Inside meanings of “Look What You Made Me Do” music video


Taylor Swift's highly anticipated album is coming out Nov. 10.

Colt Beat, Memorial Staff Writer

On the night of Aug. 25, Taylor Swift’s music video for ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ premiered at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards (VMA’s ). This music video is flooded with personal parodies of Swift and references to past feuds with other celebrities, which has refueled these conflicts.

According to a recent article in Time Magazine, the music video starts by panning through a dark, creepy graveyard filled with tombstones and the focus lands upon a tombstone reading “Here Lies Taylor Swift’s Reputation.”

Transitioning from her tomb, Swift begins filling up a grave that is holding 2014 Met Gala Taylor Swift , which was the start to the “1989 era” . Another tombstone can be seen in the background and it reads the name Nils Sjoberg, which Swift used as a pseudonym on Calvin Harris’ hit ‘This Is What You Came For.’ Not only did she co-write the song but she also recorded background vocals for the dance track.

After this, the scenery then changes to the Grammy-winner lying in a bath filled with jewelry. Some viewers believe this is a reference to Kim Kardashian-West’s jewel robbery that happened early in October, 2016 in Paris. During the robbery, Kardashian-West was tied up and thrown in a bathtub. Jewelry was not the only thing that was placed in the bathtub of the music video. A dollar bill was strategically placed to catch the viewer’s attention, which symbolized the recent sexual assault case against Radio DJ, David Mueller that Swift won and she received, obviously, one dollar to showcase that sexual assault affects all people of all social classes.

From the bathroom, the music video switches to a golden throne setting in which the flawless singer sits. Joining Swift on the throne are snakes that are slithering all around her. The reptiles represent a situation when Kanye West contacted Swift about using her as the subject in one of the lines in his infamous song ‘Famous’. The singer then told the media she was unaware of what West was going to say. Kardashian-West,West’s wife, then came to the rapper’s rescue and leaked a phone call between West and Swift to the media. In the phone call, it is obvious that Swift did not know all of the details of the lyrics. However, the pop idol still faced backlash with her social media being filled with emoticons of snakes, indicating that she is a backstabber.

The snakes in the video were serving tea to Swift, which copies Kendall Jenner’s, (Kim Kardashian-West’s half sister) Instagram video in which she captions ‘tea time’ indicating that it is gossip time. A detail on the arms of the chair, in which the singer sits, says “Et Tu Brute”. The words are related to the story of the betrayal of Julius Caesar in which he fell a victim to by one of his peers. Some critics and viewers believe that “Et Tu Brute” relates to Swift feeling uneasy about the famous people that she has met throughout her journey to stardom.

When the chorus of the song starts, the pop star is seen driving a car with her hair tied back. Swift then crashes the car and it appears that her hair has magically been placed to look like one of her old frenemy’s, Katy Perry’s hair. Also, it is apparent that both the interior of the car and the outfit that Swift wears is leopard print, which is linked to Perry due to her fans being called “Katy Cats.” While hanging effortlessly off the driver’s seat of the car, Swift holds a Grammy. It is not a coincidence that Swift is holding that award. It is most likely a jab at the fact that Perry has never won a Grammy.

After the well-known singer crashed her car, she fiercely rode a cage swing while wearing an orange with security guards surrounding her. Then the video transitions into Swift performing a heist while holding a baseball bat. In this specific scene of the music video, a background sign clearly states “streaming company.” This is a reference to when Swift pulled her music from most music streaming services, in an attempt to stand up for other artists desperately in need of the money. The singer believed she was being robbed due to her music being streamed for free.

The video next shows a glimpse of Swift and her model squad, including Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford, posing on motorcycles. After the biker squad scene, Swift switches to wearing a racy, latex suit while conducting a meeting for “Squad U,” which alludes to her “manufactured” model squad.

When the chorus of the song starts once again, Swift is joined by eight male back up dancers. All seems well until all eight of them take off their blazers and reveal various different “I [heart] T.S.” shirts. The shirts worn by the backup dancers have a relation with Tom Hiddleston, one of Swift’s ex-boyfriends, and how he wore the “I [heart] T.S.” shirt out in public. Some viewers notice that there are eight male backup dancers, and a connection was made to the pop star’s eight celebrity ex-boyfriends, which include Joe Jonas, Harry Styles, Tom Hiddleston, Calvin Harris, Taylor Lautner, John Mayer, Jake Gyllenhaal and Connor Kennedy.

Towards the end of the well-produced music video, the “new” Taylor Swift is seen on top of a mountain made of memorable Swift personas. It is significant to point out that the “You Belong With Me” persona’s jewel shirt contains signatures of some of her high-status friends like Selena Gomez, Ed Sheeran, Gigi Hadid, and Todrick Hall.

The music video ends with a bang when a jet is revealed to have the word “reputation” on it, which is the title of Swift’s upcoming album. In front of the aircraft are 15 personas of Swift, some from the music video and some personas from past years. The 15 Swifts were placed to showcase what critiques the public and media have made about her.

In the past, the pop princess has been called fake and been called out on having an unreal surprised look on her face on many different occasions. Also, it is a recurring theme that others criticize Swift as always playing the victim, which is pointed out during the last scene of the music video. In addition, zombie Taylor shouts “don’t call me that” making a direct reference to the disagreement about West’s “Famous” lyric. Furthermore, one of the personas says, “getting receipts, gonna edit this later.” Taylor once again took a hit at Kardashian-West about her ridiculous self-photo addiction and potentially editing the phone call made between Swift and West. Lastly, a 2009 Taylor Swift persona says, “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative,” referring to the iconic moment when West rudely interrupted Swift at the 2009 VMA’s.

Overall, the music video was well produced and aesthetically pleasing. Based on the success of both the single and music video of “Look What You Made Me Do,” it looks like Swift will do well with her album release, on Nov 10. The video is already making a statement.

Contact Colt Beat at [email protected]