On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Taylor Swift – Shake It Off (2014)
” Shake It Off” is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was written by Swift and its producers, Max Martin and Shellback. “Shake It Off” is an uptempo dance-pop song featuring a saxophone line in its production. The lyrics are about Swift’s indifference to her detractors and their negative view of her image.
We’re leaving the UK behind, dear reader, and returning to the US to hang out with a solo artist none of us have heard of. Please note the hint of irony in that last sentence. Born in Pennsylvania, Taylor Swift began her career in country music circles before transitioning to the world of pop in 2012 with her fourth album, Red. When we join Swift in 2014 she has released her fifth album, 1989, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Shake It Off.
Taylor Swift co-wrote Shake It Off as a commentary on the media scrutiny she had endured up to this point as a rising star in the music industry. Swift observes how aspects of her life lead to criticism such as seemingly having many partners and that the media decides who and what she is rather than her having a say in the matter. Swift hits back by arguing there is a lot more to her than what the media says and that as far as their criticism is concerned, she just shakes it off and forgets about it, for they are not worth her time and consideration. It’s a song about letting go of the negativity others create around you and being yourself.
Many people have heard of Taylor Swift, including me, which indicates how far her global reach is. I am not well versed in Swift’s music though but have come across Shake it Off before. The song has a good message at its core but is quite repetitive at times and did divide the critics upon release with some lamenting the lyrics as weak by Swift’s high standards. As the song advises, Swift shrugged off any complaints and today stands as one of the biggest stars in the world.
Favourite songs so far: