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"Me!" (stylized in all caps) is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie, the lead vocalist of Panic! at the Disco. It was released by Republic Records[1] on April 26, 2019, as the lead single from her seventh studio album, Lover (2019). It is Swift's first single after signing with Republic Records. The song was written by Swift, Joel Little and Urie, and produced by Little and Swift.

"Me!"
Taylor Swift - Me!.png
Single by Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco
from the album Lover
ReleasedApril 26, 2019 (2019-04-26)
Format
Studio
Genre
Length3:13
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Joel Little
  • Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Getaway Car"
(2018)
"Me!"
(2019)
"You Need to Calm Down"
(2019)
Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco singles chronology
"Roses"
(2018)
"Me!"
(2019)
Music video
"Me!" on YouTube

Promotion

On April 13, 2019, a countdown to midnight on April 26 appeared on Swift's website, leading to speculation about the release of new music.[2] On April 25, various news outlets reported that a mural of a butterfly in The Gulch neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee, painted by street artist Kelsey Montague,[3] was connected with the upcoming release.[4] A crowd of several hundred gathered at the mural as the word "Me!" was added to it by Montague.[4][5] While Montague was initially told that the mural was commissioned as promotion for ABC, ESPN and the 2019 NFL Draft,[6] Swift appeared at the mural and revealed that it was in fact part of her countdown promotion and that she would be interviewed by Robin Roberts during the NFL Draft broadcast with further information.[7] At the interview she confirmed the release of a new song and music video at midnight, sharing the title as well as the feature from Urie.[8]

Composition

"Me!" is a bubblegum pop[9] and synth-pop song[10] which was written by Swift, Joel Little of Goodnight Nurse and Urie of Panic! at the Disco, and produced by Little and Swift. The night before the release of "Me!", a screenshot of the YouTube video upload screen was leaked with the track being filed under alternative and punk.[11] In an interview with Robin Roberts, Swift described the song as about "embracing your individuality and really owning it",[12] saying that "with a pop song, we have an ability to get a melody stuck in people's heads, and I just want it to be one that makes them feel better about themselves, not worse".[13]

The song is performed in the key of C major in common time with a tempo of 91 beats per minute. It follows an I–vi–IV–V chord progression known as the '50s progression (in C major, this is C–Am–F–G). The song's vocals span from F3 to E5.[14]

On August 21, 2019, it was reported that the lyric "Hey, kids, spelling is fun!" was removed from the Apple Music version of the song.[15] On Spotify, the lyrics were retained in the single version but were removed in the album version.[16] The Lover CD also removes the lyric.

Critical reception

"Me!" received mixed reviews from music critics. Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield called the song "campy", "bubbly" and "a totally canonical Taylor Lead Single".[17] Rob Harvilla of The Ringer opined "'Me!' is a cloyingly goofy Disney-pop confection with an earworm chorus and a certain try-hard insidiousness to it".[18] Writing for Billboard, Jason Lipshutz stated that it "is similarly shiny, and the tongue-in-cheek self-assessment of 'Blank Space' shows up in the verses, but it's also much more broad, way more cheerful and delivered without an ounce of sarcasm or snark".[19] Forbes' Hugh McIntyre wrote that it "isn't just a pop song, it's the momentary escape we all need".[20] Erin Vanderhoof of Vanity Fair called it "pretty anodyne but catchy" and praised the collaboration between Swift and Urie.[21] Roisin O'Connor of The Independent wrote that "Swift once again proves her mastery of the infectious pop hook in one of the most drastic reinventions of her career to date".[22] In an article titled "'ME!' Is Everything Wrong With Pop", The Atlantic's Spencer Kornhaber wrote that the song "has almost none of the elements that once made [Swift] interesting, but it does have a dolphin screech for a chorus".[23] Writing for Pitchfork, Anna Gaca stated that it "is a showcase for the worst and weakest aspects of Swift’s work", and added "it is not hard to write a better song than this".[24]

