Taylor Swift isn’t fucking around anymore. If you didn’t believe her as she crooned, “Look what you made me do,” in her newest single, then the music video, which she released at MTV Video Music Awards, will probably convince you.
The video starts out in a graveyard, at Taylor Swift’s Reputation’s tomb. I’m not kidding. And it gets even fucking crazier when a zombie Taylor Swift claws out of the ground to dig her own grave.
So, yeah, it’s a little weird at first. But it gets better, I swear.
Visually, the video is pretty interesting — there’s a dark, Victorian feel to the video, full of lavish shots of Taylor Swift in a bathtub of jewels, on a golden throne, in a giant bird cage, etc. But that’s not what actually got me about the music video. No, it’s the part where Taylor Swift dances above a pile of bodies — and then it’s revealed that all those bodies are actually herself, in all her different personas.
In a way, it’s almost as creepy as it sounds. Like, it’s not quite Silence of the Lambs level of “oh dear god what’s happening make it stop”, but it definitely got the point across. Swift’s lyrics say it all: “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ’cause she’s dead.”
The video ended with each of Taylor Swift’s old personas (such as the girl next door in “You Belong With Me” and the ballerina from “Shake It Off“) verbally attacking each other for all the things Swift has been criticized for in the past: for her fake-looking surprised face when she wins an award, for always playing the victim, for asking to be excluded from her own narrative.
Swift knows all too well what people have been saying about her, and from the look of the video, maybe they’re all things she criticizes herself for as well. Is she the good girl? The rebel? The victim? The villain? Or, maybe, is she all these things at once?
What we know for sure is that Swift has a reputation — and she seems to want to take control of it again.