There is something about chart-hogging singer-songwriter Taylor Swift that brings out the sunny side of even the gloomiest of Gusses. Take, for example, her adorable, “opposites attract”-type friendship with Lorde, currently pop music’s closest equivalent to Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice. You’d normally expect someone like Lorde to be making voodoo dolls or dartboards with Swift’s blonde-maned likeness on them, but instead there are Lorde and Taylor, side by side, in photograph after blissful photograph. Truly, Ms. Swift possesses some weapons-grade level of positivity. And now, YouTuber Isosine has put that positivity to the ultimate test with “Shake It Off (The Perfect Drug),” a mash-up that pairs Swift’s inescapable 2014 anthem with a considerably darker Nine Inch Nails track crafted by Trent Reznor for the soundtrack of David Lynch’s decidedly un-Swift-ian 1997 film Lost Highway.
Here, at last, is a Nine Inch Nails track anyone’s mother could love. Buoyed by the diabolically catchy, vaguely “Footloose”-esque backing track from “Shake It Off,” Trent Reznor sounds like he’s finally ditched all that doom and gloom stuff and decided to get some fresh air and exercise for a change. The lyrics are still predictably grim: “Turn off the sun / Pull the stars from the sky.” That kind of stuff. But now, Reznor seems to be singing these pessimistic words in the middle of a spin class. Such is the power of Taylor Swift. Trent Reznor may have made his bones 25 years ago with an album called Pretty Hate Machine, but everyone knows about Taytay’s breezy dismissal of haters. They’re gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. And Taylor’s going to shake it off.