This extremely striking song from Taylor Swift’s 1989 album was easily the most intense of all her ‘angry’ songs up to that point, making even “Better Than Revenge” look lightweight by comparison. Granted, the lyrics are not up to Swift’s best work and can get a little cheesy, but they are ultimately overpowered by the compelling music, with its quietly intense verses and monstrously epic hook. Unfortunately, the single version dilutes a lot of the impact of the song…Kendrick Lamar, in Swift’s first serious collaboration with a rapper, offers some of his weakest work to date, much of the enraged intensity of the original album version is lost, and the whole thing feels far more conventional than it did on the album. So for all of you who are scoffing at this single for its ridiculous, overhyped music video and its intensely pop feel, listen to the album version before you judge this song.
Verdict: Extremely good for the album version, mediocre at best for the single.