American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift has been on an extended break for more than a year, preparing for the release of her sixth album, Reputation. Swift used social media to reveal that her newest album will be released on Nov. 10.
To give her fans a taste of the n
ew album, the dark, vengeful new song, “Look What You Made Me Do,” released Aug. 25, offers three-and-a-
half-minutes of new lyrics to analyze, from the angry first line “I don’t like your little games” to a bridge proclaiming the pop star “dead.”
Swift never mentions the “you” addressed throughout the song by name; however, she started working on this new release because of her long-running feud with Kanye West, and he did use a tilted stage during his Saint Pablo tour, as alluded to in the first lines of her song. Within the first minute Swift begins referring to a “list of names,” last used in a previous song “Blank Space,” where the singer was implying a string of “ex-lovers,” but this time she’s not playing nice. While never being specific, Swift is after whoever is underlined in red on her “list of names.”
Throughout the song, she makes allusions to her previous works “Blank Space” and “Wildest Dreams.” From the album 1989 to the upcoming new release Reputation, Swift speaks of dreams, yet goes from being “a nightmare dressed like a daydream” to “the actress starring in your bad dreams,” threatening again the mysterious “you” the track brings back time and time again. As the bridge of Swift’s song is approached, listeners hear her sing “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh ‘cause she’s dead!” which alludes to the infamous phone call recording Kim Kardashian spread last year in which Swift appears to be talking to West of his “Famous” lyrics.
The reference to the “old Taylor” being “dead” explains her strange drop of social media in the week leading up to the single release. Swift deleted all social media accounts, later showing up “new” and dropping hints involving snakes, suggesting that the singer was shedding her old skin and starting over. The title of Swift’s newest song “Look What You Made Me Do” definitely points to karma and the idea that those who have wronged her have one messy storm coming their way. All the vengeful energy in her release comes back to this repeating line implying that her enemies “made” her release this song with her new album Reputation. In other words, her angry track can simply be interpreted as justice being served.
Swift’s comeback song is crushing records left and right and her music video is currently booming with 53 million views, as well as her Spotify and radio ratings. If the rest of her album sounds like this, her fans are in for a treat. This may just be Swift’s best album yet. What will the rest of her album hold, and is this her new “reputation” or just another one of her phases?