Taylor Swift’s New Reputation


By Lizzie MacKercher, Staff Writer

10 time Grammy Award winning songwriter, Taylor Swift, came out of hiding on August 24 to release her much anticipated first single in three years, along with a music video that premiered at the VMAs and is now on youtube.

After a total social media wipe and blackout, Swift announced her new single with posts on Instagram about her upcoming new album, “Reputation,” her 6th record during her career.

Stephanie Ruffner, GMU senior, discussed how relieved she was that a new single dropped so suddenly.

“Yes it’s different, and I wasn’t expecting it,” Ruffner says. “But I love that Taylor is standing up for herself and showing that you can switch styles if you want.”

Swift’s new song, titled “Look What You Made Me Do,” has shocked listeners, as it not only strays from her typical sound, but also seems to call out a number of accusations and criticisms that the media and other celebrities have made towards Swift in recent years.

The thing is, this song is not about anyone but Swift and her claiming back her reputation, by saying that she’s not letting the public tell her who she is.

The video is dripping with satire, which included the line, “Sorry, the old Taylor Swift can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ‘Cause she’s dead!”

This line is supposedly poking fun at internet trolls who spread the hashtag “#TaylorSwiftisDead” during the Taylor v. Kanye feud back in 2016.

Many listeners and fans took this to mean that the “new Taylor” is edgier, less relatable and more distant than past albums. She’s still the same Taylor, but she is not trying to prove that any longer.

Roya Aref, Junior at GMU and fan of Swift, expressed her loyalty to the singer for always speaking the truth.

“It’s awesome that Taylor can have the confidence to put herself out there again and again and write songs about it,” Aref said. “You have to really forget what people think.”

For years, Swift has been dubbed as the artist who only sings about broken relationships, backstabbing friends, or “playing the victim.” Swift pokes fun at many allegations throughout the video.

The most notable, is the bathtub scene that features only one dollar, the dollar she sued radio DJ David Mueller for her sexual assault case.

The snake scene features snakes holding a cup of tea, referencing Kim Kardashian and other fans calling her “the snake queen.” This is regarding her debacle with Kanye West and his lyrics “I made that bitch famous,” which she claimed he lied about when asking her for permission to use the lyrics.

The media criticized Taylor for making a “squad” of skinny model girls that looked “fake and plastic,” and Taylor dedicated a scene to robot plastic models with the words Squad on the screens.

In the dancing scene she had eight male dancers that all “fell” for her, she also has eight ex-boyfriends, regarding the ongoing joke that she has dated too many people.

The car crash scene shows Taylor holding a Grammy, referencing the fact that the media only cares about her hardships, not her success or positive actions.

In the last scene there are fifteen versions of Taylor throughout the years and eras and there are fifteen songs on her upcoming album Reputation. Almost every joke or dig at Taylor she used in the last scene.

Like I stated, the lyrics and video are full of satire, meaning that the overzealous attitude is her mocking the media for the “reputation” they have placed on her.

Sophomore Madison Williams makes the point that while you might not like her style, that shaming her for all of the reasons above is illegitimate.

“She’s always seemed like a nice person in interviews, and there are other artists who personify a much more selfish and egotistical attitude,” Roberts said. “She probably is at fault for many things, but how many of us aren’t?”

There are still 13 more songs to be heard on the album, which means Swift has more to say.

In this era, maybe we will be getting a “new” Taylor, but the new Taylor might just be the same all along, but now an unapologetic version who is done being scrutinized for dating, having friends or standing up for herself.