Taylor Swift is taking back control of the narrative.

After announcing the release of her 6th album, Reputation and dropping her first single, “Look What You Made Me Do” this past Thursday, Swift is setting the record straight and breaking records in the process.

The official music video for the song debuted at the beginning of the MTV Video Music Awards and she held nothing back. Directed by Joseph Kahn, the video is a smorgasbord of references and direct acknowledgements on Swift’s part to anything anyone has said about her during her career.

Many of the visuals have been interpreted to referenced multiple subjects or things said to/about/or events. We’ll break down what we saw and let you decide how to interpret the scenes.

The video kicks off with an areal view of what turns out to be a graveyard and we clearly see TS in lights.

Zooming in to a tomb stone reading “Here lies Taylor Swift’s reputation” which was killed during the Kim Kardashian West Snapchat reveals as Swift herself called it “character assasination.”

Soon followed by the last incarnation we see Swift crawling out of the grave (this is her “Out of the Woods” outfit form 1989).

Interestingly, right as she sings “the role you made me play” we see a tombstone with the name Nils Sjöberg, which was the pseudonym Swift wrote the song under along with Calvin Harris so as “not to have their relationship overshadow the song.” Her name was credited in “This Is What You Came For” after their breakup.

In the same graveyard scene we see Met Gala Swoft being buried by “Out of the Woods” Swift marking the beginning and death of her 1989 era.

Cut to a Taylor Swift laying in a bathtub full of jeweles and this one can be seen two ways. The lyrics sung during this scene are: “I don’t like your perfect crime/how you laugh when you lie.”

Now this could be a reference to the Kim Kardashian robbery where she was tied and put in a bathtub. Meaning Swift is implying that the robbery was staged (as many people also believed).

Or, seeing as the bathtub full of jewels contains a $1 bill, it could be referencing the sexual assault lawsuit she just won against the radio DJ who claimed he lost job prospects due to her. Her claim asked for only $1 in retribution but clearly the value equals diamonds to her.

Cut to Taylor sitting on her throne with snakes everywhere. On the decor, on the floor on her jewelry, clearly claiming the snake epithet associated to her by Kim. Ironically for her haters, we get a snake helping Swift serve the tea.

Now this next one is tricky. We see Swift in a Maserati driving to a dead end street where she has a car crash.

Some believe she is referencing the Red era since one of her songs from that album has the lyrics “Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street” for which she believes she should have won a Grammy.

It could also be call out to the medias rabid obsession with watching stars crash and burn. As we see a crowd of paparazzi witnessing the accident and snapping photos.

Or it could be a direct dig at her long time nemesis, Katy Perry, (check out that hair do) making the statement that Perry’s career is like a car crash and emphasizing she hasn’t won a Grammy.

Next, we see Swift in all her fortune taking part in what the finer things in life has to offer all while locked inside a gilded cage. She could be saying that even though she has fame and fortune she cannot go out without being recognized and pursued, so she stayed in her home, living like a bird in a gilded cage. Referencing her self imposed exile of 2016.

Now, as she sings “the world goes on another day another drama, drama/ But not for me, not for me/ All I think about is karma” she could be throwing another dig at Perry as we see her fellow robbers wearing cat masks (like the ones in Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” video) as well as Taylor wearing a sweatshirt with a tiger on the front (referencing Perry’s “Roar” lyric “I’ve got the eye of the tiger”).

We also see “blind for love” written on the hem of her shirt which could be her acknowledging that she makes so many romantic mistakes because for her love is blind.

Followed by Swift taking all the money she “stole” from Perry when she decided to allow Spotify to stream her entire music catalogue the same day Perry’s album dropped (note the Stream co. ticker in the background). Yes, Taylor got her comupennce when she was “exposed” but looks like they all got theirs.

Then, we see dictator Taylor as she looks over the lines and lines of squad members who don the same outfits and hair styles, referencing the criticism she received for her squad of friends as the runner mills claimed her friends were expected to “look a certain way.” Almost as if they were an army of Swift clones. But we also see her stop fallen squad members possibly depicting those fair weathered friends who did not stand by her when she was being criticized by the media and the internet alike.

