Article by Alfonso Syquia
On August 21st, all of Taylor Swift’s social media accounts were wiped out and an obscure, glitchy video of a snake was posted. We all knew what we were in for: a new album. Taylor Swift’s song ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ came out the following Friday, August 24th, and the world was taken by storm.
The single did not sound anything like Taylor’s previous pop-hits. Instead, the song had a much darker tone. Taylor Swift has known to be extremely smart with her album releases and finds ways to inject meaning into almost everything she does leading up to the release date. Naturally, fans immediately started to create theories.
Many speculated that the song was directed at Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. After the feud between the Wests and Taylor, she was criticized heavily, with people calling Taylor a snake because of the way she is said to constantly play the victim. Through the song, Taylor seemed to be embracing these labels and accepting the fact that people will always call her this.
A lyric in the song that caused quite a stir was when Taylor boldly proclaimed that ‘the old Taylor’ is ‘dead’. The line gained popularity when it became a meme on Twitter with people posting past and present photos of cartoons and other famous celebrities, captioning these images with Taylor’s viral lyric.
This, and many other theories, became more apparent when the music video dropped during the 2017 Video Music Awards. The video depicts many different ‘versions’ of Taylor and mocks the criticism that she has received from the media in the past. For example, at the start of the video, Taylor is seen in a bathtub full of jewelry, a reference to a comment made by the media where she is said to cry in her bathtub full of pearls and diamonds after a breakup. In addition to this, fans and haters alike have speculated that this is a reference to Kim Kardashian, who was placed in a bathtub and robbed at gunpoint in Paris, France last year.
Perhaps the most striking scene was the build-up to the last chorus of the song. It depicts a smug-looking Taylor Swift on top of a mountain of her ‘previous selves’. The video shows multiple Taylors from her Red era, her “You Belong With Me” video, and more. They are all clawing and fighting each other to reach the top, though their attempts are unsuccessful. People have praised Taylor, claiming it to be a shot back to Kanye’s “Famous.” Theorists propose that the scene shows that she has been the sole reason for her success, as she fought her own way to the top.
The video ends with a line of 14 different personas of Taylor Swift and one in the background. One of the most interesting theories is that each of these personas will represent one track in Taylor’s upcoming album, Reputation, as there are 15 tracks in it as well.
Despite the controversial moves that Taylor Swift has made recently, there is no doubt that her recent releases have got people talking and creating more theories. We’ll just have to wait till November 10th to see a full image of “the New Taylor”.