It’s… it’s happened.
Gone are the days when a musician would just stand in front of a camera, miming the lyrics, and occasionally gyrating. Now film clips have a whole narrative, and a back story, and you almost need a PhD in pop culture to interpret them.
There are layers… and imagery… and long-held grudges… and secret messages… and all those other things you wrote about in your high school English essays.
Luckily for you, I’ve deep-dived into the world of Swiftism to find out exactly what Taylor’s trying to tell us with this subtle, multi-million dollar film clip/personal vendetta against Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and Katy Perry.
The video opens on a gravestone that reads "Here lies Taylor Swift's reputation" and then Swift literally rises from the dead and it's all very Thriller circa 1982. If Michael Jackson was a millennial white woman and Twitter existed back then.
Once Swift has successfully clawed her way out of her grave, she lies in a bath of jewels.
While this may look like your average, casual jewel bath - it might, just might, be a reference to Kim Kardashian's infamous Paris robbery. The lyrics are: "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".
But before we have time to process that, erm, kind of inappropriate jab, a very Katy Perry-esque version of Taylor Swift - holding a Grammy - crashes a car into a lamppost.
It's a car crash AKA a train wreck AKA a hot mess AKA a total swipe at Perry. There's also a tiger in the passenger seat because, you know, Eye of the Tiger.
She then wears a cat mask that also references Katy Perry, and I don't know, but I think she's trying to tell us something, guys.
The rest of the film clip introduces all the 'old Taylors' we know and love, and have totally forgotten about.
There's snakes, and a plane (no snakes on the plane, though), and some kind of budget version of Beyonce's formation.
The video ends with a line up of every single iteration of Swift - from her innocent first album, to her infamous 2009 'Imma let you finish' Kanye VMAs appearance, to her current self - erm, Taylor 10.0?
All the Taylors fight amongst themselves and it's all very self-aware. Or maybe it's meta?
The Katy Perry-esque Taylor says she's "getting receipts" so she can edit "this later". (Yep, we're confused too.)
“I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative,” says 2009 VMAs Swift, before the rest yell at her, “Shut up!”
Without getting too high school English essay on you - this is the real beauty of the film clip. While Taylor might be taking aim at her enemies in this clip, she's also putting herself - and her ever evolving career and personality - under the microscope.
And that's why we keep coming back to Taylor over and over again - because we never know who she's going to be next.
For more on Katy Perry, click here.
For more on the VMAs, click here.