Now, you can’t have a Taylor Swift video without a reference to her love life and she delivers in one of the best ways possible.

We get a formation of male dancers donning “I <3 TS” shirts, much like the one Tom Hiddleston wore at Swifts 4th of July bash when they we’re dating. Also interesting to note that there are 8 dancers, representing her 8 beaus (see featured photo) and yes, they all dance to her beat.

What follows is what I think is the best montage of the entire video. Taylor Swift as her Reputation standing on top of a mountain of Taylor’s of Swift’s past.

The lyrics sing “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me/ I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams” as we see Swift from “You Belong Yith Me,” “Shake It Off,” Red Tour Swift, Fearless Swift and 2009 VMA Swift fighting each other to get to the top. All characters she’s played in her music videos showing that the actress has starred already in many videos or bad dreams. And if you look frame by frame you’ll see outfits she’s worn in multiple awards shows, shaking that attention to detail we all love in her videos. Not one singly Swift gets saved.

Not gonna lie, it was kind of hilarious to see “You Belong With Me” Swift get kicked in the face by herself.

As she says “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh! Cause she’s dead,” we see Swift’s Reputation kill every incarnation of herself.

Yes, she acknowledged the reputation she’s earned which has effectively killed each and every incarnation of herself she’s shared with her fans and the media.

The ‘pies de reaistance’ of the video is the ending. We’re we see ALL of Swift’s personas interacting and bashing each other. Showing she’s well aware of what people say and think about her.

As the crowd cheers we see:

“You Belong With Me” Taylor Swift (circa 2009):“You guys!!”

“Out of the Woods” Zombie Taylor Swift (2015): “Stop making that surprised face. It’s so annoying.”

“Shake It Off” Taylor Swift (2014): “Yeah, you can’t possibly be that surprised all the time.”

“Look What You Made Me Do” Black Jumpsuit Swift: “What’s with that bitch?”
Out of the Woods” Zombie Taylor Swift: “Don’t call me that.” (A clear reminder that Swift did not appreciate being called that in Kanye’s “Famous”).

Fearless Tour Taylor Swift (2009):” Y’all!”

Red Tour Taylor Swift (2013): “Oh, stop acting like you’re all nice. You are SO fake.”

Fearless Tour Taylor Swift: (sobbing)

Red Tour Taylor Swift: (mocks her crying)

“Look What You Made Me Do” Leather Jacket Taylor Swift: “Oh, there she goes, playing the victim again.” (outlets and the internet called Swift out for being a fake nice girl and playing the victim).

Red Snake “Look What You Made Me Do” Taylor Swift: *snake hisses*

2014 Met Gala Taylor Swift: (horrified, looking at Cheetah Jacket Swift on her phone) “What are you doing?”

Cheetah Jacket “Look What You Made Me Do” Taylor Swift: “Getting receipts! I’m gonna edit this later.” (This could be directed at Kim Kardashian saying her Snapchat videos were edited OR a dig at Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish” where she sings “And karma’s not a liar/ She keeps receipts”).

Original 2009 VMA Taylor Swift (where the Kanye feud first began): “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative.” (Swift wrote this in an Instagram post as a response to the Snapchat Kimye devacle which then turned into a meme).


Did you spot anything we may have missed? Let us know on the comments after you see the video for “Look What You Made Me Do” below.

Reputation comes out November 10.

Share on Pinterest

About The Author

Content Manager

Karen is a self proclaimed bookworm and entertainment junkie. Which is why you'll find her blogging about the current TV, film and music news.. that is if you can drag her away from nerding out over Marvel, book to film adaptations and current Pop culture events. Always at a concert, a premiere or geeking out at Comic Con she is a proud to call herself a Moonie and kid at heart and is the go to girl for anything an everything you want to know about on the site.