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Lyrical Interpretation: “Look What You Made Me Do”


Last Friday, the world was rocked with the release of the first single from Taylor Swift’s upcoming album Reputation.  “Look What You Made Me Do” was the best thing in the world for some, caused Twitter meltdowns for others, and garnered about as much publicity as a new song possibly can.  I’m not here to discuss the merits of whether the song is good or not, I’ll let the masses decide that.  For a song release of such magnitude though, it is only natural that it deserves a deep dive into the lyrical content and determine what exactly the song is about.  I have done said analysis and want to share that with you now.  Here is the lyrical interpretation of “Look What You Made Me Do”.

I don’t like your little games
Don’t like your tilted stage
The role you made me play
Of the fool, no, I don’t like you
I don’t like your perfect crime
How you laugh when you lie
You said the gun was mine
Isn’t cool, no, I don’t like you (oh!)

This first verse makes it clear that Taylor has considered herself wronged by someone(s).  She is establishing early that she has a vendetta toward the antagonist.

But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time
Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time
I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined
I check it once, then I check it twice, oh

Here is our first real clue to what is happening in this song.  In this hook Taylor indicates that she rose from the dead.  Is she a zombie, a wight?  Unfortunately not, it’s much more nefarious.  Also note the “list of names” lyric.  Clearly this is a reference to a hit list which identifies not just one antagonist, but many.  Let’s examine further.

Ooh, look what you made me do x1000

Her actions are a clear result of previous actions from the aforementioned others on the hit list.  She isn’t taking responsibility for the actions, rather, placing the blame on others.  Curious.

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?)
The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama
But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma
And then the world moves on, but one thing’s for sure
Maybe I got mine, but you’ll all get yours

Hmm, so she was removed from a place of power and now she’s been plotting revenge ever since.  Also of note in this verse is the reference to sleep, this is a theme which we will see repeated later.

But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time
Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time
I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined
I check it once, then I check it twice, oh

This again, she really wants us to realize that she came back from the dead to seek retribution on her enemies.

Ooh, look what you made me do x1000 again

She really does say this line a lot.

I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me
I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams

This line is repeated several times and really brings us to the heart of the matter.  She has disconnected from everybody else and now inhabits the nightmares of her enemies.  That can only lead us to the last bit of the song and the ultimate conclusion.

“I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now.”
“Why?”
“Oh, ’cause she’s dead!” (ohh!)

Old Taylor is dead, which can only lead us to one conclusion…

Taylor Swift has become a modern-day Freddy Krueger.

Swift checks off all the boxes: she’s dead, presumably by the actions of others.  She’s out for revenge.  She acts within the nightmares of her enemies.  Don’t be surprised to see some changes to her wardrobe in upcoming concerts.

 

 

 

Article written by Josh Juckett