If you needed any more proof about the ol' Taylor Swift being "dead", the pop star's latest music video 'Look What You Made Me Do' (set to debut atop The Billbaord Hot 100), pretty much confirmed all that. The country singer turned international pop icon has always been subject to much scrutiny whether it's due to her love life, her very public feuds, or her record breaking feats. All that surfaced last year, on the heels of her most successful album and tour to date.
#TaylorSwift has always tried to maintain her image as the good girl, who still pens songs about any man who dares piss off, has a close knitted group of (unusually attractive) friends and is somehow always left with teardrops on her guitar. And because of her high stature in the music industry, she's gotten a lot of flack for that. But in a truly unforeseen move by the singer — and that's saying something given how confessional her music usually is — she released a music video that not only faced all those perceptions head on, but also revealed a look at a newer, harder Taylor Swift. So, here are some of the biggest most memorable hidden messages in her Joseph Kahn directed music video, 'Look What You Made Me Do'.
The 'Graveyard Shift' Taylor
The video begins with a shot of a zombie Swift digging a grave, and a name that appears on one of the graves beside her is none other than Nils Sjoberg. For those of you who don't know, Ms. Sjoberg is actually a pseudonym Swift adopted when she wrote 'This Is What You Came For' for #CalvinHarris. The unknown writer Sjoberg became the focus of many fans as they suspected that she had a hand in writing the Rihanna-featured song. After the song became a hit, Swift's reps confirmed her writing role, which led to a very public Twitter spat with Harris.
Taylor 'The Snake' Swift
The Taylor Swift vs. #KimKardashian and #KanyeWest fight is infamous. It all started when Kanye West called Swift a "bitch" in his song 'Famous', belittling her and implying that Swift owes him for her fame. Naturally, Swift publicly took offense to this. But later, Kim Kardashian leaked a video of Kanye speaking with Swift on the phone, revealing that Swift knew about this lyric before the song was even released. The video quickly went viral, with fans claiming it as proof of Swift's duplicitous nature — especially since Swift had claimed she had no idea about the song before its release.
Those who sided with Kanye and Kim started referring to Swift with the snake emoji. The singer's Wikipedia page too was hacked with the singer being renamed as 'Slithering Snake Becky With The Good Lies' with the Mean Girls name Regina George set as her nick name. Yet Swift turned this critique on its head, cleverly using the snake trope as a marketing strategy by selling snake-themed merchandise. Zombie Taylor could also be a clapback to the Wikipedia hacking, as in her bio, it was edited that she was "dragged to the grave by successful businesswoman Kim Kardashian."
Something else to look out for: The inscription on Swift's throne reads, "Et Tu Brute", a quote from Shakespeare's Julius Caeser, used when a person is stabbed in the bac by someone they trust. This could, refer to Kanye, with whom Swift made amends after their 2009 MTV debacle, and called him a friend — only for him to humiliate Swift in the public by leaking the video of their phone conversation.
Taylor 'The Grammy Winner'
Taylor Swift is clearly one of the most celebrated artists of this time, and she has the Grammys to prove it. You know who doesn't have one though? #KatyPerry. Despite being nominated several times, the singer is yet to win any, a fact that Swift has clearly indicated by using a similar car to the one Perry ysed in her 'Waking Up in Vegas' video — while holding up her Grammy for all the world to see.
Later, Taylor walks calmly past the car explosion. This symbolizes the media storm she's weathered and how all that has just made her better and stronger.
Taylor 'The Crazy Cat Lady'
Taylor Swift's love for cats is evident from her Instagram pictures. The "crazy cat lady" title given to her by critics receives a call back though her gang's robber masks. Swift's shirt that reads "blind for love" is a self-deprecating reference to Swift's ever growing roster of exes.
Another thing to be noticed is that the bank she's marching out of is entitled 'Steam Co.', which refers to her fight against Apple Music and Spotify to pay her royalties in exchange for playing her music. This is complemented by the workers of 'Stream Co.' wearing headphones in their ears. As Swift marches out of the vault loaded with gold, we are reminded of her victory.
Taylor 'The Squad Leader'
Taylor stands in front of an army of plastic-looking slender women, a response to Demi Lovato and others who agreed with what she said to Glamour magazine back in November last year:
"I think in certain situations, certain people could be doing more if they’re going to claim that as part of their brand. To be honest, and this will probably get me in trouble, I don’t see anybody in any sort of squad that has a normal body. It’s kind of this false image of what people should look like. And what they should be like, and it’s not real... It’s not realistic."
Taylor 'The Serial Dater'
The "I heart TS" shirt worn by Swift's dancers hearkens back to the one Tom Hiddleston wore last year with the same phrase, which had the Twitter stans abuzz about how "annoying" the two were and how "he wasn't cool anymore". Swift carefully has eight backup dancers, reflecting how many men she has dated in real life since her career in the spotlight began.
Swift, who has always been known for who she's dating, is owning up to her previous romantic endeavors, while underlining how she has been in control. This is highlighted by the dancers panicking when they see her enter the room, and they get into formation behind her. Much like with the snake symbols, Swift, the shrewd business woman, has turned even this into a marketing strategy, because the shirts too are now available to buy online.
Taylor 'The Murderer' Swift
Perhaps the most stunning visual of the whole video, the 'Pyramid of Swifts', shows all her previous selves fighting to stay alive while the new, battle-hardened Swift is standing at the top — fierce and untouchable. One past Swift is wearing the shirt from 2008's 'You Belong With Me' (featuring the names of everyone from #SelenaGomez and #GigiHadid to #EdSheeran and #RyanReynolds). Among other Swift personas, we can see the 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' Swift and even the ballerina from 2014's 'Shake It Off'.
Taylor standing atop of her old selves is supposed to symbolize the birth of a new, more worldly, not to mention dangerous, persona.
All The Taylors
The last scene is a call back to every thing she's been called: "fake", "always playing a victim", "a bitch". Taylor calls out her "surprise face" which is often deemed as fake, then she even goes on to accuse herself of "playing a victim, again", a role which she ironically — and obliviously — plays in this video too.
Then there are the lines such as "and karma's not a liar / she keeps receipts," which are used in Perry's anti-Taylor Swift song 'Swish Swish'. One version of Taylor remarks that she's "getting receipts" while taking pictures of other Taylors fighting. Lastly, we have the infamous 2009-era Taylor Swift, who remarks that she'd "like to be excluded from the narrative" — something she stated on her Instagram after her Kanye West's 'Famous' clip was leaked. Swift's response soon became a meme.
So there you have it folks, those were some of the more obvious takeaways from Taylor Swift's new video, which makes it clear that her next album (#Reputation) will feature Swift as we've never seen her before. Until, then we can keep our fingers crossed that the pop icon will give us some new tracks before the album's release in November 10, 2017.
Tell us in the comments: What's your take on 'Look What You Made Me Do' and the new T-Swift?