It has been almost three years since Taylor Swift released new music, her most recent collection of songs being from her Grammy award winning album “1989.” However, on August 18, Swift shook the entertainment industry with the release of her new single entitled “Look What You Made Me Do” off of her upcoming album “Reputation,” which has a scheduled release date of November 10.
“Look What You Made Me Do” differentiates itself from Swift’s past approach to songwriting. The tune features various layers of technologically generated sounds combined to form a new revenge anthem. The song continuously builds in intensity towards its apex, where Swift utters the shocking lines that left listeners questioning what to expect:
“I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ‘cause she’s dead!”
Shortly following the release of the new single, the music video premiered at the Video Music Awards, stirring up theories as to some of the hidden meanings in the program.
The video begins in a graveyard with the lens focusing on a tombstone engraved with “Here Lies Taylor Swift’s Reputation.” After viewing the entirety of the video, many have come to the conclusion that the grave markings signify an end of Swift’s previous good girl image and an introduction to her edgy new look.
Cutting over to the next scene, Swift is seen bathing in a bathtub full of jewels that could be represent her fame and wealth. However, it was the single dollar bill amidst the tub of riches that caught some attention. The single dollar is thought to be a reference to Swift’s recent lawsuit, in which she sued a radio DJ who had groped her during a meet and greet. Her symbolic gesture of suing for only a dollar was meant to prove that abuse, no matter the form, has consequences.
One consistent motif throughout the video is the theme of snakes on Swift’s outfits and accessories – one even waited on her in the throne room scene. This image is commonly interpreted as Swift being the “queen of snakes,” a nickname that was bestowed upon her by social media due to celebrity feuds and controversies, as well as her reputation for publicly shaming those she believed had wronged her. In pop culture, snakes are typically viewed as deceitful and conniving. However, it could also be possible that this is Swift’s own view of her recently changed image – in Greek mythology, snakes symbolize rebirth.
Another scene from the music video depicts Swift robbing a building. Upon closer inspection, it can be seen that the building is entitled “Streaming Co.” which may be a reference to her past conflicts with Spotify. Until recently, Swift had removed her brand from the music streaming app, citing payment issues and her support of independent artists. Not long before the release of “Look What You Made Me Do,” all of her music was once again available for streaming from the popular app.
The next location places Swift at the head of an army of women who resemble plastic dolls, while a screen flashes with the word “Squad.” This mocks Swift’s iconic squad from her “Bad Blood” music video and the belief that the squad is completely manufactured and its members are fake, rallying around Swift for publicity.
Following this message is another scene that continus to mock some of the comments Swift has received about her former relationships. In the past, many have questioned the authenticity of her relationships and accused them of being publicity stunts, and the video seems to poke fun at this notion. At one point, Swift is shown surrounded by male dancers wearing “I heart TS” shirts, which resemble the one worn by former flame and actor Tom Hiddleston back in 2016.
One of the most prominent moments in the video is of Swift embracing her new style and stomping down prior versions of herself that relate to her old image. This could symbolize Swift’s wish for a new look, but could also be interpreted as her drive to constantly top herself and her past achievements.
The video closes with the various versions of Swift bickering and alluding to past feuds Swift has been a part of over the years, such as her infamous clash with Kim Kardashian West, Kanye West and others.
Overall, the song is very catchy and will continue to make a splash for all who hear it, while the well-orchestrated video has many hidden meanings.
- Is extremely catchy
- Easy to jam out to
- Very basic song in general
- Without watching the music video, the song does not make much sense
Photo courtesy of Taylor Swift