Taylor Swift's reputation arrived today, which means we can finally examine the theory that the tracks align with the multiple "Taylors" that appear in the "Look What You Made Me Do" music video. This theory has been bandied about on Reddit ever since the tracklist appeared on Apple Music. There are 15 tracks on the album. At the end of the "LWYMMD" video, there are 15 different versions of Taylor Swift. (The fifteenth Taylor stands on the plane behind the rest of the girls, spray-painting the word "reputation.") As the theory goes, each Taylor corresponds to a different song track. This means every song track matches a different Taylor Swift epoch.
This theory isn't watertight, but it holds up in certain circumstances, and it's fun to examine. For example, the song "Dress" is track 12. The twelfth Taylor wears a blue dress not unlike the dress Taylor wore in the "Out of the Woods" music video. It's also the same dress Taylor allegedly wore
the day she broke up with Harry Styles. So: Maybe this song is about Harry Styles? It is the most prurient one of the bunch, and who among us doesn't find Harry Styles and his floppy hair sexy?
Again, it's not watertight. "Dress" is more likely about Joe Alwyn. Still, it's fun to think that Swift left these references for us to catch. So, don your foil cap and join me on this conspiracy ride!
"...Ready For It" This seems self-explanatory. First off, this is a new Taylor. And, she's on a motorcycle, raring to go. She's ready for the new era of Taylor.
"End Game (Feat. Ed Sheeran and Future)" Another new Taylor. This one is in the middle of robbing a streaming company, though. This is what we're getting: Her end game is to destroy all streaming companies. ( Reputation is not on Spotify.)
"I Did Something Bad" In the "LWYMMD" video, this Taylor stands atop a pile of "dead" Taylors. Presumably, this is the bad thing she's done.
"Don't Blame Me" This outfit is from Swift's 2012 performance at the European Music Awards, where she sung "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." Oddly enough, "Don't Blame Me" is the opposite of "We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together." In the song, Taylor begs people not to judge her for staying by her love's side. "Lord, save me/My drug is my baby/I'll be usin' for the rest of my life," she sings. She's bound herself to this man (presumably Joe Alwyn). Meanwhile, in "WANEEGBT," she swears the exact opposite — she binds herself to the single life.
"Delicate" Ah, a Taylor Swift from the Fearless era. This seems fitting, because "Delicate" is slow-tempo love song that almost resembles 2010-era Taylor. Swift is nervous in this song. "Is it cool that I said all that?" she asks. "Is it chill that you're in my head?" So, she's not exactly "fearless," but then again isn't fearless a fallacy?
"Look What You Made Me Do" This is the Taylor in the video who's busy taking "receipts," a.k.a photos. Self-explanatory: Kim Kardashian released "receipts" of the conversation between Kanye and Taylor Swift. And, "LWYMMD" is the song that addresses the West-Swift feud most directly.
"So It Goes..." This is 2009 VMAs Taylor, the very same Taylor who said, "I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative." Of course, she does want to be included in the narrative, as evidenced by this entire album. "So It Goes" is another love song, so it's not entirely relevant to the Kanye-Swift feud. Still, the title of the song is technically a quote from Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. "So it goes" was Vonnegut's reminder to think about the magnitude of war. Is Taylor Swift comparing her feud to war? (Probably not. Are you still wearing your hat?)
"Gorgeous" We've been over this. "Gorgeous" is allegedly about Joe Alwyn. Swift supposedly met Alwyn at the 2014 Met Gala. This is what Swift wore at the 2014 Met Gala. Taylor, ya done good! This one holds up!
"Getaway Car" It seems fitting that the song about a getaway car matches the Taylor Swift who is literally on a plane. A plane is a swankier version of a getaway car, right? The song contains this lyric, "We were flyin', but we'd never get far." She also says "jet set" and, in general, talks about vehicles a lot.
"King Of My Heart" This song is yet another love song. If it's about Tom Hiddleston, this alignment makes sense. Taylor's backup dancers wear t-shirts that read, "I [heart] TS," the same shirt that Tom Hiddleston wore at her Fourth of July party back in 2015. "King Of My Heart" has a lot of references to British-isms — "prove to me I'm your American Queen" and "say you fancy me" are particularly pointed — and Hiddleston is British. Then again, so is Joe Alwyn.
"Dancing With Our Hands Tied" Look, it's "You Belong With Me" Taylor! Alas, she barely matches "DWOHT," an anthem about forbidden love. Taylor sings, "I, I loved you in spite of/Deep fears that the world would divide us/So, baby, can we dance/Oh, through an avalanche?" There is a tenuous connection to be made between the themes in "You Belong With Me," a song about the perils of inter-clique dating in high school, and "Dancing With Our Hands Tied," a song about the perils of dating when you're a maligned celebrity.
"Dress" "Dress" makes sense in title only. Dead Taylor wears a blue dress not unlike her blue breakup dress. And then, she sings an entire song about a dress. (The basic gist of the song is that she purchased the dress so that it could be removed.)
"This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" After "LWYMMD," "TIWWCHNT" is the most Kanye-heavy song on the album. Swift references her heydey, when she was like "Gatsby," and asks, "Why'd you have to rain on my parade?" This semi-corresponds to the thirteenth Taylor, who wears the same tutu that appeared in the "Shake It Off" video. "TIWWCHNT" has the same cheeky tone as "Shake It Off," as well as a similar idea. "Shake It Off" was a fuck-you to the haters. "TIWWCHNT" is a nihilistic declaration that nothing matters anyway. Taylor Swift can't have nice things anymore! Just shake it off, Taylor!
"Call It What You Want" Look, it's the sassy snake Taylor from the "LWYMMD" video. Except she's singing about her love of Joe Alwyn. Maybe Joe and Taylor love snakes?
"New Year's Day" The final Taylor is an odd one. She wears an orange jumpsuit and, in the "LWYMMD" video, she swings inside of a bird cage. "New Year's Day" is the least reputation song on the entire album. It's just Swift and a piano — no reverb or synth to be found. Swings Swift, "I want your midnights/But I'll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year's Day." Not exactly bird-in-a-cage material. "New Year's Day" is a lovely end to the album because it suggests a new beginning. New Taylor isn't that different from Old Taylor, turns out.
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