It’s been three years since the release of “1989,” and fans have been eagerly awaiting Swift’s next project ever since. Some agree that ”Look What You Made Me Do” was worth the wait, but for others, it was a laughable disappointment.
Taylor Swift has emerged from her silence, kissing the “Speak Now,” “Red” and “1989” eras goodbye with the announcement of her upcoming album, “Reputation.” Shortly after completely wiping all her social media platforms clean, Swift hinted toward what she was working on with clips of a snake appearing on all of her socials until the reveal of the long-awaited single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” as well as the accompanying video.
“Look What You Made Me Do” was released a little more than a week ago on Aug. 24, and the official music video premiered Aug. 27 at the MTV Video Music Awards. It has since shattered records, racking up more than 19 million views during its first 24 hours on Youtube.
Swift does not hold back in “LWYMMD,” addressing rumors and gossip spanning the length of her career. The symbolism and detail in the video are extensive and thoughtful, though albeit tacky at times, and it is worth a couple watches to fully grasp the extent to which Swift is dragging her enemies.
The video opens in a graveyard setting as Swift crawls out of a grave, and her musical pseudonym, “Nils Sjoberg,” with which she co-wrote “This Is What You Came For” with ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris, can be seen in the background. Reputation is a common theme in the video, teasing fans with her new album name, as well as clearly centering the video around rumors of her “mean girl” reputation.
As “LWYMMD” progresses, Swift’s persona cycles through several stages of her life and several stages of her rivals’ lives. She draws clear comparisons to Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry and ridicules their behavior as well as her own. She makes fun of her “squad” and the way much of the public describes her as a “snake.” Listeners and watchers are forced to decode hidden messages and recognize parallels between the video and Swift’s life.
The video ends with 15 different versions of Swift standing in front of a plane, likely a nod to her private jet, which has been the subject of much speculation and scrutiny. They make fun of each other, while one unrecognizable version of Swift stands aboard one of the plane’s wings.
This Taylor is unlike anything we have ever seen before – she is unafraid, transparent and audacious. It’s certainly interesting and definitely different from her “Teardrops on my Guitar” phase.
But here’s the thing – she still isn’t any less annoying. There is something about this bold display of grandeur that is obnoxious and arrogant. Swift is a try-hard, through and through, and it’s almost too easy to see through her pretend badass façade. By desperately trying to ditch her victim label, she digs herself in even deeper. Even the name of this hit, “Look What You Made Me Do,” begs for attention and insinuates that this is someone else’s fault. Not Taylor’s.
Many are claiming this is the best video of the year, even dubbing it the best work of pop art in the era of Trump, but I don’t think so. My advice to Swift is to grow up.
The old Taylor might be dead, but this one isn’t much better.