At last year's MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye West stole the microphone as Taylor Swift took the stage to accept the "Best Female Video" award, saying that Beyonce was more deserving of the honor. It was a jarring moment for the 19-year-old Swift — the first time her "air of invincibility had been punctured," as The New York Times put it — and an influential one. Swift revisits the incident in "Innocent," a song from her hotly anticipated new album, Speak Now. Did the incident, as some say, ultimately boost her career? (Watch Kanye West discuss the incident)
Yes, it introduced her to a new audience: "The Kanye incident brought attention to Taylor, to an audience that did not really know her or her music," says Scott Borchetta, the president of Swift's label, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal. "And when they did check it out, they discovered that they really liked it."
"Did the Kanye West incident help Taylor Swift's career?"
It inspired her artistically: Swift's song "Innocent" deals directly with the Kanye flap, and "it is a small masterpiece of passive-aggressiveness, a vivisection dressed up as a peace offering," says Allison Stewart in The Washington Post. Throughout the album, there's a "heavy emphasis" on settling the score with a number of real-life figures, and the result is "ridiculously entertaining."
"'Speak Now': Taylor Swift doesn't hold her peace on Kanye West, John Mayer"
No, it just inspired Swift to keep pouting immaturely: Swift had two good alternatives: Laugh off the incident or "stop talking about it," says Thomas Conner in The Courier-News. But "to keep pouting about that moment, unfortunate for both of them — and to write, perform, record, and sell a weak and self-righteous song about it — just drags out the embarrassment." "Innocent" is one of the worst tracks on a record that makes you wonder: "Is this an album or somebody’s Facebook wall?"
"Swift’s lastest CD a romantic tell-all"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- 10 things you need to know today: November 27, 2014
- How to stop Black Thursday — and still score that big screen
- How to deep fry a turkey
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- Don't argue about politics this Thanksgiving. Just don't.
Subscribe to the Week