Taylor Swift’s new video for “Look What You Made Me Do” is already a bona fide hit in terms of views — over 30 million at the time of writing this.
And it’s at least partly a response to anyone, and everyone, who ever talked badly about her — she never names names but casts a wide range of targets. But like Swift herself, some of the video’s scenes are proving to be divisive among viewers. (Although there are definitely some far-fetched interpretations.) Here are three of the hottest areas of controversy.
1. The hook
The title line of the song basically implies that Taylor is striking back at her offenders (see: Katy Perry, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian) not because she wants to but because she has to. Same goes for her “killing off” her older selves (various Swifts from past music videos appear in “LWYMMD”). But some listeners think “Look what you made me do” is an example of victim blaming commonly used by domestic abusers.
“Look What You Made Me Do” is the exact phrase my dad uttered every time he would knock the shit out of me.
Just not a good look.
— Justina Ireland (@justinaireland) August 25, 2017
the phrase “look what you made me do” makes my skin crawl. was a fav line of abusers i worked with. and yet, nobody *made* them do anything.
— Laci Green (@gogreen18) August 25, 2017
Swift is obviously not promoting any sort of abuse of that nature; it’s more the wording that people are taking issue with.
2. That car crash
This scene seems to have the most fan theories behind it. Swift, sporting a short blond haircut and holding a Grammy, crashes into a pole in a bright yellow sports car (naturally, with a TS insignia on the front). Afterward, she’s photographed in the wreck by a group of paparazzi.
On the surface, this is a simple dig against Katy Perry, who recently has been wearing a similar ’do. But other interpretations involve Kanye West:
Taylor Swift’s whole “Kanye car crash” jab was totally uncalled for and sick
— Ja$mine (@bryzontiller) August 28, 2017
That’s most likely referencing when West, in 2002, crashed his car and had to endure reconstructive surgery that led to his jaw being wired shut. Later, he wrote his hit song “Through the Wire” about the traumatizing incident.
Third, and coming the furthest from left field, is the idea that the car crash scene is offensive to the memory of Princess Diana, who famously died in a car crash involving the paparazzi.
Not loving the car crash with the paparazzi…. 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death… kinda heartless and completely disrespectful
— Kara Rutherford (@karalrutherford) August 28, 2017
Yeah … that might be stretching it.
3. The bejeweled bathtub
In another supposed example of poor taste, some people are claiming that one scene mocks Kim Kardashian’s 2016 robbery. Swift is seen lounging in a bathtub full of shiny diamonds and jewels, and that, according to various people on Twitter, is a knock on the fact that Kardashian was bound and gagged in a bathtub while being robbed at gunpoint.
Even for a venomous revenge track like “Look What You Made Me Do,” that would be a very extreme, and unnecessarily cruel, reference. Swift, even in her current “bad girl” phase, seems far too empathetic to explicitly poke fun at such a serious incident.
More likely, she’s making fun of herself and the Swift caricature that appears in the “Blank Space” music video. She once told NME about this that video: “She’s crying in her marble bathtub surrounded by pearls.”
Here’s what went down off-camera at the VMAs:
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