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Don't Blame Me

reputation (2017)

“Don’t Blame Me” is a midtempo synthpop track on Taylor’s sixth album, reputation (2017). Taylor compares being in love to drug addiction. It is rumoured that the song was originally written for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack.

Background

Taylor released her fifth studio album, 1989, in October 2014. Its synth-pop production transformed her sound and image from country-oriented to mainstream pop. The album was a massive commercial success, selling over five million copies in the U.S. within one year, and spawning three Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 singles. The BBC asserted that the success of 1989 solidified Taylor’s status as a global pop star.

In 2016, when Taylor was at the peak of overexposure, some of her rivals in the industry (including Scooter Braun, Kanye West and Justin Bieber) succeded in launching a worldwide hate campaign against her. As a result, Taylor disappeared from public view for an entire year and thought about quitting music for good. She became increasingly reticent on social media, having previously maintained an active presence with a large following, and avoided interactions with the press. She conceived her sixth studio album, reputation, as an answer to the media commotion surrounding her celebrity.

Lyrical Theme and Production

“Don’t Blame Me” is an electropop song with strong elements of EDM and gospel. It features a dark and moody production accompanied by synthesizers, heavy bass, and distorted multi-tracked backing vocals. Taylor’s unapologetic attitude on the song reflected her reputation as a songwriter who mostly wrote about love and past relationships. While talking about “Don’t Blame Me” at the “reputation Secret Sessions“, Taylor explained her concept behind the song.

«Three things can really change someone – love, drugs and religion.»

Taylor Swift
Based on this idea, she was inspired to put these aspects together in a song. Taylor has said that she loves the passion of religious music, so she wanted to include gospel influences near the end of the song. Lyrically, she may possibly be referring to the ‘serial dater’ reputation the media has created for her. She wrote her 2014 song “Blank Space” from the same perspective: the character that the media branded her as. She is claiming that she is mad and insane, that love is her drug, mocking the reputation she has been given by the media. The first part of this lyric can also be a reference to “Blank Space”, which goes:

Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
‘Cause you know I love the players

In addition, Taylor may also have intended to refer to the comic book villain, Poison Ivy, and Daisy, the central love interest of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. They also work together to show the two sides of Taylor’s public image, one of a calculating, evil villainess, and one of a love-struck victim. She has said that the novel also inspired her while writing “Delicate“. Taylor further referenced The Great Gatsby on “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”:

Feeling so Gatsby for that whole year

Critical Reception

In Spin, Monique Melendez opined that “Don’t Blame Me” was the song that represented reputation the best, praising the production and lyrics. Cox Jamieson from Pitchfork called the song a “glittering [monster] held together by Swift’s presence at their center”. Evan Sawdy from PopMatters and Zach Schonfeld from Newsweek deemed the track a highlight on the album.

Commercial Performance

In May–June 2022, almost five years after its release, “Don’t Blame Me” gained traction on the video-sharing app TikTok, which led it to enter various charts. The song peaked at No. 18 in Norway, and No. 33 in Greece and Czech Republic. “Don’t Blame Me” also debuted and peaked at No. 31 in Hungary’s Stream Top 40, No. 49 in Austria, and No. 52 in Slovakia. It debuted at No. 46 in Australia and at No. 77 in the United Kingdom. The track was certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). The song also charted on the Billboard Global 200 chart at No. 124.

Lyrics

[Chorus]
Don’t blame me, love made me crazy
If it doesn’t, you ain’t doing it right
Lord, save me, my drug is my baby
I’ll be using for the rest of my life

[Verse 1]
I’ve been breaking hearts a long time
And toying with them older guys
Just playthings for me to use
Something happened for the first time
In the darkest little paradise
Shaking, pacing, I just need you

[Pre-chorus 1]
For you, I would cross the line
I would waste my time
I would lose my mind
They say, “She’s gone too far this time”

[Chorus]
Don’t blame me, love made me crazy
If it doesn’t, you ain’t doing it right
Lord, save me, my drug is my baby
I’ll be using for the rest of my life
Don’t blame me, love made me crazy
If it doesn’t, you ain’t doing it right
Oh, Lord, save me, my drug is my baby
I’ll be using for the rest of my life

[Verse 2]
My name is whatever you decide
And I’m just gonna call you mine
I’m insane, but I’m your baby (Your baby)
Echoes (echoes) of your name inside my mind
Halo hiding my obsession
I once was poison ivy, but now I’m your daisy

[Pre-chorus 2]
And baby, for you, I would fall from grace
Just to touch your face
If you walk away, I’d beg you on my knees to stay

[Chorus]
Don’t blame me, love made me crazy
If it doesn’t, you ain’t doing it right
Lord, save me, my drug is my baby
I’ll be using for the rest of my life
Don’t blame me, love made me crazy
If it doesn’t, you ain’t doing it right
Oh, Lord, save me, my drug is my baby
I’ll be using for the rest of my life

[Bridge]
I get so high (Oh!)
Every time you’re, every time you’re loving me
You’re loving me
Trip of my life (Oh!)
Every time you’re, every time you’re touching me
You’re touching me
Every time you’re, every time you’re loving me

[Breakdown]
Oh, Lord, save me, my drug is my baby
I’ll be using for the rest of my life
Using for the rest of my life (Oh-whoa-oh-oh)

[Chorus]
Don’t blame me, love made me crazy
If it doesn’t, you ain’t doing it right (Doing it right, no)
Lord, save me, my drug is my baby
I’ll be using for the rest of my life (Oh-whoa)
Don’t blame me, love made me crazy
If it doesn’t, you ain’t doing it right (You ain’t doing it right)
Oh, Lord, save me, my drug is my baby
I’ll be using for the rest of my life (I’ll be using, I’ll be using)

[Outro]
I get so high (Oh!)
Every time you’re, every time you’re loving me
You’re loving me
Oh, Lord, save me, my drug is my baby
I’ll be using for the rest of my life

General Information
Albumreputation
ReleasedNovember 10, 2017
Recorded2016–2017
StudioMXM (Los Angeles, USA)
MXM (Stockholm, SE)
GenreElectro Pop
Synth Pop
EDM
Length3:56
LabelBig Machine Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Max Martin
Shellback
ProducersMax Martin
Shellback
REPUTATION CHRONOLOGY
I Did Something BadDon’t Blame MeDelicate
Single Certification
Handwritten Lyrics
Making of
Live Performance
Official Audio