So you’ve probably seen Taylor Swift’s new “...Ready for It?” video by now, in which case you’re probably wondering what all that intense Taylor-on-Taylor action was about. Not to worry — Swifties have got you covered.
Since the video’s premiere on Thursday night (October 26), fans have been working overtime dissecting the cyberpunk-themed visual feast. The video’s central narrative seems to be about Taylor reclaiming her reputation, but what about the easter eggs and hidden messages buried underneath all those splashy CGI effects? Did she just watch the Blade Runner 2049 trailer once and go from there? Nope — there’s a lot more than meets the (creepy robotic) eye. Read on for the juiciest theories.
Reputation song titles are hidden in the graffiti.
I know it’s hard to focus when Taylor’s busting out her sassiest strut, but look closely at the graffiti painted on the walls around her. At the 28-second mark, for instance, you can see “UR Gorgeous,” a probable nod to the song Tay released last week, “Gorgeous.” Other phrases written on the walls include “All Eyes on Us,” “This is Enough,” and “I Love You in Secret,” which might also be the titles of Reputation tracks.
Taylor shouts out her boyfriend’s birthday.
The first time we see Taylor, she’s standing in front of a wall that has the numbers “89” and “91” painted on it. The first is a reference to her birth year, and the latter seems to be a shout-out to her current boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, who was born in 1991. Later on, Taylor types the number “21” into a keypad, which could be another reference to Alwyn, whose birthday is February 21.
Her exes make a sneaky appearance.
In the “Look What You Made Me Do” video, Taylor was joined by eight male dancers, which were thought to reference her eight ex-boyfriends (Calvin, Harry, Tom, etc.). This time around, there are eight cyborgs who guard the entrance to her secret lair.
There’s a collaboration clue hidden in those Chinese characters.
Chinese characters appear throughout the video, and director Joseph Kahn basically confirmed there’s hidden meaning there. For instance, 蛇年 translates to “Year of the Snake,” referencing Taylor’s unflattering reputation as a “snake,” as well as the year of her birth, 1989, which is the year of the snake in the Chinese Zodiac. 艾迪 also appears in the video, which translates to Eddie. Could there be a collaboration with Taylor’s pal Ed Sheeran on Reputation?
The feud with Kimye burns on.
This could be another Reputation song title (or even two — “They’re Burning” and “All the Witches,” perhaps?), but most fans think the phrase alludes to Swift’s feud with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, which has been called a “witch hunt.”
She’s not done lighting up Calvin Harris.
At one point, Naked Taylor shoots lightning bolts from her fingertips, which some fans believe is a reference to her ex Calvin Harris. The cover art for Harris’s collab with Rihanna, “This Is What You Came For,” featured a bolt of lightning, and it was later revealed that Swift wrote the single under the name Nils Sjöberg. Adding fuel to the fire, Kahn tweeted “Nils Sjöbot,” an obvious reference to that pseudonym.
There’s a callback to “Bad Blood.”
Kahn also directed Swift’s “Bad Blood,” a similarly battle-ready vid in which Swift and her loyal squad members fight their haters. But in this video, she’s alone and facing her nastiest enemy yet: herself.
She’s her own savior on a white horse.
At one point, Naked Taylor mounts a white horse, which seems to be a callback to her Grammy-winning ballad “White Horse” from her second album, Fearless. (She also rides a white horse in the video for “Blank Space,” another song that plays with Tay’s public persona.) This time, however, Swift doesn’t need someone to come rescue her — she’s taking control of her own life and can save herself, thankyouverymuch.
Naked Taylor is the “real” Taylor.
The most commonly agreed-upon theory, it seems, is that Naked Taylor represents the “real” Taylor, and the smirking Evil Taylor represents her media-created persona. Here’s the gist of it: Naked Taylor feels trapped by Evil Taylor, which is why she’s caged in a glass box — she even screams “jailer” to show how she feels imprisoned. This has gone on for too long, though, so she uses her power and her voice to take control. She breaks free and destroys her captor (who’s revealed to be a robot), continuing the “old Taylor is dead” concept from “Look What You Made Me Do.” Boom. Mind blown. Good work, Swifties.