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New Yorkers Are Angry With Taylor Swift's Big Apple PR Campaign

New Yorkers Are Angry With Taylor Swift's Big Apple PR Campaign

New Yorkers Are Angry With Taylor Swift's Big Apple PR Campaign

The singer's image is branded with Diet Coke, Target, and now New York City.

One of the new songs on Taylor Swift's soon-to-be-blockbuster fifth album, 1989, features a song called "Welcome to New York" (listen to a preview below). The song, unsurprisingly, is an ode to Swift's adopted home, and NYC and Company — the city's official tourism arm — is now using the tune and Swift's image to promote travel to the city, The New York Times reports.

That would be mostly innocuous except for the fact that much of New York media despises the song, seeing it as a banal depiction of America's largest city (although one with a shout-out to Swift's gay fans):


It’s a new soundtrack I could dance to this beat, beat
The lights are so bright
But they never blind me, me
Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York

When we first dropped our bags
On apartment floors
Took our broken hearts
Put them in a drawer
Everybody here was someone else before
And you can want who you want
Boys and boys and girls and girls


“I’m not sure who comes off worse in this public relations horror: New York City or Taylor Swift," Gawker's Dayna Evans writes. "When affordable housing is near impossible to come by and as monolith branded-cool companies push out arts communities and while entitled rich children run through the streets proclaiming ownership over everything and while minority arrests continue for low-level crimes, the least (or most?) likely choice for the promotion of a city with equal problems and triumphs is a whitebread out-of-towner who says, ‘Hey, don’t think about those scary, unjust things! Let’s talk about that night we stayed out late dancing instead!’”

Likewise, The Village Voice's David Colon writes, “‘Welcome to New York’ celebrates as generic, flat, and lifeless a New York as has ever existed in pop culture. Think about the song, and try to pick out a single detail about the city. You can’t. Replace ‘New York’ in the lyrics with ‘Des Moines,’ with ‘L.A.,’ with ‘Pittsburgh,’ any city you can shoehorn into the beat, and you wouldn’t have to change a single detail. Taylor Swift’s idea of New York is as boring as any rich, sheltered person’s idea about it, but the difference is that most of them don’t get to sing about it.”

Of course, Madonna's "I Love New York" wasn't an opus, but some see Jay-Z and Alicia Keys's "Empire State of Mind" as a more fitting tune for the city, one that depicts Gotham in all its unperfect glory, warts and all; a city that represents opportunity for down-and-out strivers, not just wealthy celebrities.

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Neal Broverman