The snake-heavy video premiered during the MTV VMAs but now fans have had some time to sit with it, they’ve dug deep finding plenty of hidden references.
On the surface, the video essentially buries the ‘old Taylor’ while also bringing back many of her past personas to criticise each other. It’s an exposing look at her career and a look at how the media has portrayed her over the years.
If you dig deeper, however, you’ll find she’s also seemingly addressing her recent sexual assault case, her ex-boyfriends and that ‘girl squad’.
Below are a number of things keen fans have picked up.
A Gravestone With The Name ‘Nils Sjoberg’ On It
In 2016, Taylor Swift wrote ‘This Is What You Came For’ with then boyfriend Calvin Harris. She used a pseudonym for it so nobody knew it was her until it was eventually revealed that Nils Sjoberg was Tay Tay.
Nils Sjoberg died as well, she used it as a pseudonym for calvin's "this is what u came for" when co-writing the song pic.twitter.com/JyEevd1I47
— artemis 🏹 (@lovelyfulgar) August 28, 2017
The Swift Zombie Is Wearing A Dress From A Previous Video
When she rises from the dead as a zombie she’s wearing the same dress as she was wearing in the video for 1989 track Out Of The Woods which could mean that she wasn’t able to make it “out of the woods” until now.
The Dollar Bill In The Bath
Swift was awarded $1 last week when she won a court case against David Mueller, the DJ that groped her back in 2013. While she’s laying in the bath amongst jewels, there’s a $1 bill sitting atop. Some fans are speculating that this means the song is not so much a Kanye diss and perhaps more of a song directed at Mueller.
TAYLOR SWIFT BEING EXTRA IN #LWYMMDvideo
THE DOLLAR THAT SHE WON FROM HER TRIAL (!!!) pic.twitter.com/pXraqxa3yW
— 𝓛𝑜𝓋𝑒, 𝖎𝖖𝖗𝖆𝖒❤️ #WeStandWithTaylor (@FlynnFitz13) August 28, 2017
The ‘Et Tu Brute’ Julius Caesar Reference
In one scene, Swift sits on a throne that has ‘Et Tu Brute’ inscribed on it. It means, “and, you brute?” and it’s a reference to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. In the play, it was said as Marcus Brutus, Caesar’s once-friend, fatally stabs him. People online think that this is Swift addressing all those that she previously trusted who have stabbed her in the back.
Under taylor's arm the handle of the seat reads "Et tu Brute" which means "you too Brutus" from the play "Julius Caesar" which was also on pic.twitter.com/7H6Sf33Uzo
— Amjad (@toumuchtoum) August 28, 2017
She’s Holding A Grammy In One Scene
When she crashes a Maserati in a dead-end street, Swift is posing with a Grammy and while some fans online think this is somehow a Katy Perry diss because she’s yet to claim a Grammy, there’s also a theory that she’s suggesting her album RED deserved a Grammy. The title track of that album features the line, “Driving a new Maserati down a dead end street.”
' Driving a new Maserati down a dead end street ' – Red, Taylor Swift.
— Poy (@cleffochea) August 28, 2017
She’s Robbing A Company Called Stream Co
At one point in the video, Swift seems to be robbing a business and if you look closely, it’s called ‘Stream Co’. Until this year, Swift did not have her music on Spotify and she also took Apple Music to task when it first started up back in 2015 before deciding to put her music on there after negotiation. It seems she still has an issue with streaming platforms.
Thing I didn't notice on first viewing: Taylor is robbing the vault of "Stream Co" pic.twitter.com/kalSSCOCQi
— Reed Kavner (@reedkavner) August 28, 2017
The ‘I Heart TS’ Tees
Here’s one that only those who pay close attention to Swift’s personal life would’ve picked up. Her ex-boyfriend Tom Hiddleston once wore an ‘I Heart TS’ t-shirt and it pops up once again in this video with her backup dancers wearing it one scene. Some are even speculating that there are eight dancers because that’s the amount of ex-boyfriends she has.
The crops tops read I heart TS which is a shirt Tom Hiddleston (her ex) wore once pic.twitter.com/fnC6DVx99F
— Amjad (@toumuchtoum) August 28, 2017
The Shirt With The Names Of Her Squad Members On It
At the end, when a bunch of Swift personas appear, there’s one wearing a t-shirt that has the names of all the squad members on it. The tee features names like the HAIM sisters, Gigi Hadid, Lena Dunham and Ed Sheeran but fans have noticed there’s one notable omission – Lorde.
I just have to ask…
Why is Lorde not on Taylor's shirt?
Is it because Lorde threw shade at Taylor's squad in her past interviews?
— ch | #StreamLOVER (@Apostoool) August 28, 2017