Last week, a new commercial for Apple Music featuring Taylor Swift went viral. In the commercial Taylor Swift hate cardio and looks to Apple Music playlists to ease the pain of her work. She quickly is drawn to Drake and Future’s single, “Jumpman” and while running raps along with the song. In the process, she is presumably too distracted by how into the song she gets and as a result falls down, face-first onto the treadmill. The video echoes the discussion we had last week in which we discussed blackness as the backdrop to provide spaces for white emotion. As Swift works out, she listens to Drake and Future. She knows all the words. The music is used in a way to authorize and legitimize her in the commercial and also her star image that lives beyond this commercial. But Taylor Swift gets too into the music and falls straight on her face. A footnote to her “Shake it Off” music video, Taylor Swift uses her star image to align her whiteness as a form of disconnect from the body and awkwardness. The music is aligned with the physical. The physical that Taylor Swift just can’t do.
Also, an interesting note on just Taylor Swift in general. But Swift’s partnership with Apple comes with some controversy. After splitting ties with Spotify over artist payments, Taylor Swift also expressed disappointment with Apple music as well. In June 2014, she wrote an open letter to anyone who is signing up for Apple Music’s free trial stating: “I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company." Apple Music quickly changed gears. And now Taylor Swift is doing commercials with them. I mention this because I’m always interested in stars that not only align themselves with consumerism but at same time try to promote their own moral standards about consumerism.
I don’t like Taylor Swift and I haven’t liked her since “Teardrops on My Guitar”….when she had that long curly hair and pretended she was sourthern. She’s not southern. She grew up in Pennsylvania. I think Taylor Swift is someone who is increasingly selective about the causes she will passively align herself with and then the causes that she will actively speak about on her platform. You take her donation but lack of public response to Kesha’s trial, her Twitter account, her “Wildest Dreams” music video. I think increasingly she has a tone-deaf social media presence that doesn’t seem to help her public persona and frankly increasingly confuses me about what causes or opinions she even has to some extent. But the end of the day, I don’t care about Taylor Swift so much as I care about the fractured and unauthentic messages about feminism she has come to represent for a whole new generation of young people.
Taylor Swift's Apple Music commercial: