Here is Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” covered by a 50-kid “rock orchestra.” It was not exactly what I went in search of - as with all hyper-compressed contemporary pop-rock hits, I yearn for a meaty but well-considered screamo cover - but man oh man am I happy it exists. It’s such a sharp song, full of discrete sounds, that it doesn’t really make sense for that many guitars and drummers, especially compared to some of their other selections like the already-smeary “Strawberry Field Forever” (though that one’s done by just a regular small combo). Dozens of guitars can’t physically produce the crisp on-off noise we’re hearing in the original. Instead, what we get is remarkably (but unsurprisingly, in retrospect) like a Glenn Branca noise, a toothy cloud of distortions, square waves piled on top of square waves until it becomes round. It makes the song more like the sensation it produces in your head as you hear it, the voice singing it and other voices singing along, the recording itself and all its other possibilities simultaneously. There are lots of other pleasures, too: the synchronized head-bang at the first chorus, the small surprises of the vocal solos, the killer but totally out-of-place Slash guitar solo. A wonderful piece of work.
Swift has partnered up with Papa John’s Pizza and Chegg, a textbook rental company, for the “Taylor Swift On Campus” contest which, through the magic of Facebook “likes” and whatnot, gives the school with the most online votes a concert with Swift. And like a mountain lion eyeing a baby deer, Reddit (along with a collective of trolls) has its sights and its sense of humor set on Swift.