In just a few weeks, Taylor Swift will be embarking on a new stage of her career with the release of her new album Reputation. She has already released her first single "Look What You Made Me Do" along with the music video and it is full of references from her past. Though T-Swift has never been a stranger to adding subtext to her music, this music video goes above and beyond and all of the Easter eggs have led to a dozen theories on what she meant by them.
2016 was a busy one for T-Swift and she was involved in several scandals including her breakup with Calvin Harris, her brief relationship with Tom Hiddleston, being included in Kanye's song "Famous" in which he called her a "b--ch", and then being outed as a liar after she claimed that Kanye never asked for her for permission to use her name in his song. With two public breakups and one of the biggest scandals of 2016 behind her, she is ready to release an album and we're sure that it's going to be full of references just like her first single.
Though T-Swift is trying to come across as the "New Taylor" in her newest single by claiming that the "Old Taylor" is dead, we're not sure that is being conveyed. In this music video, we see T-Swift being just like Old Taylor but with some more angsty lyrics. So before her new album comes out, let's take a look at what exactly T-Swift is saying in her new song and if there really is a New Taylor or if she really hasn't changed at all.
15 Nils Sjoberg is Done
After T-Swift and Calvin Harris broke up, it was revealed that Harris' hit "This Is What You Came For" was actually written by T-Swift who used the pseudonym Nils Sjoberg for her writing credit. This was obviously a sore spot for the DJ who was undoubtedly bitter that it was revealed that his famous ex was the creative mastermind behind his hit song and of course, he stirred up some drama and mentioned in a tweet that T-Swift was trying to bury him and his career like she had done to Katy Perry. In the "LWYMMD" video, T-Swift's pseudonym can be seen on the gravestone behind Zombie Taylor and she is, interestingly enough, holding a shovel which, of course, can be used for digging and for burying. Is she trying to say that she is burying her past persona or that she's about to bury Calvin Harris' career? Either way, the fact that she's bringing it up at all is concerning considering that she dumped Harris to be with Tom Hiddleston and then she kicked the man while he was down after it was revealed that she wrote his #1 hit.
14 Twist of the Knife
Many viewers may have missed this tiny detail while they were paying attention to the single dollar bill in T-Swift's tub of diamonds which represented the $1 that she was awarded after she won her physical assault case against former radio DJ David Mueller. However, to her left, there are some gold necklaces on the floor that spell out the word "No" and one of the necklaces looks a lot like the locket that Harris had given to her on their one-year anniversary. No theory is too farfetched for "LWYMMD" since everything seems to have a meaning and this theory isn't even the craziest one out there. T-Swift appears to be taking another shot at her ex and while he probably deserves it, you'd think that she would be over the drama by now. She's definitely not over it.
Another "LWYMMD" theory involving T-Swift in her diamond-filled bathtub is much darker than the rest. There are actually some who believe that she is referencing Kim Kardashian's Paris robbery because she holds up her hand like a gun and shoots. It's also worth noting that Kim K was held at gunpoint, the thieves stole her diamonds, and she was tied up and gagged in her bathtub. If this is the case then it is a very, very low blow for Kim K after her traumatic experience and it's way off brand for Taylor, though she did say that the old Taylor was dead. Though she references the fact that she's the New Taylor over and over again in the video, there is nothing in the video that's any different than anything she's done before, besides referencing the time that Kim Kardashian was the victim of a terrible crime. Sorry, Taylor, but you don't get to play the victim card for this one.
12 Et tu Brute?
Carved on her golden throne are the words "Et Tu Brute" which are the dying words of Julius Caesar after he was literally stabbed in the back by his friends. This is definitely a not-so-subtle dig at the various "friends" who metaphorically stabbed her in the back. The most notable example was when she was called out by Kim Kardashian in a Snapchat video for lying about speaking with Kanye West about the inclusion of her name in his song "Famous". In the now-infamous video, we can hear Taylor saying that she approved the use of her name in the song and that began the #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty hashtag on Twitter. Once the video was revealed to the world, she was immediately called a liar and a snake and the fact that she had already been known for playing the victim didn't help her case at all. However, the inclusion of this famous quote on her throne does seem a bit dramatic considering that the Kim's recording of the Taylor/Kanye conversation would not have been posted if Taylor had just admitted that she had approved the lyrics in his song.
