Early this morning Taylor Swift released a cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s seminal disco classic 'September'. In a misguided move that demonstrates a troubling lack of self awareness, Swift has come into the firing line.
Swift offers a stripped back acoustic version of the highly strung original. She breathily sings over banjos, taking the song in an awkwardly country direction. But what was probably intended to be received as a tender reinterpretation of the hit, casting it in a never-before-seen light, has ended up falling flat.
She could have taken this cover in any direction: a synthy and overproduced number like those found in her most recent album reputation; or a heavy rock anthem like she introduced in RED; or even a cut and dry pop song reminiscent of 1989.
But what Swift ultimately produced was a lifeless shell of the classic, masquerading as a nostalgic love song of Swift’s early days. This reworking, better suited to open-mic-night at the local than an international superstar, probably wouldn’t even had made the B side of her debut album.
Swift has misread the room, and produced the song that no one was asking for.
It’s Swift’s whimsical self awareness that’s perhaps her greatest strength. Evident in the self parody pop chart topper ‘Blank Space’ and littered throughout the hits on reputation, it now seems to have gone out the window.
She has, however, done well to prove that anything can be transformed into a soulless yet inoffensive breakup record, if you try hard enough.
Image: Eva Rinaldi