Possible Meanings of Taylor Swift’s New Songs


Eva Rinaldi

Popstar Taylor Swift recently released a new album called "Reputation." (via Eva Rinaldi/Wikimedia Commons)

In the build up to the release of her latest album, Reputation, Taylor Swift’s new singles have started a more rebellious alter ego contrary to her old identity. Throughout the song “Look What You Made Me Do,” Swift describes the death of her old self in an effort to emphasize her new personality. “Ready for It” is speculated to be about an ex-boyfriend or the media. Both singles have become increasingly popular, reaching upwards of  636 million and 30 million views respectively.  However, fans are still trying to decode the numerous hidden messages Swift has hidden in her lyrics and music videos.         

There are speculations that “Look What You Made Me Do” is a continuation of her feud with rapper Kanye West. The song might be a response to when West interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech for “Best Female Video” during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards; West took the microphone from Swift during her speech and said, “Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.”  This caused a rift between the two singers, thus leading to the assumptions that West was a major influence in her song. Sophomore Lorrie Axelrod shared her thoughts on this incident: “Kanye deserves to be called out on his shocking behaviour at the MTV video award show.” Swift and West also had issues when leaked footage of a conversation they had over the controversial lyric from West’s song “Famous” came out. Swift mimics this fight towards the end of “Look What You Made Me Do” in her lyrics: “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Cause she’s dead.”  Furthermore, when Swift sings, “I don’t like your little games, don’t like your tilted stage,” she seems to reveal the aggression she has towards Kanye as well as fame, as well as making direct reference to the tilted stage he used in his recent Saint Pablo Tour.  

Along with West, many people guess that there may be some hints in the song toward singer Katy Perry, who is known to have a long-lasting feud with Swift. During the car crash scene in “Look What You Made Me Do,” Swift’s hair resembles Katy Perry’s famous hair and is in a car similar to that which Perry used in her 2009 video for “Waking Up in Vegas.” Additionally, the camera focuses on Swift holding up ten Grammy Awards in this scene, which is ironic since Perry has never won a Grammy.

Taylor Swift also seems to allude to other significant moments in her life. For example, there is a scene prevalent in the music video of “Look What You Made Me Do” when Swift sits in a bathtub full of diamonds with just a single dollar bill in it. Fans think that the dollar bill represents what she was given after she won her recent sexual assault case against DJ David Mueller.     

In the beginning of her new video for “Ready for It,” Swift has graffitti visible behind her with “89” and “91” written on the wall.  Fans think “89” of course represents the singer’s birth year, but they also think that “91” could reference her current partner, Joe Alwyn’s, birth year. Swift also displays her alternate self in “Ready for It,” showing how she is perceived by the media.  

Although many people are surprised and upset over the change in Swift’s style and wish for the “old Taylor,” her dedicated “Swifties” think  the singer is still just as special and cannot wait to hear more of her passion-filled songs. Her latest album shows a new side to herself and a new style in her music, but her songs still rack up the charts globally, showing how significant she truly is in the music industry.

Sources: Rolling Stones, Youtube, Cosmopolitan, Elite Daily, Time, NY Post

Photo Source:  Eva Rinaldi (Wikimedia Commons)