Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do": All the Easter Eggs, Shade and Symbolism

"There she goes, playing the victim...again," the singer says, mocking herself

By Zach Johnson Aug 28, 2017 2:45 PMTags

Look what Taylor Swift made us do.

During the 2017 MTV VMAs Sunday night, Swift released the music video for "Look What You Made Me Do," the lead single off her upcoming sixth studio album Reputation. Swift, who did not make an in-person appearance at the annual event, swiftly became the talk of social media and received over 20 million views on YouTube in less than 12 hours. The video, directed by Joseph Khan, was laden with references to her enemies and the media's misconceptions of her.

To quote one of Swift's personas, "There she goes, playing the victim...again."

Well, not exactly. Here, E! News breaks down some of the references fans noticed on Twitter:

Candid Moments at the 2017 MTV VMAs
Back From the Dead

Zombie Swift, wearing the same dress she wore in "Out of the Woods," crawls out of her grave. One of the tombstones belongs to Nils Sjoberg, the pseudonym Swift used when she co-wrote "This Is What You Came For" with Calvin Harris.

If I Die Young

Recognize this Oscar de la Renta dress? It's the same one Swift wore to the 2014 Met Gala.

Death by Diamonds & Pearls

Talking about the vindictive character she played in "Blank Space," Swift told NME, "She jet-sets around the world collecting men! And she can get any of them, but she's so clingy that they leave and she cries and then she gets another one in her web! And she traps them and locks them in her mansion and then she's crying in her marble bathtub surrounded by pearls." Marble bathtub? Check. Pearls? Check. And that $1 bill? It's a reference to her legal battle against former radio host David Mueller, whom Swift accused of groping her at a 2013 concert. A judge awarded her $1, which she had requested, as part of the verdict. As for that locket on the floor? It appears to be the same one Harris gave her.

They'll Tell You I'm Insane

The idea that Swift is a needy and crazy girlfriend inspired the "Blank Space" video. Her hair, jewelry and makeup in that video inspired her look in the bathtub scene.

Trust No One

The quote "Et Tu Brute," from the Shakespearean play Julius Caesar, is etched into Swift's throne. (As he was being stabbed to death, Caesar realized his friend, Brutus, had betrayed him.) The quote also reminded fans of a scene from 2004's Mean Girls, in which Gretchen Weiners (Lacey Chabert) turned against Regina George (Rachel McAdams) and screamed, "We should totally just stab Caesar!" In response to Swift's 2014 interview with Rolling Stone about "Bad Blood," her rival Katy Perry said, "Watch out for the Regina George in sheep's clothing..."

Snake in the Grass

Swift is serving tea—literally—as snakes slither around her. In 2016, after Kim Kardashian leaked partial audio and video clips from Swift's phone call with Kanye West regarding her name-drop in the song "Famous," people began likening Swift to a snake.

Swish, Swish Bish

Swift's look is reminiscent of Perry's style during the Witness promo tour in the spring of 2017.

Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Cold

Perry served herself up on a platter—literally—in the "Bon Appétit" video. Here, Swift enjoys a meal of her own, singing, "I don't like your kingdom keys / They once belonged to me / You asked me for a place to sleep / Locked me out and threw a feast (what?)."

Cat Burglar

Mocking the idea that she's a cat lady, Swift wears a cat mask to stage a heist.

Burn, Baby, Burn

Wearing a tiger sweatshirt (a reference to Perry's "Roar," perhaps?) and surrounded by women in cat masks (Perry's fans are called Katycats), Swift sings, "The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama/ But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma." Perry sings about karma on "Swish Swish," which is rumored to be about Swift. "Your game is tired / You should retire," Perry sings. "You're 'bout as cute as / An old coupon expired / And karma's not a liar / She keeps receipts."

Freedom Isn't Free

Swift robs a streaming company (after pulling her music from Spotify in 2014). Swift, who also complained about Apple Music in 2014, added her catalog to several streaming services in the spring of 2017, just before Katy Perry's Witness came out.

All Dolled Up

Swift mocks the idea that her squad of model friends are as interchangeable as mannequins.

On the Front Line

Could Swift's eight dancers represent her eight famous ex-boyfriends: Joe Jonas, Taylor Lautner, John Mayer, Jake Gyllenhaal, Conor Kennedy, Harry Styles, Harris and Tom Hiddleston?

Fashion Statement

Todrick Hall and Swift's seven other dancers wear "I❤T.S." shirts—a nod to the tank top Hiddleston wore last summer.

Leader of the Pack

Swift asserts her power by standing on a mountain of bodies...who just so happen to be wearing iconic outfits from throughout her career.

Out From Under

Thirteen is Swift's lucky number, which she used to draw on her hand before each concert. The number appears in multiple places in the video.

A Face in the Crowd

Swift wore a "Junior Jewels" T-shirt in the "You Belong With Me" video, but it's been updated so that the names written on her tee belong to squad members like Hall, Alana Haim, Danielle Haim, Este Haim, Lena Dunham, Selena Gomez, Ed Sheeran, Claire Kislinger, Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Abigail Anderson, Gigi Hadid, Martha Hunt and Lily Aldridge.

A Cut Above the Rest

Here's a close-up of Swift's snake jewelry—one of many references to the emoji she blocked from her Instagram comments in 2016.

Catastrophe Strikes Again

Swift blows up a yellow Lamborghini—the same car Perry drove in her "Waking Up in Vegas" music video, which Swift had once praised on Twitter.

Facing the Past

The singer ends the video by confronting her former personas. "Stop making that surprised face," Zombie Swift tells "You Belong With Me" Swift. "It's so annoying."

Every Woman for Herself

"What's with that bitch?" Hip-Hop Swift asks of "Shake It Off" Swift. Referencing one of West's controversial lyrics ("I made that bitch famous"), Zombie Swift yells, "Don't call me that!"

The Reckoning

Perry-inspired Swift is getting "receipts" and planning to "edit" some footage later—a reference to the Snapchat video Kardashian posted after Swift claimed she never approved of West's "Famous" lyric, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous."

Teardrops on Her Guitar

"Stop acting like you're so nice," 2012 MTV EMAs Swift tells KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2009 Swift. "You are so fake."

The End

"Uh, I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative," 2009 MTV VMAs Swift says, referencing her response to Kardashian leaking partial audio and video recordings of her phone call with West. In response, every other Swift yells in unison, "Shut up!"

Watch Daily Pop at noon for more on Swift's return to the spotlight.

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