Art by Sam Woolley

When I first saw the cover of Taylor Swift’s new album Reputation, I thought, is it just me or does this look like a record you’d buy at Hot Topic circa the mid-2ooos? And now that I’ve heard the first single, well, it sure does sound like it.

“Look What You Made Me Do” sounds like a PG-rated Peaches song (I’m so sorry, Peaches) and in it, it’s clear that Swift is reveling in playing the villain everyone wants her to be. But she’s also still sort of playing the victim? You (probably Kanye, but maybe also us) made her do this, you see? I’m just so taken with how Swift is playing the Bad Girl: the dark lipstick, the chain around her neck, ripped clothes, and slicked back hair. The dramatic newsprint crowding the cover (a graphic design move I’d describe as “Livejournal photoshop edit”) seems to suggest she’s the biggest news in 2017.


This vibe feels familiar. Like, Lindsay Lohan Rumors familiar, or Ashlee Simpson’s Autobiography familiar. I mean, the Ed Hardy-approved font was the same on the cover of Simpson’s 2005 record I Am Me. And while this isn’t the first time Swift’s played the villain rather than the victim (she had pictures to burn and blank spaces to fill, remember?) the move reminds me of a recent history of pop good girls-next-door who went bad.

So I present to you a short playlist of these good-gone-bad girls. Some of these transformations seemed to last just for a moment, like Miley Cyrus for example. Others, like in the case of “badgalRiRi,” it felt like we were finally hearing the real Rihanna for the first time. Most of these songs seem to scream “HELLO, IT IS I, POP STAR WHO HAS A BAD SIDE.” “Ain’t you ever see a princess be a bad bitch?” Ariana Grande announces on “Bad Decisions.”

Uh, yes, Ariana. So, so many times!

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel

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