All The References You Might Have Missed In Taylor Swift’s ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ Video
The era of Dark Taylor is well and truly upon us. The world’s most controversial popstar premiered her ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ video today at the MTV VMAs, and it’s jam-packed full of nods to her various beefs. Kanye! Kim! Katy Perry! … Beyonce? To help you make sense of it all, we’ve gone deep on all the references you might have missed in this extraordinarily petty clip. Here we go!
She Took A Very Low Swipe At Kim Kardashian
There’s no way the scene where Taylor lies in a bath tub filled with jewels is anything but an extremely poor-taste reference to Kim Kardashian’s Paris robbery, where she was tied up at gunpoint and placed in the bath while robbers stole $10 million worth of jewellery.
Don’t believe us? Here’s some more evidence, as compiled by Junkee’s Matilda Dixon-Smith: the bathroom looks very Parisian. Tay holds her fingers together like a gun and mimes shooting. The most famous piece of jewellery taken by the robbers was Kim’s 20-carat diamond engagement ring, and here there’s a close-up shot here of a bunch of diamond rings on Taylor’s finger. Tay sings the words “I don’t like your perfect crime”, possibly alluding to the conspiracy theories that the Paris robbery was an inside job.
Even for Taylor Swift, this is petty as hell.
Taylor Swift Speaks Latin, Guys
Inscribed on the arm of Taylor’s throne is ‘Et tu, Brute?’, a Latin sentence meaning “Even you, Brutus?” or, in modern terms, “You dog bitch”. It’s a line from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, uttered by Caesar as he’s being stabbed to death and recognises his friend Brutus among the assassins.
This is almost certainly a reference to former friend Katy Perry, who went behind her back to steal her back-up dancers, setting this whole dumb beef into motion.
She’s Not Ready To Bury The Hatchet With Katy Perry
You thought that would be the only Katy Perry reference in this video? Nooope.
We immediately cut to this scene, in which Taylor Swift is dressed up (convincingly, we might add) as Katy Perry. She’s crashed her car because she wants us to know that she thinks Katy’s career of late is a very public car crash. She is holding a Grammy to remind us that Perry has never won one, while Swift has won ten. There’s a leopard in the passenger seat, which is probably Taylor’s way of saying that Perry will never change her spots.
Spare a thought for Katy Perry, who had to carry on hosting the VMAs mere moments after this was aired as if nothing was wrong.
She’s Still Pissed At Spotify
That scene where Taylor is swinging the baseball bat around? Look in the background — she’s robbing something called ‘Stream Co’, which we’re going to deduce is a generic music streaming company.
It’s a nod to her old beef with Spotify — she pulled her music from the streaming platform because she believed they don’t pay artists fairly, only to reinstate her catalogue the day Katy Perry’s new album came out. T Swift: a true working-class hero.
Here’s Your Squad Update
At the end of the video — the best part of this whole thing — all Taylor Swift’s past iterations take swipes at each other. There’s the Problematic White Swan from ‘Shake It Off’. The perpetually surprised ‘You Belong With Me’ Taylor. The 2009 MTV VMAs Taylor. The playing-the-victim Taylor.
But take a look at ‘You Belong With Me’ Taylor’s t-shirt and you’ll notice the name of various squad members written on: Selena [Gomez], Blake & Ryan, Gigi [Hadid], Ed [Sheeran], Lena [Dunham], Todrick [Hall, who appears in the video], Martha [Hunt], Alana and Este from HAIM, Abigail (Swift’s childhood friend, who is name-checked in the lyrics to ‘Fifteen’).
Noticeably absent? Ella Yelich O’Connor, aka Lorde, who this year told the press she “doesn’t hang out with” Swift’s friends at all and compared being friends with Taylor Swift to having an autoimmune disease. Oops!
UNCOMFIRMED: Is She Pissed At Beyonce?
And then there’s the maybe-nod to ‘Formation’, which you’ve probably heard all about by now. But is Tay tipping her hat to Beyonce? Is she taking a swipe at her? And is that baseball bat another Lemonade reference? Honestly, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