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...Ready For It?

Single | reputation (2017)

The album opener of Taylor’s sixth studio album reputation (2017), “…Ready for It?”, is an electropop and industrial pop song, with elements of tropical house, dubstep and trap music. Lyrically, it revolves around a subject whom Taylor names a “killer”, using Hollywood imageries such as a bank heist, going undercover, ransom and jail.

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.

Release

Taylor had first teased a portion of “…Ready For It?”, along with “Look What You Made Me Do“, on September 2, 2017, during ABC‘s “Saturday Night Football” broadcast of the Florida State vs. Alabama game. It was later used in the introduction to every “Saturday Night Football” game on ABC. The same day, she announced the song would be included on her upcoming album, reputation, and confirmed its release as a promotional single. It was made available for digital download as part of the pre-order of the album on September 3, 2017. It impacted contemporary hit radio on September 17, 2017. A remix for “…Ready For It?” featuring American musician BloodPop was released on December 10, 2017. It received positive reviews from critics.

Lyrical Theme

“…Ready For It?” was written from the point of view of the dark alter ego Taylor created for reputation. Lyrically, it revolves around her fantasies about an individual whom she describes as a “killer” who has had multiple relationships and is “younger than her exes” but “acts like such a man”. These fantasies include “holding him for ransom”, committing a bank heist together, moving to a secret offshore location and being held in jail. Taylor uses images of Hollywood romance, islands and going undercover so that “no one has to know”. She also addresses the perception of her own romantic history by comparing herself to Elizabeth Taylor and her lover to Richard Burton.

«It introduces a metaphor you may hear more of throughout the rest of the album, which is this Crime and Punishment metaphor, where it talks about robbers, and thieves, and heists, and all that. And I found that to be a really interesting metaphor, but twisted it in different ways throughout the album. The way that it's presented in '…Ready For It?' is basically, finding your partner in crime, and it’s like ‘Oh my God, we’re the same, we’re the same, oh my God! Let’s rob banks together, this is great!'»

Taylor Swift

Music Video

The music video was filmed on the day of the solar eclipse in the US — August 21, 2017. It was directed by Taylor’s frequent collaborator Joseph Kahn and was filmed at the Hawthorne Plaza Shopping Center in Hawthorne, California. It features homage references to sci-fi and anime, including Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, Ex Machina, Tron, Sailor Moon and Species. It earned 20.4 million views in its first 24 hours.

«She called me up and pretty much had the idea mapped out in her head. It’s almost like she gave me a gift, because what she was thinking was right up my alley in terms of my fascination with Japanese pop culture and sci-fi.»

Joseph Khan

Live Performances

Taylor performed “…Ready for It?” for the first time during an episode of the 43rd season of Saturday Night Live on November 11, 2017, alongside an acoustic version of “Call It What You Want“. The song was the first song performed every night at her “reputation Stadium Tour” (2018).

Critical Reception

“…Ready for It?” received positive reviews from music critics, calling it an improvement from Taylor’s previous single, “Look What You Made Me Do”. Tom Breihan of Stereogum said the songwriters “made something ungainly and goofy, something that was probably a terrible idea, and they still made it sound like towering, colossal pop music”. Patrick Ryan of USA Today expressed some scepticism concerning Taylor’s rapping, but noted the contrast between the “anthemic chorus” and “dark”, intense verses made for a “promising second glance on her reputation era“. Richard He wrote for Billboard that “Swift has never sung more expressively, nor sounded more in tune with the way modern pop production uses the voice as an instrument” and that the song’s chorus has “one of the prettiest melodies of her career”.

Commercial Performance

In the United States, “…Ready for It?” debuted and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Taylor’s 22nd top 10 song and her fourteenth top 10 debut on the chart, the most among female artists and second most overall behind rapper Drake. It also became her 13th No. 1 song on the Billboard Digital Song Sales chart with opening sales of 135,000 copies, entered the Billboard Streaming Songs chart with 19 million streams in its first week of availability, and opened at 35 on the Billboard Pop Songs chart with a radio audience of 13 million. On other Billboard charts, “…Ready For It?” peaked at No. 12 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, No. 10 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, and No. 26 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

In Canada, the song peaked at No. 7. It opened atop the digital sales chart, dethroning the single from reputation, “Look What You Made Me Do”. Likewise in the UK, it also peaked at No. 7, while in Scotland and New Zealand, it peaked at No. 3 and No. 9 respectively.

In Australia, “…Ready for It?” entered at its peak position of No. 3 on the ARIA Singles Chart, becoming her 12th top five entry in the nation.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Knew he was a killer first time that I saw him
Wonder how many girls he had loved and left haunted
But if he’s a ghost then I can be a phantom
Holdin’ him for ransom, some
Some boys are tryin’ too hard, he don’t try at all though
Younger than my exes but he act like such a man, so
I see nothing better, I keep him forever
Like a vendetta-ta

[Pre-chorus]
I, I, I see how this is gon’ go
Touch me, and you’ll never be alone
I-island breeze and lights down low
No one has to know

[Chorus]
In the middle of the night, in my dreams
You should see the things we do, baby
In the middle of the night, in my dreams
I know I’m gonna be with you, so I take my time
Are you ready for it?

[Verse 2]
Knew I was a robber first time that he saw me
Stealing hearts and running off and never saying sorry
But if I’m a thief then he can join the heist
And we’ll move to an island, and
And he can be my jailer, Burton to this Taylor
Every love I’ve known in comparison is a failure
I forget their names now, I’m so very tame now
Never be the same now, now

[Pre-chorus]
I, I, I see how this is gon’ go
Touch me and you’ll never be alone
I-island breeze and lights down low
No one has to know (No one has to know)

[Chorus]
In the middle of the night, in my dreams
You should see the things we do, baby
In the middle of the night in my dreams
I know I’m gonna be with you, so I take my time
Are you ready for it?
Oh, are you ready for it?

[Bridge]
Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin
Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin

[Pre-chorus]
I, I, I see how this is gonna go
Touch me and you’ll never be alone
I-island breeze and lights down low
No one has to know

[Chorus]
In the middle of the night, in my dreams (My dreams)
You should see the things we do, baby (Baby, hmm)
In the middle of the night, in my dreams (My dreams)
I know I’m gonna be with you, so I take my time
In the middle of the night

[Outro]
Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin
Are you ready for it?
Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin
Are you ready for it?

General Information
Albumreputation
ReleasedSeptember 3, 2017
Recorded2017
GenreElectro Pop
Industrial Pop
Tropical House
Length3:28
LabelBig Machine Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Max Martin
Shellback
Ali Payami
ProducersMax Martin
Shellback
Ali Payami
REPUTATION CHRONOLOGY
…Ready For It?End Game
Single Certification
Single Artwork
Handwritten Lyrics
Music Video
Live Performance
Official Audio
Official Remix