NME's Rhian Daly wrote that the lyrics of "Me!" "are just surface messaging about self-love and acceptance, the kind of hollow #positivity that is slapped on greetings cards and slogan t-shirts and sold as empowering".[25] Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Mikael Wood stated that the song features "her weakest lyrics ever" and that "nothing about this song advances our thinking about Swift".[26] Slate's Carl Wilson called it "fluffy and immaterial", adding that Swift and Urie "just traipse through a kiss-and-make-up number out of a teen musical".[27] Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Kate Solomon opined that "she's concocted what might be her most pop song to date", and went on to say that "the low point might be Swift shouting out, 'Spelling is fun, kids!' like a manic summer camp counsellor because she's noticed that 'you can't spell awesome without me'".[28] The Spinoff's Alice Webb-Liddall wrote "I was prepared to like it until Taylor yelled 'Spelling is fun' and from that point in the video I felt a little bit sick".[29] Matthew McAuley from the same magazine opined that Urie "pulled out all of the stops to try and ruin this one".[29] Writing for The Independent, Alexandra Pollard stated that the song is "so blandly uncontroversial that there is literally nothing to say about it", and that it "has proven something of a damp squib".[9]

Commercial performance

The song broke four Amazon Music records that includes most first-day streams, most first-week streams and most on-demand voice requests with Alexa of a single debut on the platform.[30] On Spotify, "Me!" opened at number one on the Global Spotify charts with 7.94 million streams dated April 26, 2019,[31] besting her 2017 hit, "Look What You Made Me Do", which opened with 7.90 million streams dated August 25, 2017.[31]

In the United States, "Me!" debuted at number 100 on the Billboard Hot 100 based solely on its first three days of radio airplay, with 36.9 million in radio audience. In its second week, May 11, 2019, the song jumped 98 spots to number 2 behind Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, becoming the biggest single-week jump in the Hot 100's history, beating the record previously set by Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You", though Clarkson still holds the record for the biggest jump to number one on the chart.[32] The song also debuted atop the US Digital Song Sales chart as Swift's record-extending sixteenth chart topper, with 193,000 downloads sold. The sum was the best opening since Swift's own "Look What You Made Me Do" sold 353,000 in its first week.[32] Me! also debuted at number two on Billboard's Streaming Songs chart. It garnered 50 million US streams within a week. In Canada, "Me!" had a very similar run on the charts as it did in the US. On the Canadian Hot 100, "Me!" opened at number two. On the Canadian Digital Songs Sales chart, "Me!" opened at number one.[33]

On the UK Singles Chart, "Me!" debuted at number 3 behind "Old Town Road", which dropped to number 2, and English rapper Stormzy's "Vossi Bop" which debuted at number 1 the same week. "Me!" also sold 67,000 downloads within its first week in the UK, making it the second biggest female sales debut of the year in the country, behind Ariana Grande's "7 Rings".[34] In Scotland, "Me!" debuted at number one, becoming Swift's fourth chart-topper and twelfth top ten hit in the country.[35] "Me!" opened at number four in Iceland, becoming Brendon Urie's highest-charting single in the country.[36] In Ireland, "Me!" debuted at number five on the Irish Singles Chart on May 4, 2019.[37] "Me!" debuted and peaked at number two on the ARIA Singles Chart dated May 4, 2019, becoming Swift's 17th top ten hit in Australia. "Me!" became Swift's first lead single to not reach number one in Australia since "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" in 2012. Additionally it also topped the ARIA Digital Songs chart. In New Zealand, "Me" debuted at number three on the New Zealand singles charts, tallying Swift's fourteenth and Urie's first top 10 in the country.[38]

Music video

The music video for "Me!" premiered on YouTube at midnight EDT (04:00 UTC) on April 26, 2019, in a live premiere format, prefaced by a Q&A chat in the live chat text with Swift.[39][40] It was directed by Swift and Dave Meyers. On April 27, 2019, it was announced that the music video amassed 65.2 million views within its first day of release, breaking the 24-hour Vevo record previously held by Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next". The video also broke Swift's personal record set in 2017 with the "Look What You Made Me Do" music video, which garnered 43.2 million views on August 28, 2017. "Me!" music video also becomes the most-viewed video in 24-hours by female artist. As of August 2019, the music video has amassed more than 250 million views on YouTube.

