video received mixed reviews. Brian Mansfield of the Chicago Sun-Times called the video chirpy. Direct Lyrics provided a positive review saying the video is certainly a fun one and it catches rather well the rebellious and care-free spirit of the new Taylor single. Molly Fitzpatrick of The Guardian wrote: The incongruent blend of modern dance, ballet, and breakdancing is fun, but the conceit falls flat. HitFix deemed the video ill-timed due to the current race relations debate around the Ferguson riots while Jezebel described it as a cringe-worthy mess.
Swift is scheduled to perform Shake It Off for the first time live at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards on August 24, 2014.
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