Taylor Swift shakes off negativity

DANIELLE MCGRANE
Last updated 05:00 20/08/2014
Taylor Swift

DANCING ADORKABLY: Taylor Swift in the video to her new single Shake it Off.

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Taylor Swift has learned an invaluable lesson: when life kicks you down sometimes you've just got to dance.

Like many pop stars before her, Swift has penned an anthem, Shake it Off, to busting a move. For Swift, dancing is her therapy in this song - her way to shake off the negative things people say about her.

The singer released the first single of her upcoming album 1989 with a global live-streamed announcement. 

But while she's channelling a new pop sound for her track, from her forthcoming album 1989, her subject matter is as old as the hills.

The young star did admit this new album takes inspiration from 1980s pop music, which makes sense as that was a time when any pop star star worth their salt was singing about dancing.

For Whitney Houston, it was the subject that catapulted her to fame with her 1987 hit, I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).

But it's that message in brackets makes Houston's dancing anthem a far needier affair than Swift's

While Swift is using dancing as her therapy to move on, for Houston it was a siren call - something to help her keep that dreaded loneliness at bay.

"When the night falls, Loneliness calls," she sings.

"I wanna dance with somebody, with somebody who loves me."

Not quite the anthem of female empowerment and independence, but, if the lucky fella comes along, it has the potential to be joyous so we'll forgive her.

For David Bowie, his 1983 hit, Let's Dance, is an invitation but it's not subtle.

"Put on your red shoes and dance the blues," he sings.

Bowie's looking for someone submissive, someone who will wear what he wants and do what he wants.

A year later, and it seems Bruce Springsteen is struggling to pay for his electricity bill in the 1984 hit, Dancing in the Dark - either that or it's a metaphor for something, use your imagination.

"You can't start a fire, You can't start a fire without a spark," he sings.

"This gun's for hire, even if we're just dancing in the dark."

Let's take it forward to Swift's contemporaries.

First up there's Robyn, the Swedish pop star, with her hit from 2010, Dancing On my Own.

It's got that needy quality, reminiscent of Houston's earlier hit.

"I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the girl you're taking home ... I keep dancing on my own," she sings. There's heartbreak a-go-go here, but no empowerment.

And to think, just one year previously, Lady Gaga had used dancing as her therapy.

"Just Dance, gonna be OK," she sang on her 2009 hit called, well, Just Dance.

But Gaga's not caught up in the intoxification of love, her problem is she's had a little bit "too much".

What she's had too much of could be a number of things but one thing is clear, if she just dances she'll be fine.

"Keep it cool what's the name of this club? I can't remember but it's alright, alright," she sings.

Pharrell Williams had more in common with Swift: he used dancing as therapy on his collaboration with Daft Punk,Lose Yourself to Dance.

"I know you don't get a chance to take a break this often I know your life is speeding and it isn't stopping," he sings on the hit from last year.

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Williams' advice when it comes to dealing with this fast-paced world? "Lose Yourself to dance".

This is certainly better than claiming you've got the "moves like Jagger", which Adam Levine so confidently sings in Maroon 5's 2012 hit of the same name.

So Swift is in good company, dance is therapy for the Daft Punkers and Williams too, and that might just be the best medicine for all of us.

Swift has been called out for having awkward dance moves in the past so at least she's embracing it. After all, nobody got the moves like Jagger - I'm looking at you, Levine.

- AAP

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