Taylor Swift was the musical guest on this week’s Saturday Night Live, and after a dull, but album-accurate rendition of “ …Ready For It,” she turned in an acoustic version of “Call It What You Want” that harks back to the glory days of MTV Unplugged. Let’s count the period details:
- She’s playing what looks like a Gibson Everly Brothers flattop, but with the pickguard removed, it looks more like a Gibson Star, ground zero for that 1990s coffee shop sound.
- She’s doubling that with a twelve-string, played by someone who never gets lit properly, for that “my guitar sounds like a many-stringed lyre from heaven above and I alone am playing” sound.
- Are there moving chords with open string drone notes in this arrangement? You bet your Rooster there are!
- Gratuitous strings! Gratuitous strings! Gratuitous strings!
- A mini rock star windmill leading into a musical break that just involves playing the same chords more vigorously.
- Heartfelt lyrics about the tragic death of Eric Clapton’s son at an early age.
Technically, Swift only pulled off the first five, but considering the lyrics she sang included lines like, “All the liars are calling me one,” it might be something to consider the next time she builds this kind of musical time machine. Still, it’s always interesting to hear an elaborately produced pop song stripped to its roots, then elaborately produced all over again in a different style. Maybe she can perform “Look What You Made Me Do” like a Rudy Vallee-style megaphone crooner next!