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What Is Taylor Swift's Problem?

A newly-released cover of Earth, Wind & Fire's iconic "September" returns the 28-year-old to her pop-country roots, and just sort of washes over the listener. The sheer audacity...

I don't know what I expected after I heard that Taylor Swift was going to release a cover of Earth, Wind & Fire's classic "September." Swift, fresh from releasing an inevitably controversial and eventually underwhelming album in Reputation, could have taken it in any number of directions: a bold and bright cover that nodded to the original song's funk rhythms; a Red-style rock anthem that used the chorus to flaunt her vocal chops; maybe even some sort of half-rapped abomination. I did not, for some reason, expect the 28-year-old megastar to return to her pop-country roots, whisper-singing over some gentle banjos, sucking every ounce of life out of the thing. But here we are!


Like my editor-in-chief, I'm taken aback by the sheer audacity of this. Of all the songs in the world, Swift chose this, an immediately recognizable song a million miles away from her wheelhouse that was only ever going to fall flat. After a few listens, it's all the more brazen—a statement that any song, with enough work, can be reduced to a breezy and inconsequential breakup daydream with no blood in its veins. The worst thing is that it isn't even bad in the truest sense—it doesn't offend the ear. It just sort of washes over you. It's there, plucking away, drifting out into the ether, being a Taylor Swift song, lounging on a porch swing in the middle of the day.

Here's a line I didn't hope or expect to use as a blog closer in this or any other lifetime: Listen to Taylor Swift's breezy cover of Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" below. But look at Trey's tweet first:

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