11 Why'd It Have to Be Snakes?
Speaking of snakes, there are A LOT of snakes in this video and though the term was originally used as a dig, T-Swift seems to be trying to reclaiming them by accepting the reptile as her new mascot. If this is the case, T-Swift would finally be acknowledging her own troubling and imperfect persona and that is something that the Old Taylor has never done. On the other hand, this may just be a depiction of another version of herself that she thinks that people see: a sneaky diva who always tries to play the victim. If this is the case, it would mean that she is playing on her perceived persona like she did with her 1989 song "Blank Space" and she is, again, not taking responsibility for anything and blaming the public for seeing her the wrong way. The thing about celebrities is that the public never sees the "real" person behind the celebrity and all we will ever see is the persona that is depicted through the media. If a celebrity does not like the persona that is being conveyed to the public, constantly harping on it will only make it worse.
10 Spill the Tea
In addition to the Julius Caesar quote etched into the throne and the snakes slithering all over the floor, there might just be another reference that was included in this scene. When Taylor is drinking tea that is poured by one of her snakes, she looks remarkably similar to Kendall Jenner in the Instagram photo the was posted immediately after Kim Kardashian posted the recording of the Taylor/Kanye phone call on Snapchat. Though Jenner never mentioned the event, she did add the caption "tea time" which led many to assume that she was referring to the Snapchat video. Sure, if Kendall was referring to the video, it would have been very petty of her considering that she wasn't involved in the drama at all but if Taylor is referencing this Instagram photo in her music video, she is equally as petty considering that the photo may have nothing to do with her at all.
9 Seeing Double
At this point everyone knows that Taylor Swift and Katy Perry hate each other though it's hard to say what their fallout was even about. In 2009, T-Swift tweeted that she was watching Perry's "Waking Up in Vegas" music video and went on to compliment the singer then just a few years later, the two are trash talking each other in interviews and Taylor released her song "Bad Blood" which was revealed to be about her broken friendship with Perry. Taylor is obviously taking another dig at her nemesis by donning a similar haircut and driving a gold sports car that looks very similar to the car that Perry drives in the music video for "Waking Up in Vegas". Coincidence? There are no coincidences in "LWYMMD". Taylor twists the knife again by holding up a Grammy--T-Swift has 10 Grammy Awards while Perry has none. It's fair to say, at this point, that Taylor has already won the Taylor/Katy feud considering she has more awards, more hit singles, and more fans but she still insists on acting like she's the underdog. After playing the role of the underdog for years, she may not know how to do anything else.
8 The Barbie Squad
Because Taylor's squad of gal pals are mostly gorgeous, tall, slim, and white, she has been criticized for it seeming fake and plastic. It also doesn't help that she has also been accused of lazy feminism due to the fact that she generally uses feminism when it can help her or her image and rarely speaks up about feminist issues when they apply to women of color or members of the LGBTQ+ community. So, of course, the video includes a bunch of beautiful Barbie-like girls that resemble some of her famous friends. It's also worth noting that there are only a few women of color among the clone-like girls which is surprisingly self-aware. While she may be acknowledging the fact that she surrounds herself with "friends" in order to come across as likable and down to earth, it is more likely that she is throwing our misconception of her "squad" back in our face through satire. Again, since we don't know the "real" Taylor, all we have to go on is the image that she portrays herself as and if she is going to surround herself with a squad of model-like women, many people are going to see her as fake.
7 I Heart TS
We will never forget the iconic images from Taylor's legendary 4th of July party in 2016 which featured T-Swift with Tom Hiddleston who was wearing a sleeveless shirt with "I Heart TS" screen printed on it. Because their relationship was weird from the beginning, the fact that he was wearing such a ridiculously affectionate shirt was definitely over the top. The fact that the backup dancers are all wearing shirts with the same words on it, including the red heart, is definitely a nod to her former flame. This is the only time that she appears to reference her relationship with Hiddleston in the video and this reference isn't nearly as scathing as any of her other ones. Though Hiddleston's name was dragged through the mud after and during his relationship with the pop star, he has never said an unkind word about her to the media which may be the reason why she doesn't have anything bad to say about him in her song. However, the fact that she only included one reference to her ex says more than words ever could. It is very possible that she feels guilty or regretful about the relationship which would show an authentically vulnerable Taylor that we haven't seen before. It's also worth noting that she has eight backup dancers, presumably to represent her eight exes: Tom Hiddleston, Calvin Harris, Joe Jonas, Taylor Lautner, Harry Styles, Conor Kennedy, Jake Gyllenhaal, and John Mayer.
6 Breaking and Entering
Along with her feuds with former friends and ex-boyfriends, she has also picked a fight with streaming services after Apple Music refused to pay royalties to new artists during their three-month trial period. After penning an open letter to Apple and they reversed their policy. She also kept her music off of Spotify in order to make more money from album sales. In her video, she breaks into the headquarters of a fake company called "Stream Co." and steals and burns their money. This is an obvious reference to the notion that she is materialistic and wants more than her fair share of royalties. Because this is obviously an attempt to call us all out for viewing her as materialistic, we can assume that her other references to other personas were also an attempt at "turning the mirror to society" or whatever. While she may be trying to convince us that we're the ones who are wrong for viewing her the way that we do, she is really just showing her true colors and her truest persona which is someone who never, ever takes the blame.
