Eat your hearts out, Swifties.
The second episode of Saturday Night Live’s forty-fifth season aired this past weekend. With host Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Killing Eve), Taylor Swift found her way to the stage as musical guest. It was Swift’s fourth time filling that role.
Her seventh album, Lover, was released August 23 of this year. Boasting positive reviews, for the most part, the eighteen-track album’s singles include “Me!,” “You Need to Calm Down,” and “Lover.”
Swift performed “Lover” on the show—this solo rendition a piano ballad with something of a Regina Spektor flavor as she belted out amorous lyrics at Studio 8H, amid tones of green and cascading sheet music frozen mid-air.
Next up, Taylor threw the audience a bit of a curveball. Rather than one of the other two singles, Swift performed “False God,” a jazzy number seemingly in conflict with her first song. This one, accompanied by a saxophonist and backup singers, featured Taylor lamenting a relationship as an idolatrous one in a misty field of helix filament light bulbs.
No matter your opinions on the pop superstar, or the pop superstar’s opinions, there’s no denying her magnetism to broad audiences. Even the stripped down versions of these songs are drawing lots of eyeballs. Both will top one million YouTube views by tomorrow, at the latest.
The episode, by the way, was the number two Big Four network program Saturday night, beaten only by the Michigan State/Ohio State college football game, seen on ABC.
SNL has seen a boost in its viewership thanks to its online clips, which are monetized. While that may deprive the show of its traditional appeal (live comedy), the adjustment to a modern audience and how it consumes media has been a wise, albeit inevitable move.
Check out Swift’s two performances below. Careful suppressing your secret fandom; you might get an ulcer.