Original Graphic by Olivia Mei Kwiatkowski

What Did Taylor Swift Do Anyway?

Tues-Reviews of the latest video(s) from the pop singer sensation.

Let it be remembered that August 24th, 2017 was the day the snake bit back. Honestly, I do not particularly see what or who Taylor Swift did so wrong that she would have to be so petty these last few songs she’s released. I could go into a whole pop-scandal writing, but I care more for the visual meaning, rather than the song, of Taylor Swift’s lastest music video for “Look What You Made Me Do.”

The first video released was a lyric video, and it was where I first listened to the song. I was intrigued by rumors of great animation and art direction spread by my fellow visual friends. To keep it short, they were incredibly right. The typography was pretty amazing and consistant with the theme of the song. The bold lines and sketch qualities of it was like writing in a bathroom mirror. The variations in the text also gave it an eerie American Horror Story feeling, but was not the very overused Scottish Arts and Crafts style of the Glasgow School and Mackintosh that the franchise uses. The working of sillouettes was pretty amazing also; paper and cut out, just like how Taylor feels like in the eyes of the media.

Reading some of the lyrics was hard, but not necessary considering the simplicity and general ease of picking up the words of the song. I really appreciated how the chorus animation was not exactly the same. Each time, there was an added element, specifically of heightening stress, cracking anxiety, and darkening fears. They made video less repetitive and more symbolic. The snake honestly felt a little out of place and forced, but it was appropriate reference as it is what sparked the shade-throwing music video anyway. Red has always been a signature color of Taylor Swift, in my opinion, and was rightly violent, and harsh on the eyes. It gave me the additional, and probably over thinking, feeling of Communist Revolution period art, who used red and black for their rebellion.

The second, and offical music video, is incredibly riddled, in a pretty good way. I appreciated the zombie part in the beginning, but also didnt quite get it. While it probably was just a means of capturing the audience, I still wanted there to be a bit more impact for that Z-Taylor. The symbolism of her most “previously” killed persona burying another was intriquging and well written. Diamond-Taylor and Snake-Taylor were a bit too similiar to me, but they got the idea across how she is viewed as a rich bitch and a scammbing back stabber Again, I wish the snake-sona was more enticing; she just sat there with snakes all around her, and I felt there could have been more. Cheata-Taylor, Robber-Taylor, and Bike-Taylor were not clear to me on the first, and I needed to watch video again to just get a basic concept. BDSM-Taylor was interesting and I had not really saw that persona so much. After watching it again, I realized it was more symbolic of her followers being dolls and doing whatever Taylor does, even if it is sexual idea innproriate for young followers. I took the Dance-Taylor as her overall and generalized self today, now dark and edgy with followerings that like her almost way too much.

The best part was the concluding scenes with all of the Taylors, some specifically from other music videos and real life events, climbing to be the top “Rep” known by the public, struggling with one another to be seen. And then, at the end, all of them intereacting with themselves. Not only was this good humor toward Taylor herself, but really showing how the singer is self aware of who she is and the trail she has left behind. Personas in videos and general media has not been a new thing, but the specificity of identity and use of set, rather than character, to establish alternate selves was pretty unique and cool. And with her money, the directing and editing and any special effects were spot on.

I loved country Swift, having to listen to country radio in my father’s car every day on the way to school as a kid, and enjoyed the pop transision of her romance songs. When she started to get too pop-star and problamatic in general, I found little interest. However, “Look What You Made Me Do,” has my eyes back on the start. She’s very much shown she is self aware and unappologtic without bashing specifically someone else (unlike in her video “Bad Blood”), and I agree with this philosophy to an extend. You should not dwell too much on the past and who you once were, or use that as a crutch for the now and future. Being who you are and doing what you like in the moment is what will make you the most happy. Good job Taylor Swift, you’ve got me looking back at you.