Over the past couple of years Taylor Swift has transformed from a 'Girl Next Door', Country and Western singing, American Sweetheart, to one of the most criticised female artists in the music industry.
The 'Swift' transition (...the only Swift pun I promise), into a some what villainised star, was given a helping hand by Kim Kardashian West, who released an exposé video of the singer. Kim set a scorching spotlight on Taylor's alleged lies, as Taylor claimed she did not permit Kim's husband Kayne West to release the song lyric "I made that b***h famous." The video appears to reveal a conversation whereby Taylor discusses the lyric saying "It's obviously very tongue in cheek...but I really appreciate you telling me about it that's really nice."
Aside from taking on one of the most powerful figures in popular culture, Taylor's feud with fan favourite Katy Perry has also contributed to Swift's declining popularity. In fact, Taylor has not had much luck in recent years, with her widely publicised and contentious split with DJ Calvin Harris, and her so called "Squad" forming a legion consisting of Victoria Secret Supermodels, and fellow Pop Superstars including Selena Gomez, causing uproar for being a "highly manufactured, model-perfect pack."
So, in order to address, and shut down the discourse around her life Taylor has released a music video that has elicited a reaction on an monumental scale. It would appear that this heavily cryptic video attempts to address all of the headlines that have earned her a less than glowing reputation. The music video has been a prominent feature in tabloid headlines, and is now the number one trending video on YouTube, with 52 million hits...Not quite shutting down the discourse.
The controversial scenes in the video allude to Kim and Kayne being snakes, an imitation of Katy Perry (and a gibe at her lack of Grammy awards), a line of 8 male backing dancers whom supposedly refer to her 8 famous ex boyfriends all sporting I heart TS tank tops, a print seen on ex-boyfriend Tom Hiddleston, and many more. The video itself has been decoded and praised by articles such as this one, and critiqued by others who spot a contradiction in Taylor's intentions. Nevertheless the reaction to the video has been one of the most successful reactions that the music industry has witnessed in years. In an aim to put to bed old disputes, Swift instead provoked her name being a one of the most current and hottest topics in the media. So much so that Swift's latest video has broken the record for the most-viewed video ever in a 24-hour period on YouTube, a record held previously by Adele's 'Hello'.
However what the video does show us, is that the power of video communications is only rising, the video industry appears not to be decelerating any time soon. Like her or loathe her, Taylor's recent video showcases the power and reach that video communications can have.
Taylor Swift is nothing if not a vengeful lyricist and a pro at image reinvention; her new, darker, self-satirizing persona makes that abundantly clear. The singer, who dropped the music video for her scathing new single "Look What You Made Me Do" at Sunday night's VMAs, hid numerous details in plain sight for her fans to see, interpret and discuss. But Swift's symbol-drenched music video, directed by Joseph Kahn, adds another layer to her good-girl-gone-bad anthem. Here are 13 things you may have missed during Sunday night's premiere – and why they matter in the world of Swifties and perpetual shade-throwing.