'This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things' explores that phone call
In one of the most viral moments of Taylor Swift’s longrunning feud with Kanye West, the pop star wrote on Instagram in July 2016 that she “would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009.” But the release of reputation on Friday adds to that narrative — and just might give Swift the last word.
“This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” the 13th song on the pop star’s sixth LP, begins with Swift describing her “Gatsby”-like existence, presumably before Kim Kardashian released edited video clips of West’s phone conversation with Swift about his song “Famous” — you know, the one in which West calls Swift “that bitch” — in July 2016. “So why’d you have to rain on my parade?” Swift sings. “I’m shaking my head/And locking the gates.”
Following an explosive chorus, Swift drops more clues that this song is about West, with whom she became friendly after that MTV VMAs debacle in 2009: “It was so nice being friends again/There I was, giving you a second chance/But you stabbed me in the back while shaking my hand.”
Then we get an explicit mention of the “Famous” phone call: “And therein lies the issue/Friends don’t try to trick you/Get you on the phone and mind-twist you/And so I took an ax to a mended fence.”
Swift’s sharpest criticism might be her swipe about West’s falling out with JAY-Z: “But I’m not the only friend you’ve lost lately/Mm mmm/If only you weren’t so shady.”
The rest of the song is a “Bad Blood”-style bridge-burning featuring a part where Swift alludes to her ever-loyal boyfriend Joe Alwyn; recognizes how her mother, Andrea Swift, had to “listen to all this drama”; and shuts down the idea of another West-Swift reconciliation: “And here’s to you/’Cause forgiveness is a nice thing to do.” After laughing into the mic, Swift drops the melody and speaks: “I can’t even say it with a straight face.”
Swift previously shared two songs widely believed to explore her feud with West: “Innocent,” released after West stormed the stage during Swift’s 2009 VMAs acceptance speech, and reputation‘s lead single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” which appears to reference West and his “tilted stage” from the Saint Pablo Tour.
May drama between these two continue to inspire catchy songs (and Instagram policies).