It’s been 5 years since Taylor Swift released her sixth-studio album ‘Reputation which was the last album to be released with Big Machine Records after she parted ways with them. In celebration of the 5 years here at Fan Girls we are going to talk about 5 reasons why ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ was a cultural reset – see what I did 5 years = 5 reasons.
1. Entering Your Own ‘Reputation Era’
Each Taylor Swift album is known as an ‘era’ such as the ‘Red’ era, the ‘Fearless’ era or the ‘1989’ era. In regards to ‘Reputation’ Taylor basically hid away from the public for a long length of time because of the amount of hate she was getting from the internet and from celebrities like Kim and Kanye. Kim even labelled her as a snake which was a wrong move because Taylor then when she went on tour got a massive snake inflatable on stage.
She didn’t let the hate get her down and when she returned with ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ it felt like a goodbye to her old self and was ready for a change. She was tired of letting people control her narrative and wanted to use her own voice for good. Taylor even found love with Joe Alwyn and have been going strong ever since.
Going into your ‘reputation era’ is just a fun way of saying I don’t care about you have to say about me. The only opinion that matters is my own. Also the whole phone call part in Look What You Made Me Do should have it’s on point because it’s a creative way to say goodbye to your old self and makes a good tiktok transition if I am being honest if you ever want to use it *wink wink*
2. Her disapperance from social media
Haven’t we all just wanted to disappear from social media once in a while. It must be hard to do that when your in the public eye. Suddenly in August 2017, she deleted all her photos from her Instagram account and put back all of her back catalog onto Spotify, which hadn’t been on the app for years. This all happened the same day, Katy Perry’s new album Witness came out.
Perry released a song ‘Swish Swish’ as a song all about her drama/feud with Swift -apparently it was all over backup dancers which Perry disclosed about in an interview with James Corden.
It wasn’t until the reputation tour started that Taylor received an olive branch from Katy apologising for the way she behaved. When Taylor released her album ‘Lover’, she released a music video for ‘You Need To Calm Down’ with lots of cameos in it from various famous faces. The fandom didn’t think that Perry herself would cameo in it which came as a huge shock to everyone. In the closing scene for the music video, Perry and Swift dressed as a burger and fries and really just made us all happy. The song is the perfect example of why they were ‘feuding’ in the first place because the internet and society in a way loves to put two successful female artists against each other.
3. Let’s talk about the ‘Famous’ song that started this all off in the first place.
As a Swiftie myself, this next point might be a little bit biased but I will try.
For those who weren’t aware, Kanye wanted to release a song called ‘Famous’ but the catch was that it had the line that was very x-rated which if it was me in Taylor’s position wouldn’t have let him do that. In the music video for the song, Kayne posed with various of other celebrities without their clothes on. Kim released a video on Snapchat of Taylor and Kanye discussing about the matter of the infamous line and that Taylor had given her approval for it which was a lie. Taylor claimed that she never gave Kanye the approval for him to call her a b*tch and that the video Kim had edited the video to make Taylor look like a liar.
Taylor released a statement on her twitter about the whole situation with the tweet ‘that moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call then Kim posts it on the internet’. She goes on to say ‘You don’t get to control someone’s emotional response to being called that b*tch infront of the entire world.’ and that ‘I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I never asked to be part of, since 2009’. This refers back to the VMA gate crashing that Kanye did when Talyor won an award and thought that Beyonce should have won it. What he did was take away from this amazing moment in Swift’s career to make it all about him.
Kim even posted a tweet saying: ‘It’s National Snake Day? They have a holiday for everybody’ obviously referring to Taylor, and people started flooding Taylor’s instagram comments with snake emojis.
4. The callbacks to the other era’s in the ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ video
On August 28th 2017, Taylor released the music video for ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, one of the best music videos in history and the best comeback ever made, since both the video and the song references Kanye, Kim, Katy and other celebrities and companies. Other music videos released after this, ‘Ready For It’ , ‘Endgame’ and ‘Delicate’ with references to her life and career.
Right at the start of the music video, it opens up onto her grave and a zombie-fied version of herself comes out of it. It was a brilliant way of saying the old Taylor Swift is dead and that the new version is bigger and better. The abum that came out before this was 1989 and this moment referenced it as the zombie Taylor wore the ‘Out of the Wood’ outfit.
My favourite part in the music video had to be how it ended with all her era’s of herself lined up talking to each other. It was a funny way to make fun of herself and I loved how each version of herself interacted with each other. She even plays a version of Kim in it which was so funny. It ends with her in her VMA 2009 outfit talking about how she want’s to be excluded from this narrative with them all replying ‘Shut Up’. I just loved how she made fun of herself.
A thought has just came to me whilst writing about this and what if she had this ending because all her life she felt like she had to put on a show for everyone and not be her true self hence why all the versions of herself are basically taking a bow at the end. Honestly quite proud of myself for this theory.
5. The Netflix Documentary ‘Miss Americana’
The documentary came out in 2020 and follows the singer throughout her life and her career. Netflix described the film as a “raw and emotionally revealing look” at Swift “during a transformational period in her life as she learns to embrace her role not only as a songwriter and performer, but as a woman harnessing the full power of her voice”.
Miss Americana follows Swift during a phase in her career, as she wraps up her 2018 Reputation Stadium Tour and began creating her 2019 album Lover. The documentary covers several years of her life through a compilation of interviews, flashbacks, studio footage, home videos, cellphone videos and concert recordings. It focuses on sensitive subjects that Swift often avoided in interviews, such as her past battle with eating disorders, her mother’s cancer diagnosis, the toxic internet culture and media scrutiny she faces, her sexual assault trial, and decision to go public with her political views, including LGBTQIA+ allyship.
Reputation was a cultural reset that was needed for society. The album paved the way for Taylor’s new sound and a way to let go of the past. Reputation will always be my favourite album for that reason because it helped us figure out who we are.
Alywn helped her realise her self worth in life and came at a pivotal moment that was much needed to help her get her life back. “Look What You Made Me Do” was a farewell to her past and moving on to something greater.