Over the past few months the world has embraced multiple hit songs by young women broadcasting some really positive messages such as: Forget what everyone else is saying and doing, be comfortable in your own skin, and have fun! Our favorite two songs of the moment are the body-positive “All About the Bass” by newcomer (and 20-year-old!) Meghan Trainor, and the anthemic “Shake it Off” by good ol’ Taylor Swift, which encourages individualism and being able to make fun of yourself even while surrounded by all of the “cool” kids.

Taylor Swift reaching awkwardly in scene in music video that looks like a Gap ad.

Taylor Swift dramatically reaching for connection in a Gap ad-like scene from her music video “Shake it Off.”

Both videos are great, but we’re going to focus on Taylor Swift’s fun, upbeat pop video because Jeff Cronenweth’s stunning cinematography and Mark Romanek’s direction took the cake.

According to Romanek, Swift came up with the concept for the video, which was to show kids who are made to feel awkward by the “cool” kids that they are actually cooler than the “cool” kids. They can express themselves freely through mediums like dance because they’re not afraid of looking awkward–they area already looked upon as awkward–so they’re the ones having the most fun! It’s that freedom to have fun and be who you are that makes life worth living. Even Swift gets that.

Taylor Swift is quoted in Rolling Stone as saying, “One thing I learned in this whole process is you can get everything you want in your life without ever feeling like you fit in. Selling millions of records doesn’t make me feel cool – it makes me feel proud and I have a lot of people on my side and I’ve worked really hard.” Pretty self aware for a 24-year-old girl with more money than she knows what to do with.

Taylor Swift Dressed as Cheerleader

Taylor Swift dressed up as an awkward cheerleader in her “Shake it Off” music video.

In the video, Taylor tries to capture the awkwardness we’ve all felt by dancing in a variety of genres alongside professionals, kind of fumbling her way through it all with a smile on her face and a sense of resilience about her. Throughout the course of the video, Taylor plays a perfectly costumed ballerina, 90’s hip hop dancer, what looks like a model in a gap ad, and a few other characters. She doesn’t fit in, she gets frustrated, but she decides to just dance!

As viewers, we loved the slow mo sequences that captured the intricacies of each form of dance, as well as Cronenweth’s expert framing that probably took more takes than we want to know. Props to Paul Martinez in the editing room for sorting through all of the gorgeous footage and constructing a captivating and cohesive story. The unnamed colorist also deserves huge recognition.

Overall, the music video looked like a blast to produce.

Bravo, team!