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Taylor Swift’s new song: about as far as you can get from Reputation

Me! is more chipper and was presented in a wash of opal, spring-time pastels, rainbows, cats and sparkles. As the music video begins, a CGI snake bursts into a swarm of colourful butterflies.

Taylor Swift has released the single Me! from her upcoming seventh studio album.

Taylor Swift has released the single Me! from her upcoming seventh studio album.

On Thursday, Swift surprised fans, who had spun elaborate theories about her promotional breadcrumbs, in front of a butterfly mural by artist Kelsey Montague — packed with “clues about the song and the new music,” Swift said on Instagram — in her adopted hometown Nashville, Tennessee.

“You guys are amazing for figuring this out,” she told those gathered, “because no one knew we were coming, no one knew this was a part of the campaign.”

Swift also appeared briefly at the NFL draft Thursday night, alongside Robin Roberts of ABC. “Me! is a song about embracing your individuality and really celebrating it and owning it,” Swift said. “With a pop song, we have the ability to get a melody stuck in people’s heads. I just want it to be one that makes them feel better about themselves, not worse.”

The video — which features the singer’s pet cats, images of baby chickens in sunglasses and a quick shot of a Dixie Chicks portrait in the background — was directed by Swift and Dave Meyers, who is known for his work with Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliott and Pink.

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Although Swift has hinted that more new music is on the way, she did not provide additional details about a potential new album, which is referred to by savvy fans as “TS7” in lieu of a public title. The singer was scheduled to appear again with Roberts on Good Morning America on Friday, with the show hinting at surprises to come.

Swift announced in November that she had signed a new multi-year, multi-album deal with Universal Music Group and its subsidiary, Republic Records, after more than a decade as the premier artist on the Nashville-based label Big Machine.

As part of the new agreement, Swift will own her master recordings moving forward, and on YouTube, the video for Me! was credited to Taylor Swift Productions Inc.

“I feel so motivated by new opportunities created by the streaming world and the ever-changing landscape of our industry,” she wrote in a statement at the time.

Swift's bubbly new pop song is matched by her pastel-hued presence on social media.

Swift’s bubbly new pop song is matched by her pastel-hued presence on social media.

Cover art for Me!

Cover art for Me!

Swift had previously sparred with streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music over royalty rates, sometimes withholding her songs in protest. But the release of Me! keeps with more recent industry trends and is available across the major services.

While Reputation had a sizable debut, selling more than 1 million copies in its first week, and has since gone three-times platinum, reaching the modern-day equivalent of 3 million albums sold (partially through digital plays), it was received more coolly by critics than much of Swift’s work. At the Grammy Awards this year, Reputation was nominated only for best pop vocal album, losing to Ariana Grande’s Sweetener. Swift has won 10 Grammys in her career, including two for album of the year.

Still, Swift remains a titan of pop. The international Reputation Stadium Tour grossed a reported US$345.7 million across seventh months and led to a Netflix concert film released on New Year’s Eve.

She has appeared recently on the cover of Elle and Time magazines and, in addition to her new music, will co-star in the forthcoming film adaptation of Cats, scheduled for release in December.

New York Times

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