Taylor Swift is no longer a human. She has revealed her true chameleon form. She’s constantly changing — put her next to a bunch of snake emojis and she’s now the queen of snakes; tell her she’s accruing a hoard of famous female friends and she’s suddenly a dictator, with thousands of plastic women at her whim.
Look what you made her do. She could have been a happy chameleon, eating mealworms in her tank, but no, we all had to go and upset her.
The music video for Swift’s new single “Look What You Made Me Do,” which was released on Aug. 27, sent the internet into a tailspin. Anyone with a Twitter handle became a digital Sherlock Holmes, as they tried to uncover each of the sly allusions Swift makes throughout the video to her many haters and famed scandals. It was a regular “Where’s Waldo” — if Waldo were dated stories that once dominated the front pages of entertainment blogs.
The video ties together all the vitriol people have thrown at Taylor over the course of her career and spits it out as a “fuck you” in the form of extremely high-budget special effects. To overcome the hate, Taylor has chosen to embrace it. Obviously, the only way to prove that you don’t care what people say about you is to make an enormous deal out of it months later … right? Sticks and stones may break her bones, but words will never hurt her; In fact, they’ll lead to millions of YouTube views.
Swift plays a variety of roles during the video. She’s a zombie emerging from a grave (an allusion to her dying reputation). She’s a glamorous pop star crashing her car to the delight of paparazzi (an allusion to Katy Perry, whom she has famed beef with). She sits on her throne as snakes slither toward her (an allusion to people calling her a “snake”). And she leads the heist of a vault while wearing a cat mask (an allusion to her … love of cats and money?)
At one point, the “new” Taylor stands proudly at the top of a pile of old versions of herself who crawl up and around each other in a futile effort to try and reach the top. It is the most macabre, self-centered piece of film I have ever seen. On first viewing, the words “oh my God” fell from my mouth without forethought, as if summoned by Taylor’s evil spirit.
The video is an attempt at true pop villainy but it comes off feeling insincere, as if Swift was willing to do anything to prove she’s over the drama, even though with every passing second it becomes clearer and clearer she’s not.
I’ll probably watch it at least 12 more times today.