If you know me, you know that I am a pop music connoisseur. If I’m not listening to it, I am either sleeping or blabbering about it to one of my friends.
That being said, the most excitement I have ever felt in pop music was in 2017 when Taylor Swift released “Look What You Made Me Do,” the lead single for her sixth album “Reputation.”
The reason why I particularly love this tune is because of the context. Leading up to the release, Swift was on a public hiatus since the whole world got invested in her feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian — the one where Kardashian illegally recorded a phone call between Kanye and Swift where he asked for permission to use her name in a song, then stitched it together to make Taylor seem like she was playing the victim.
Swift blacked out all her social media, was not responding to the hate online and everyone was on the edge of their seats waiting to see how she would respond. I am not exaggerating when I say the biggest social media influencer in the world was tearing her apart online in front of her 100 million followers:
Then, the most iconic thing happened: Swift posted a video of a glitchy and cryptic snake. No context, no caption, just 10 seconds of a snake rattling its tail.
At this point, I was not a huge T-Swift fan, but I was dying to see what would come next.
Taylor then announced “Reputation” and plans to drop the lead single “Look What You Made Me Do” during the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards — one of the biggest nights in pop culture.
This was not just a simple single release. It was a global collapse … a cultural reset. Nearly everyone watching the VMAs would be interested in pop culture, meaning that they would know all about the Kanye/Taylor feud. Releasing this in the middle of the award show would grab everyone’s attention and publicly display her response to all of the hate. It was an absolute genius move by T-Swift.
The premise of the video is Taylor embracing all of the rumors and hate online she has received during her hiatus. She took the “snake” persona and turned it into the symbol for her era. She turned every single headline that was attacking her into a beautiful piece of cinematography. Flawless choreography, movie budget visuals, CGI animation of snakes crawling up her throne, dressing up as different versions of herself — Swift did it all and more.
I felt this on a deep level. In 2017, my whole Catholic high school found out I was gay. Relationships I considered close were severed, I was banned from entering some people’s houses and I deliberately avoided any situation where I could be left alone.
The only person I felt like I could relate to was a 2017 Taylor Swift, fresh out of her feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. My reputation at school was completely over and Swift’s was getting torn apart online. I felt like we were both defeated, but this music video gave me the inspiration to continue on.
This article would not be complete without mentioning how LWYMMD was the only song powerful enough to dethrone Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber’s “Despacito” from its record-breaking No. 1 spot on The Hot 100 Chart for 16 weeks. The comeback single also broke the record for the highest amount of streams in a 24-hour period on Spotify. With this track, Swift taught everyone the importance of reclaiming your own narrative and how to effectively put out a comeback single.
“In the death of her reputation she truly felt alive.” — Taylor Swift
Watch the video here: