Taylor Swift is notoriously exceptional at playing the victim, getting revenge on those who wrong her in the most dramatic of ways and selling millions upon millions of records. After being relatively silent for over a year, she has managed to bring herself back into the spotlight and in true Taylor fashion. She recently deleted every single post from all her social media accounts and replaced them with pictures and videos of snakes, followed by the album art for her upcoming project Reputation, which is set to be released on November 10th of this year. Then on August 23, Swift released an interesting and slightly confusing single titled "Look What You made Me Do" that ended up making a whole lot more sense upon the premier of the accompanying music video.
The video for Swift's new single "Look What You Made Me Do" has already been viewed over 69 million times, and it was only released two days ago- but this doesn't surprise us. Taylor Swift may very well be the biggest and most notorious superstar that this generation has ever seen, and she has mastered the art of creating just the right amount of drama and remaining relevant without ruining her good-girl image. Think what you will about T-Swift, but the country gone pop megastar know exactly what she is doing, and her latest release is no exception. Let's dive into the underlying messages and potential meanings behind "Look What You Made Me Do".
Now unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Taylor has been keeping very busy over the past year by getting into passive aggressive feuds with an array of celebrities, and she has managed to rack up a pretty long s*** list. It is speculated that her newest music video "Look What You made Me Do" made subtle digs at Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West, Calvin Harris, Katy Perry, David Mueller (the radio DJ who groped her) Tom Hiddleston and the general public- but Taylor is no stranger to using her music as a deadly weapon against her enemies. Remember "Better Than Revenge" (Camilla Belle), "Dear John" (John Mayer), "Mean" (the media), "Bad Blood" (Katy Perry), "Innocent" (Kanye West), and "Forever and Always" (Joe Jonas)? Yeah, Taylor can be absolutely savage.
"Look What You Made Me Do" begins with zombie Taylor digging a grave underneath a tombstone that reads "Here Lies Taylor Swift's Reputation", immediately letting the audience know that the old Taylor we know and love is gone. But things really start to get hectic when you look at the tombstone next to her's that reads "Nils Sjoberg", the pseudonym Taylor used as a co-writer on her ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris’s song "This Is What You Came For". The two got into a major (and very public) argument over Harris not giving Swift credit for her part in writing the tune, even though he claimed they both agreed to keep her involvement private. The Guardian was one of the firsts to notice this hidden little dig, and we commend them for catching something that may have otherwise gone amiss.
Next, Taylor can be seen sitting in a bathtub full of jewels and wearing massive diamond rings, a clip many believe is a direct blow at Kim Kardashian West. Last year, Kim was robbed of millions of dollars worth of jewelry and diamonds in a Paris hotel room, a heist in which the robbers tied Kardashian West up and put her in a bathtub. It could be a coincidence, but the similarities lead us to believe that it is probably not. Less notable, a single dollar bill can be seen to Swift's left. This is a symbol to acknowledge the groping court case she endured against David Mueller in which she was awarded a single dollar. Taylor continues to throw shade at Kim in the next scene where she is sitting on a throne surrounded by snakes. In case you weren't up to date with the drama, Kim tweeted a snake emoji following the Taylor and Kanye feud which led Swift's social media to get flooded with a ridiculous amount of hate- but hey, at least she can laugh at it now.
The next victim on Taylor's list is Katy Perry, a long-time enemy of the singer and the speculated subject of "Bad Blood". At 1:06 of "Look What You made Me Do", Taylor can be seen crashing a car in an outfit that looks awfully close to something Katy would rock. Not only that, but the hairstyle Taylor chose to go along with it looks almost identical to Katy's new pixie cut and colour. Taylor can also be seen holding a grammy, potentially mocking that fact that she has won ten while Katy Perry has won zero- but all of this is arbitrary and mere speculation.
As the video carries on, Taylor can be seen in a bank vault with a squad of women in animal masks, robbing and burning money below a moving sign that reads "streaming". This can potentially be attributed to Taylor's long boycott and battle with Spotify and Apple Music. In this scene, we think she is majorly dissing these music streaming companies and how little they compensate the artist by showing herself stealing back the large amounts of revenue they are racking in from all her hard work. Now this is a diss we can get on board with. Creating and producing an album is not cheap, and we don't blame Taylor for wanting reasonable compensation for the amount of time and effort she puts into giving her audience the best quality music she can.
At 2:18, Tom Hiddleston gets a quick shout-out with the "I heart T-Swift" shirts that her back up dancers can be seen wearing. Do you guys remember when Tom received merciless trolling from the internet after he was spotted wearing a shirt with the exact same phrase while on a beach outing with Taylor? It was simultaneously cringey and embarrassing, so Swift is making sure we don't forget.
In the song's bridge, what we assume to be the new Taylor is wearing a crop top sweatshirt that reads "Reputation", and she is standing on a pile of older versions of herself. There are Taylors wearing outfits from old music videos, performances and even her infamous acceptance speech in which Kanye interrupted the singer and ignited a long standing feud between the two. The new Taylor ignores the old Taylors who are crawling to get to her until she releases some sort of supernatural force and blasts them all to oblivion. Adding to the drama of it all, the lyrics that fall over this particular scene are:
"I'm sorry, the old Taylor can't come to the phone right now."
"Oh, 'cause she's dead!"
The video ends with a saucy little dance number that serves as a filler until the song is over, but the last thirty seconds are really what we want to talk about. All of Taylor's personas can be seen standing side by side in front of a private jet, attacking each other and calling each other names. Swift calls herself out for being annoying, a b****, fake, conniving and always playing the victim- letting us know that she is fully aware of what people think about her. So is she making fun of herself and pinning the whole video as satire, or is she genuinely mad at these people and the media for "ruining" her reputation? We are not entirely sure. What we do know is that Swift has a lot to say about the people who have wronged her, and we can't deny that the symbolism in this video was nothing short of brilliant. What we especially like about "Look What you Made Me Do" is that she did not portray herself as the perfect little angel who only ever gets hurt and can do no wrong, because that act was definitely starting to get old.
It's obvious from this latest single that Taylor's new album is going to be an intense and interesting one full of drama and underlying messages regarding her personal life and relationships, and though her musical direction is still slightly unclear and we are unsure as to whether we are on board with it or not just yet- we honestly cannot wait to hear Reputation.