5 Old Taylors Vs. New Taylor
Finally, we get to the part when all of the old Taylors are trying to get to the top Taylor who is wearing a shirt that says "rep" on it. This leads us to believe that this Taylor who is standing at the top isn't the New Taylor but she is actually just representing her persona and all of the old versions are clambering to represent her. Or the Taylor on top is representing her newest persona for her new album, Reputation, and all of the old Taylors are dead and gone. Among these old Taylors are the "You Belong With Me" Taylor, 2015 and 2016 VMAs Taylor, Red Tour Taylor, "We Are Never Getting Back Together" Taylor and BMI Awards Taylor. However, while the "new" Taylor is all about being edgy and killing off her old personas, the lines she utters in the bridge are about as edgy as a moody teenager on Myspace. Which brings us to the next point....
4 The Most Embarrassing Lyric Ever
"The old Taylor can't come to the phone right now. Why? Oh. 'Cause she's dead." If the entire song has been boiling to this moment, how edgy could the rest of the song actually be? Taylor spends the whole song singing about how she is out to get the people who wronged her and the claws are coming out but since she also uses imagery throughout the video to harp on how she is perceived in the media through her various personas, it proves that she hasn't really changed at all. However, we shouldn't be at all surprised by this considering that she has been singing about being the victim for years and always seems to be on bad terms with others. If you ever meet someone who always claims that they are the victim of every falling-out, run away. But honestly, how many people do you know who regularly have "feuds" who aren't total nightmares to be around.
3 Will the Real Taylor Swift Please Stand Up?
Though there are some who believe that the Taylor wearing the black leotard with fuzzy sleeves is the "New Taylor", there is actually a theory that none of the women in the lineup at the end are actually the real Taylor. According to a theory that originated on Tumblr, the real Taylor is actually the one standing on the wing of the plane. You can catch that Taylor for a split second in the window. This could be Taylor's way of showing us that she created all of these personas to be just for show and the real Taylor is living her own life and doesn't care about what people think of her. Wouldn't that be nice? It is much more likely that Taylor is, again, trying to say that the media has pushed her to the background and that the public only cares about her various personas. Though we would like to believe that she has separated her "true" self from the fickleness of the media, it seems much more likely that she is trying to depict herself as the underdog.
2 I Would Very Much Like to Be Excluded From This Narrative
The last scene of "LWYMMD" is the most obvious because it depicts T-Swift and all of her various personas over the years, including Red Tour era Taylor and 2009 VMAs Taylor. There is also another Taylor who appears to be a sort of mix between Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian, this is the persona who notably says that she is getting "receipts" and that she'll "edit them later" which is, of course, a reference to the Taylor/Kanye conversation. Also, Zombie Taylor says she hates "You Belong With Me" Taylor's fake surprised face, Fearless era Taylor starts crying, "New" Taylor then asks "What's with that b**ch?" and she says, "Don't call me that." Again, this is referencing Kanye's "Famous" in which he calls her a b**ch. Finally, 2009 VMAs Taylor says, "I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative." This is a reference to her iconic Notes app screenshot message to fans claiming that she didn't do anything wrong and that she was the victim of the whole situation. Though all of the Taylors groan when she says those final words, she still seems to be living by them since she spent the entire video putting the blame on others while dodging any accountability for her own actions. The final 40 seconds of the video are iconic and legendary but also very, very sad.
1 Behind the Behind-the-Scenes Video
Taylor recently released a behind-the-scenes video for her "LWYMMD" music video and while it may seem trivial, there is actually even more meaning packed into it. The video is about 7 minutes long but the actual behind-the-scenes footage only takes up about 2 minutes of that. The rest of the video is just the "LWYMMD" music video. Why is this important? Well, first you should know that about a month ago, T-Swift and Cardi B were going head to head for weeks on Youtube's Hot 100 of the week on which "LWYMMD" was at #1 while Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" was at #2. There are some who believe that the behind -the-scenes video was released with the music video tacked onto the end in order to drive attention away from "Bodak Yellow" and back to "LWYMMD". Once "Bodak Yellow" became the most streamed song in the U.S., T-Swift sent Cardi B flowers to congratulate her. Seems like a nice thing to do, right? Well not if she was trying to snake her way to the Hot 100 on Youtube.