Song: ‘…Ready For It?’
Artist: Taylor Swift
US chart peak: 4
Release date: September 3, 2017
Writers: Taylor Swift, Ali Payami, Shellback, Max Martin
Producers: Max Martin, Shellback, Ali Payami
Quintessential Max moment: The actually rather lovely pre-chorus/final chorus
Video synopsis: Ghost In The Shell (2017) but more basic.
It’s been a bit of an odd 2017 for Max Martin. Maybe it’s just a reflection of this year’s general fuckery, but he’s not exactly had a vintage year at the pop coalface so far (THERE’S STILL TIME MAX, WE BELIEVE IN YOU etc). ‘…Ready For It’ is only his second US Top Ten single of 2017, after Katy Perry’s ‘Chained To The Rhythm‘ peaked at Number 4 way back in February, and after Katy Perry’s ‘Bon Appétit‘ – a song you felt was just a tinker and a tweak away from properly working – glided in at Number 59. 😦
So while ‘…Ready For It?’ gives Max his 68th US Top Ten (!!!), it was also the second song to emerge from Swift’s ‘Reputation’ album as opposed to its lead single (you may have heard about ‘Look What You Made Me Do‘, if not be sure to check it out when you can. There are a couple of articles about it floating around too.) He’s also worked on Pink’s forthcoming ‘Beautiful Trauma’ album and yet the lead single is that wet fart ‘What About Us’, a decidedly not Max Martin lead single. Obviously it’s not written in stone that every lead single from an album should be a Max Martin one, but perhaps the tide is starting to turn ever so slightly.
Anyway, this is all a slightly round about way of saying that ‘…Ready For It?’ is another slightly odd 2017 Max Martin production, and not necessarily odd in a 100% interesting way. As with ‘Bon Appétit’ there are bits of it to love – I really like the massive opening fart noises and those big electronic whiplashes; the “I seeeee” bit in the second part of the verses is really amazing (especially the one that collides with a tiny pause at 1:41); the way that section then flips to become the pre-chorus later is also A* pop jigsaw puzzling and the pre-chorus “In the middle of the night..” section is ‘1989’ levels of melodic majesty. But here’s the rub, as with ‘Bon Appétit’, it takes too long to shuffle the correct pieces into the right order, with that “In the middle of the night” pre-chorus becoming the huge proper chorus around the 2:50 mark, which feels simultaneously exhilarating and frustrating. Pop shouldn’t be frustrating, and it shouldn’t be relying on ‘drops’ for choruses please.
For the record I don’t like the idea or reality of Taylor rapping and the lyrics – typically her strong suit – feel like the least interesting thing happening here. In fact, I’m not particularly interested in finding out what or who or which ‘beef’ they’re about, which is a shame because without that sense of being able to relate you’re sort of just left with some chanting and those big fart noises.
Anyway, it’s going to be an interesting #Q4 one way or another (there has to be a ‘Style’-esque pensive banger on there right? PLEASE GOD MAX, PLEASE).