After Taylor Swift posted a super cryptic and mysterious ssseries of sssnake videos on her Instagram last week, many theories of what all it could possibly mean started exploding all over the internet. But one thing was for sure: T. Swift was about to drop new music, and it was obviously going to throw mad shade.
At Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards, the 27-year-old pop star debuted the video for her song “Look What You Made Me Do”—which amassed more than 30 million views in 48 hours, BTW—from her up-coming album Reputation (to be released November 10.) *GASP*
To the surprise of absolutely no one, in the vid Swift throws shade at literally everyone who has dared cross her since Kanye interrupted her at the VMAs back in 2009. “How many times can Taylor Swift throw shade in one four-minute video?” you might wonder. Answer: a helluva lot. Take a peek below and see if you can catch ’em all. If you can’t, we did it for you.
The tombstone that reads Nils Sjöberg
Right off the bat, T. Swizzle goes straight for the jugular. Nils Sjöberg is the pseudonym she used as her writing credit in her ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris’s single, “This Is What You Came For.” Remember all them dramz after she made the big reveal? Harris responded with a since-deleted series of feisty tweets: “I know you’re off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy ETC but I’m not that guy, sorry. I won’t allow it.” Yikes.
Please focus on the positive aspects of YOUR life because you’ve earned a great one
— Calvin Harris (@CalvinHarris) July 13, 2016
The bathtub of jewelry and a hand gun
This is about the point where Swift loses all cred. Yeah, 30 seconds into the video. Twitter users see this as an obvious dig at Kim Kardashian, who was held at gunpoint in Paris, placed in a bathtub and had all of her jewelry stolen from her. Mocking someone else’s trauma is not cool, T. Not cool at all.
— ㅤ123 (@ifnddj) August 28, 2017
But then, if you squint just a little bit, you may notice a super caj $1 bill laying amongst the jewels just beside her blonde head. Could this be a tribute to the epic sexual assault case she just won, after she sued a former radio DJ for one symbolic dollar?
— courtney (@courtney_bloch) August 28, 2017
Taylor sipping tea on a throne surrounded by snakes
Swift is well-versed in the snake emoji, as she received it from Twitter users in droves during her notorious (and long AF) feud with none other than the Kardashian-West clan (well, just Kim and Kanye—North n’ Saint were somewhere in the world being hella cute). Is Swift sipping tea is an homage to this fabulous Kermit the Frog meme, or is it a copy of this Kendall Jenner photo? You be the judge.
The feud began with Kanye stealing Swift’s thunder at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, but between then and 2016, all seemed peachy in the KanTay universe. That is, until Kanye’s Life of Pablo listening party slash Yeezy Season 3 fashion show. His song “Famous” made waves with the lyrics: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why, I made that bitch famous/Goddamn/I made that bitch famous.” Oh. Not so peachy after all. Swift made a powerful comeback after winning a Grammy for Album of the Year in 2016.
The cat masks
In one scene, Swift and her back up dancers don cat masks, which many people assume is a jab at her long-term “she did it, no she did it” battle with Katy Perry. The “Teenage Dream” singer refers to her fans as KatyCats, hence the not-so-subtle cat masks. Taylor does love cats, so we’re not completely sold on this theory. What do you think?
Swift is also seen nonchalantly burning huge wads of cash in this part of the vid. Is this a bank heist? Maybe. The scene directly after shows the singer swinging a bat with the words “STREAMING COMPANY” lit up in LED behind her. Again, subtlety is not her forté—but obviously, it’s not supposed to be.
If you recall, there was this huge debacle regarding Swift pulling all of her music from the music streaming program Spotify in 2014, claiming that giving away music for free defies the meaning of creating art. In her Wall Street Journal op-ed, she wrote, “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.” If you recall, Taylor recently returned to Spotify earlier this year with her hits—on the very same day that Perry released her latest album. Next-level shade.
The Beyoncé-inspired bat wielding
As far as we know, Beyoncé and Swift haven’t had any direct feuding, other than when Kanye claimed Queen Bey should’ve won the VMA for Best Music Video that fateful year. But many people are suspecting her choice to wield a bat is paying tribute to B’s iconic visual album Lemonade, where she’s seen swinging a bat on the track “Hold Up.” Is your lemonade a little sour, Swift? This isn’t the only Beyference that Swift may be making. Her dancers in the scene directly following this one stand in a formation strangely similar to the stance taken in Beyoncé’s video for, well, “Formation.”
The I Heart TS crop tops
Let’s take a walk down Swift Ex-Flame Memory Lane, shall we? At one point last year, she was dating actor Tom Hiddleston, who wore one of the most weirdly mysterious and iconic tank tops of all time. The tank had “I <3 T.S.” printed on it and so, naturally, the pop star had to throw shade at her ex by having her entire super fierce crew of back-up dancers wear something similar, though arguably way cuter: matching crop tops.
The pointed criticisms at the end
The video ends with all of Swift’s many personas over her career lined up in front of a black jet with the word REPUTATION spray-painted in pink. In the last minute or so, all of her personas recite popular criticisms of the star, like her penchant for being “too nice,” for “looking surprised all the time,” and for “always making herself the victim.”
The message she’s trying to send is pretty clear: She wants everyone to know that the old Taylor is gone (or “dead,” as she says while speaking to the world on the phone in her video). But is she really? This seems just as petty as she’s been before, TBH.
Raise your hand if this was low-key exactly what you expected from her.
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