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That Taylor Swift — she always has a surprise up her fluttery sleeves. On April 12, she startled fans by nonchalantly posting on Instagram that she’d be dropping an unexpected cover single on Spotify, along with an alternate version of “Delicate.”
Swift tends to be selective with her recorded cover songs, so any one she decides upon would be an event. However, she went right for the top of the classics heap, opting to tackle one of the most recognizable soul-funk jams in history: Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.”
That’s quite a thing to attempt, and attempt it she did, turning the 1978 dance-floor staple into a country-tinged, banjo-laced exercise, getting back to her Nashville roots.
The song, which features Maurice White’s famous “ba-dee-ya” chorus, is written flexibly enough to be catchy even in a completely different form. The lyrics are right up Swift’s alley — full of romance, souls singing, and cloudless days. And she even added a cute little personal twist, changing the line “Do you remember the 21st night of September?” to “28th night,” which hardcore Swifties quickly identified as the starting date of her relationship with boyfriend Joe Alwyn.
However, social media reacted strongly, and, well, Swift-ly, with considerable questioning of whether it was disrespectful for the singer to mess around with a soul catalog treasure.
And, of course, there were those who simply thought the version was just plain bad.
Imagine being at the cookout and “September” comes on and your niece yells out “that’s that Taylor Swift song”.
— Tro’ (@Trojuan_) April 13, 2018
I have to feel like even the people around Taylor Swift thought a "September" cover was a bad idea, so they dropped it in the middle of April.
— Frank Bello (@porquesoybello) April 13, 2018
Taylor Swift's cover of "September" makes me want to ban artists from doing bad things.
This is a bad thing.
— Matthew Tobin (@Miami_or_bust) April 13, 2018
Why tf did Taylor Swift do a country bumpkin cover of SEPTEMBER by Earth, Wind & Fire?
— Cynthia (@CynthiaLee97) April 13, 2018
I do not have words for the atrocity that is Taylor Swift's "September" cover. Why, WHY, would you turn one of the tightest, most fun funk songs of all time into a whispery acoustic Starbucks jam session? You monster.
— (((Jess Morgan))) (@JessAMorgan89) April 13, 2018
Per usual, however, Swift also had her share of defenders, who dismissed the idea of disrespect and/or thought the cover wasn’t half-bad.
people hating on taylor swift for covering EWF's september saying she ruined and disrespect the song need to see their doctor asap
— irene (@winterkaks) April 13, 2018
Didn't know why so much heat on @taylorswift13 #September cover. As I REALLY love its EW&F original I found Taylor's version not quite bad tho. A banjo and the country flavor never ruin the song. #TaylorSpotifySingles
— ラフィザル / Rafizal (@RafizalMUFC) April 13, 2018
Despite that, we’re betting that Swift doesn’t attempt “Boogie Wonderland” any time soon.
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