Swift has stated that there are multiple Easter eggs in the video, and that there are three levels of them in the video, from most obvious to least obvious, which point to clues about the upcoming album, single, and tour. It was revealed that "You Need to Calm Down", a line Urie says to Swift at the beginning in French, would be the second single, and an "old-timey, 1940s-sounding instrumental version" of the song plays in the background in the same scene.[41] The album title Lover[42] was correctly guessed in advance.[43] Other potential titles that may end up on the album are "Kaleidoscope",[44] "Home"[45] and "Awesome".[46] The portrait of the Dixie Chicks is revealed to be a reference to a collaboration for the song "Soon You'll Get Better" on the album.[47]

The music video received three nominations at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, winning Best Visual Effects.[48]

Synopsis

 
Swift sits on a unicorn-shaped eave as the dress turns into a waterfall. The word "Lover" in the background was an example of easter eggs Swift placed in the video, as it was later revealed to be the album title.

The setting of the video seems to be set within a chrysalis.[49] The music video opens with a snake slithering on a floor which then explodes into a group of butterflies, a probable benchmark to note the end of her previous era, Reputation, where snakes were a motif, and welcoming the inception of the upcoming one.[49] The video pans up to show Swift and Urie engaging in an argument in French, with subtitles provided, in an apartment unit, in which Swift refers to her cats Meredith and Olivia as her "daughters". Swift is wearing a black and white tule dress with floral accents. Swift then leaves the room without Urie and starts singing the song upon closing the door in the hallway. Swift walks down the hallway, and the camera briefly cuts onto a group of framed artwork hung on the apartment of chicks in sunglasses and a portrait of Dixie Chicks during the line "and there's a lot of cool chicks out there". Swift is then seen walking to the lobby accompanied with several thunderclouds, one of which is in the form of a snake that tries to swallow her up but turns to dust upon doing so. The video cuts to a scene where a suit-clad Swift dances with her backup dancers, who are holding office bags. Urie looks out onto the street from the apartment and jumps down the balcony on an umbrella Mary Poppins-style wearing a floral print suit.

He lands on the roof of a building with a unicorn-shaped eave, where Swift is seen sitting at the edge with a pink dress that turns to a waterfall. This is where the Lover sign is spotted. Urie then tries and fails to win Swift over with classic and banal items such as a bouquet of flowers and a ring. He then awes her by presenting a cat, which Taylor later adopted as her third pet and named Benjamin Button. The camera cuts to Urie opening his heart, which is revealed to be a kaleidoscope. Swift has revealed on an Instagram livestream that this is a reference to her 2014 song, "Welcome to New York", where she sings "kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats under coats".[50] Urie and Swift then sing on a heart-shaped pinkish-orange stage, joined with a band of angels and go-go dancers wearing 1960s mod style clothing. As the bridge plays, Swift and Urie don blue marching band uniforms and dance with a group of dancers in the same attire, but pink. The video then cuts to a scene of the duo dancing on a floating window with a psychedelic-esque background. The last scene then depicts Swift in a blue attire that melts into what seems to be liquid bubblegum while a running Urie summons the same liquid around the street, like it's rain. The video ends with the duo entering the same apartment building with an umbrella as the bubblegum rain continues on the street in the night.

Reception

The video broke the Vevo record, as well as the YouTube record for most views in the first 24 hours for a lead female video, and the third most-viewed overall earning 65.2 million views.[51] It also broke the Vevo record of the fastest video to reach 100 million views, doing it so in 79 hours.[52]

Chris Willman of Variety described the music video as a "phantasmagorical delight" that induces an instant "sugar rush" in a "bubblegum psychedelia".[53]

Awards and nominations

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2019 Teen Choice Awards Choice Song: Female Nominated [54]
Choice Pop Song Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Collaboration Nominated [48]
Best Cinematography Nominated
Best Visual Effects Won
MTV Japan Video Music Awards Best Female Video – International Won [55]
BreakTudo Awards Boom Video of the Year Pending [56]
People's Choice Awards Music Video of the Year Pending [57]

Live performances

On May 1, 2019, Swift and Urie opened the 2019 Billboard Music Awards with a performance of "Me!".[58][59] On May 21, 2019, Swift and Urie performed the song at the finale of the sixteenth season of The Voice.[60] Swift and Urie also performed the song on June 1, 2019 at the 2019 Wango Tango.[61]

Swift performed a solo version of the song at the finale of the fourteen season of Germany's Next Topmodel on May 23,[62] on The Graham Norton Show in the United Kingdom,[63][64] and at the eighth season of the French version of The Voice along with "Shake It Off" on May 25, 2019.[65][66] On July 10, 2019, Swift performed the song at her headlining Amazon Prime Day concert along with "You Need to Calm Down" and a number of songs from her previous albums.[67] She performed the song along with "You Need to Calm Down" and "Shake It Off" at a Good Morning America concert in Central Park on August 22.[68] On September 9, Swift performed the song at the City of Lover one-off concert in Paris, France.[69]

