Taylor Swift sent the Internet into a tizzy on Friday when she released a breathy, folksy cover of Earth, Wind & Fire's 1978 love jam "September" on Spotify.
Her version stripped away away the original's funk-laden sensibility and presented the tune as a slow-burning countrypolitan song.
Covering a beloved song is tricky, and covering a beloved song in a new style is sure to irk some die-hard fans. So criticism was as swift as it was inevitable.
Monique Judge, a columnist for the black culture magazine the Root, took particularly issue with the cover. In a column titled "Taylor Swift Just Disrespected Earth, Wind & Fire With Her Cover of 'September,'" Judge hoped that the song was "some type of messed up Friday the 13th prank."
"There are certain songs you don't mess with, especially if you don't have the range, and we all know Taylor Swift has all the range of a dial tone," Judge wrote.
"Maurice White did not die for this," she added, referring to one of the song's writers, who died in 2016 at the age of 74 due to complications from Parkinson's disease.
Kelsie Gibson of Popsugar offered a defense of the tune, however lukewarm, in a piece titled "Taylor Swift Just Made a Classic Earth, Wind & Fire Song Country, and I Don't Hate It." In the piece, she argued that "While the stripped-down version is a complete 180 from the soul classic, it's also strangely reminiscent of Swift's older country material."
"I have to say, I kinda love it," Gibson added.
The conversation grew more complicated on Twitter, where the song was met with bewildered detractors.
Taylor Swift really ruined an Earth,Wind and Fire song...she literally did the impossible.
— AshTheStampede (@_AshBashCash) April 13, 2018
Y'all have to stop saying Taylor Swift "covered" anything. She did bad karaoke. Let's move on.
— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) April 13, 2018
Raise your hand if you feel personally victimized by Taylor Swift's cover of September pic.twitter.com/CG2qXEVPjU
— Taylor Maycan (@TaylorMaycan) April 13, 2018
Maurice White didn't found one of the greatest soul bands of all time to have Taylor Swift cover one of his biggest hits in mayonnaise and turn it into some ish people sing at open mic night.
This is an abomination. https://t.co/mwyYQMEPlb
— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) April 13, 2018
No one who respects Earth Wind and Fire or funk music would ever cover a song like that with banjos.
No one who loves that song takes a classic and makes it sound like unseasoned chicken.
— Ray (@YarmondShore) April 13, 2018
I didn't think it was possible, but if anyone could take the funk, flavor and pure soul out of an Earth, Wind and Fire record, it would be Taylor Swift. Her "September" cover was the equivalent to green bean casserole prepared by a suburban white mother of four.
— Eferighe (@jman23j) April 13, 2018
"It is with a heavy heart I must announce that I listened to the Taylor Swift cover of September," Connor Finnegan of Inverse tweeted.
One particularly dramatic user said the cover "has killed my spirit!" Another made this bold claim: "Taylor Swift covering September has ruined my Friday."
That said, the cover did have its defenders and they were just as passionate, calling it everything from "hella lit" to "absolutely beautiful" to "Taylor Swift's greatest cover of all time."
One user wrote that the song "hit me in the feels because my birthday is on 9/20, and it's one of my mother's favorites. (She came of age in the 70's.) I can't wait to play it for her when I get home!"