“Here Lies Taylor Swift’s Reputation”
by Courtney Gaffey
After a long social media and musical hiatus, Taylor Swift finally released another iconic song. “Look What You Made Me Do” had fans and critics alike shaken.
Why? The song doesn’t seem to fit her typical diary-like music from times past.
Swift is known for leaving subtle hints throughout her musical endeavors, and many fans, myself included, wasted no time when it came to dissecting this clapback. The lyrics and music video alike are perfect representations of well-deserved shade and symbolism. Here are just a few of the crucial aspects you may have missed:
1. Lyrics: “ …don’t like your tilted stage / the role you made me play.” In 2016, Kanye West released “Famous,” featuring a line about Swift claiming he “made that bitch famous,” eluding to his mic steal in 2009. West recently used a titled stage in his Saint Pablo tour.
2. Lyrics: “I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined.” In 2014, Katy Perry subtweeted Swift calling her “Regina George in sheep’s clothing.” Remember the burn book from “Mean Girls?” Coincidence? I think not.
3. Video: Swift is seen in a bathtub of jewels. This is a jab at the media insisting Swift must just sit around in a “marble bathtub surrounded by pearls.” Next to her is a one-dollar bill – this is in reference to her recent court case with Anthony Mueller; Swift sued Mueller for one dollar, and won the case.
4. Video: Swift is seen in a throne surrounded by snakes. We can see “Et tu Brute,” a quote from Julius Caesar. Brutus, a supposed friend, stabs Caesar. The quote is etched into pillars around Swift. This is symbolism of the betrayal of all the people she once considered friends.
5. Video: Swift is seen with others “robbing” a streaming company. Another jab at the media for saying her exit of Spotify and letter to Apple was just for the money. Later, Swift is seen burning a wad of cash and smiling.
6. Video: Swift is seen with mannequin-esc girls in a small room. A banner reads “SQUAD.” The media insist that Swift only has friends to show them off, and that they’re interchangeable like mannequins.
7. Video: The final part of the video shows fifteen “different Taylors.” These Taylor’s seem to represent different personas she has taken over her career. The different Taylor’s argue amongst themselves – all referencing media commentary over the years. Here’re some prime examples:
a. “Stop making that surprised face.” The media mocked Swift’s constant shock at winning awards early on.
b. “Stop acting like you’re all nice; you are so fake.” They also claimed she wasn’t genuine.
c. “There she goes, playing the victim, again.” The media portrays Swift as someone who has taken no responsibility for her actions and simply plays the victim.
At the end, the Taylor’s scream shut up. Swift is clearly aware of what people have said and are saying about her. But, did you notice the single Taylor on the wing of the plane in the background? That’s the real Taylor. And what is she doing? Rewriting her reputation.
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