Usage in media

The song was used in a commercial for Swift's partnership with Capital One.[70]

Track listing

  • CD, digital download and streaming[71]
  1. "Me!" – 3:13
  1. "Me!" – 3:13
  2. "Me!" – 3:13
  1. "Me!" (Billboard Music Awards live rehearsal audio)
  • 7-inch and 12-inch picture disc (Billboard Music Awards live rehearsal audio)[75][76]
  1. "Me!" (Billboard Music Awards live rehearsal audio)

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from liner notes of "Me!" and Tidal.[77][78]

Recording and management
Personnel
  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, producer
  • Joel Little – producer, songwriter, drum programming, guitar, keyboards, record engineering, synthesizer programming, studio personnel
  • Brendon Urie – vocals, songwriter
  • John Rooney – record engineering assistance, studio personnel
  • Serban Ghenea – mix engineering, studio personnel
  • John Hanes – mix engineering, studio personnel
  • Randy Merrill – master engineering

Charts

Chart (2019) Peak
position
Argentina (Argentina Hot 100)[79] 42
Australia (ARIA)[80] 2
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[81] 7
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[82] 20
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[83] 36
Bolivia (Monitor Latino)[84] 7
Brazil (Top 100 Brasil)[85] 87
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[86] 2
Canada AC (Billboard)[87] 2
Canada CHR/Top 40 (Billboard)[88] 4
Canada Hot AC (Billboard)[89] 3
China Airplay/FL (Billboard)[90] 1
Colombia (National-Report)[91] 23
Costa Rica (Monitor Latino)[92] 6
Croatia (HRT)[93] 3
Czech Republic (Rádio Top 100)[94] 6
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[95] 5
Denmark (Tracklisten)[96] 19
Ecuador (National-Report)[97] 1
El Salvador (Monitor Latino)[98] 3
Estonia (Eesti Ekspress)[99] 5
Euro Digital Songs (Billboard)[100] 1
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[101] 16
France (SNEP)[102] 66
Germany (Official German Charts)[103] 12
Greece (IFPI)[104] 4
Guatemala (Monitor Latino)[105] 15
Honduras (Monitor Latino)[106] 10
Hungary (Single Top 40)[107] 1
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[108] 4
Iceland (Tonlist)[109] 4
Ireland (IRMA)[110] 5
Israel (Media Forest)[111] 3
Italy (FIMI)[112] 19
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[113] 6
Japan Combined Weekly Singles (Oricon)[114] 22
Latvia (Latvijas Top 40)[115] 5
Lebanon (OLT20 Combined)[116] 2
Malaysia (RIM)[117] 2
Mexico (Monitor Latino)[118] 2
Mexico (Billboard Airplay)[119] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[120] 17
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[121] 21
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[122] 3
Nicaragua (Monitor Latino)[123] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[124] 9
Panama (Monitor Latino)[125] 9
Peru (Monitor Latino)[126] 19
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[127] 10
Portugal (AFP)[128] 11
Romania (Airplay 100)[129] 67
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[130] 1
Singapore (RIAS)[131] 21
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[132] 9
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[133] 4
Slovenia (SloTop50)[134] 9
South Korea (Gaon)[135] 134
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[136] 36
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[137] 11
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[138] 12
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[139] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[140] 2
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[141] 6
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[142] 5
US Dance/Mix Show Airplay (Billboard)[143] 19
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[144] 8
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[145] 7
US Rolling Stone Top 100[146] 67
Venezuela (National-Report)[147] 10

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[148] Platinum 70,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[149] Platinum 80,000 
New Zealand (RMNZ)[150] Gold 15,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[151] Gold 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[152] Gold 400,000 
United States (RIAA)[153] Platinum 1,000,000 

*sales figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various April 26, 2019 Taylor Swift Productions [154]
Italy Contemporary hit radio Universal [155]
United Kingdom Virgin EMI [156]
United States April 29, 2019 Hot/Modern/AC radio Republic [157]
April 30, 2019 Contemporary hit radio [158]

See also

References

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