“I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now…Why? Oh, ’cause she’s dead.” And so Taylor Swift ends her new single “Look What You Made Me Do,” which marks the first time we’ve gotten to hear new Swift music since 1989 in 2014. I’m gonna be totally honest here, the song is a bop. Catchy is what Taylor does best, and she definitely delivers with a chorus that’ll have you singing, “Oh, look what you made me do!” for the rest of the day (and your life.)
Though catchy is T. Swift’s strong suit, there’s another thing that she does better than almost any artist: She crafts her lyrics in a way that makes us all wonder, Who is this song about? “Look What You Made Me Do” is no different. The Internet is already buzzing with theories. But the fact that we have to ask makes me wonder: Is Old Taylor really dead?
There’s the theory that all of this is a clapback at Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. She’s ready to reclaim the snake emoji. It’s actually a really cool way of taking criticism and turning it into dolla dolla bills, y’all.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) August 23, 2017
And then there are digs that insinuate that someone made her play the fool and left her with a smoking gun, and the accusation that someone stole the keys to her kingdom, “asked [her] for a place to sleep, locked [her] out, and threw a feast.” I wonder who that may be? Could it be the very people who tarnished her image and, in the opinion of many, de-throned her as Princess of Pop? And in a final reference to the whole Kimye fiasco, Taylor literally answers a phone at the end of the song, uttering the words that have the fandom literally dying, “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now…Why? Oh, cause she’s dead.” Could she be referencing the “Famous” phone call? Anything is possible in Taylor Land!
2014: I LOVE THAT TAYLOR IS SO HAPPY! GO HAPPY TAYLOR!
2017: GET MAD TAYLOR! GO OFF BITCH! FUCK IT THE FUCK UP!
— Alex Goldschmidt (@alexandergold) August 25, 2017
Kimye isn’t alone in this though, Taylor believes in karma, baby! And she says that more than one person has what’s coming to them, singing, “You’ll all get yours.”
There’s also a theory going around that the song is about the way that the media has painted Taylor over the years. But here’s the thing, if this song is about Kanye and Katy Perry, isn’t this technically still Old Taylor, just looking for revenge? Is there a clear difference between writing about revenge on your ex and revenge on celebs who have wronged you? Kim’s whole claim about Taylor is that she has played the innocent party throughout her career.
And nothing screams “Don’t blame me, blame my haters” more than saying, “Look what you made me do! ” And if that isn’t enough for you, Swift literally says, “I don’t like your perfect crime.” If it isn’t clear that she believes that she has been wronged, I don’t know what is. And that’s totally fine! You’re allowed to feel wronged and hurt when someone took your reputation and public image and turned it on its head, but own it. Claiming that the old Taylor is dead while the new Taylor is still singing about the same things, just dressed in all black and with a new obsession with reptiles, isn’t really convincing.
Saying, “Look what you made me do!” to those who wronged her, whether that be the media, Kanye, Kim, Katy, or a combination of all of these things actually makes it seem if this reinvention wasn’t Taylor’s making at all. The fans who miss her boppy hits of the past will have Taylor’s haters to blame. They were the cause of death of “Old Taylor.” I’m not sure that this is any different from that time in 6th grade when I decided to dye my hair brown, buy Vans, and listen to My Chemical Romance because I wanted to reinvent myself. At the end of the day, it all feels very:
Listen, I may not be convinced that the old Taylor is dead, but I still bought the damn song on iTunes and have been listening to it for the entire morning. You can listen to Taylor Swift and love her music while still wondering if her reinvention isn’t just her goth phase, or a way of re-branding herself to be more palatable. I mean, she couldn’t return to the scene singing, “We are never ever ever getting back together!” It wouldn’t have fit what she went through and the growth she has experienced in the past few years. We’ve seen how she stands tall as an advocate for women who’ve been sexually assaulted. Her testimony in her trial against David Mueller has proven that she is no longer trying to play nice, and set an example for women everywhere.
She may have been the Princess of Pop, but when the keys to her kingdom were stolen, she didn’t disappear for good as so many would have done. She doesn’t need to be the princess anymore–She’s about to be the Queen of the Comeback. I respect her growth as an artist and as a human being, I just don’t know if old Taylor is dead and gone. Because I think old Taylor had this in her all along.
I do know that I am pumped to see the video for “Look What You Made Me Do” at the VMA’s on Sunday. One things for sure: I’m digging this new, dark, covered in jewels Taylor.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 25, 2017
Also, I can just hear the collab with Katy Perry happening. Wouldn’t “Look What You Made Me Do” pair nicely with “Swish Swish?” But maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, until I see more conclusive evidence, I’m not totally convinced. So basically this is me:
But this is also me:
“Oh, look what you made me do! Look what you made me do!”
Taylor Swift has been living her best life since 2008, dating everyone from Harry Styles to Jake Gyllenhaal. Let’s live vicariously through Swift and break down all the Hollywood hunks she kissed (and dissed). Get your life, queen!