Last night, Taylor Swift ended the long wait for new music, and her song “ME!” has been polarizing across the internet (and in the Betches office, lmao). While I’ve already gone into detail on my feelings about the song, there’s no doubt that there’s a lot to unpack here. In particular, the music video is a four-minute explosion of colors and images, and there are no coincidences in the world of Taylor Swift. Whether you like her or not, you can’t deny that she is meticulous about the clues and Easter eggs she hides within her videos.
Taylor Swift’s intense army of fans have already combed through the video and found a lot of hidden things, but I know that you, a non-superfan who is probably at work right now, does not have time for that. So I’ve decided to break everything down here. What does Taylor have up her sleeve next? Let’s walk through some of the biggest theories and questions about “ME!”
On the YouTube livestream for the video premiere, Taylor Swift revealed that there is a secret hidden somewhere in the video. V mysterious. Fans obviously lost their minds when she said this, and they won’t rest until they figure it out. Right now, the prevailing guess is that Taylor secretly got engaged to Joe Alwyn, as evidenced by Brendon Urie’s proposal to her in the video. This definitely isn’t verified, but it could be true.
— ????????? (@candiceXtayswft) April 26, 2019
While an engagement would be exciting, there’s another theory about the secret that’s honestly pretty lame…
After the proposal in the video, Brendon gives Taylor a kitten. This, plus the fact that the mural in Nashville has three cats, made everyone think that Taylor now has a third cat. This has now officially been confirmed, because Taylor posted a selfie with her new cat this morning. So, we know that the third cat is real, but we still don’t actually know whether this is what the secret is about. If Taylor doesn’t reveal an engagement pretty soon, then it’s probably about the cat. Boo.
The Dixie Chicks
One video Easter egg that actually has me really excited is the possible reveal of a collaboration with The Dixie Chicks. In the apartment at the beginning of the video, there’s a portrait of The Dixie Chicks hanging on the wall, and rumors of a collab between them and Taylor were already starting to spread before the video. Additionally, look at this tweet that they sent after the video premiered:
— Dixie Chicks (@dixiechicks) April 26, 2019
It’s all happening.
She wants to break fucking free ????? !!!! pic.twitter.com/g93umGBs2n
— Mayi (@9march2) April 26, 2019
I needed a second to wrap my mind around this one. Throughout Taylor Swift’s onslaught of Insta teasing, butterflies have been one of the main themes. What do they mean?? The butterflies were first referenced in the video when the snake exploded at the beginning, but there might be a larger metaphor at play here. Based on how the sky looks in the video, it seems like the whole thing might take place inside of a giant chrysalis (aka the shell where a butterfly turns into a butterfly). “ME!” represents the beginning of a metamorphosis into a new era, and this is a way of visualizing it. If this is the beginning, then it makes sense that after this, Taylor Swift will break out of the chrysalis as a beautiful butterfly. I believe it.
The Queer Message?
I’m going out on a limb for this one, and I have no idea if it’s true. Leading up to the video, there were rumors that Taylor Swift was going to come out as bisexual or queer. This obviously wasn’t directly addressed in the song or the video, but there’s a possibility that there are still some queer symbols present. First of all, there are rainbows everywhere. Of course, rainbows occur in nature, but no one in 2019 is unaware of the rainbow’s significance to the LGBTQ community. Taylor had to know that this would cause conversation, and she still went ahead with it.
Going a little deeper, there’s a lyric where Taylor says that she’s “Like a rainbow with all of the colors.” This could just be referring to her vibrant personality, but the repeated use of the rainbow theme definitely makes you wonder. Like I said, it’s likely that nothing in this video/song is a coincidence. Whether Taylor is trying to say anything about her personal sexuality, the rainbow theme is a nice tribute to the LGBTQ community.
The Upcoming Music
Obviously, there are going to be more songs and an album after this, and it appears that Taylor might already be dropping some hints about what’s coming next. First, people are fixating on the appearance of the word “Lover” in the video. Many are saying that this could be the next song from the album, and possibly even the Dixie Chicks collaboration. We’ll see.
— nikkie is ME! (@delicatenik) April 26, 2019
People also think that Taylor might have included a clue to when her album is going to be released. In the video, we see a clock that’s set to 8:30, and for this reason, people are saying the album could be released on August 30th. I’m less than convinced about this one, mostly because that seems like a really long time to wait, but I’ve been wrong before.
We’ve got a long way to go in terms of Taylor Swift speculation, so I’ll leave it at that for now. I’m sure there are hundreds more symbols buried deep in the music video, but I really have other things to get done. Let me know which ones you spotted!
Images: Shutterstock; @candicextayswft, @dixiechicks, @9march2, @delicatenik / Twitter; @taylorswift / Instagram
Over the past decade, I’ve had a fraught relationship with Taylor Swift. While I was openly critical of Taylor during her last album/era, I haven’t always had issues with her. Back in 2013, I was thrilled to attend Taylor’s Red Tour, and I have no problem admitting that I think most of her music is great. So when Taylor Swift started teasing her big new project, I was honestly excited. I wasn’t a fan of the Reputation era, but I was ready to start fresh with 2019 Taylor.
At midnight on Thursday, Taylor Swift released her new single and video, “ME!”, featuring Brendon Urie of Panic at the Disco. Brendon was a perfect choice, because he’s very talented, very hot, and most importantly, very fun. From what we know so far, that’s what new-new-Taylor (or new-old-Taylor, I can’t tell) is all about: FUN! The video for “ME!” begins with a snake exploding into a cloud of butterflies, signaling that the angst of Reputation is officially gone.
But other than convincing us that she’s ready to be bubbly again, I’m not sure I get what she’s going for with this song. Lyrically, it’s a pretty straightforward declaration about how great she is, with the most memorable lyric being “You can’t spell awesome without ME!” In the past, Taylor has written some really beautiful, moving lyrics, and these feel like elementary school poems in comparison.
“I’m the only one of me / baby that’s the fun of me.”
While the song is definitely catchy, it feels like it was meant to play during the credits of an animated kids movie. The video, which was released at the same time as the song, only helps to drive this family-friendly vibe home. Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie are a couple arguing in French (why?), but then they go outside and everything turns into some kind of rainbow fantasy world, complete with hundreds of extras in penis-colored marching band outfits. The visuals really drive home the idea that old-new-Taylor is FUN!, and it is! The video is fun! Seeing Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie do their best Hairspray imitation is fun! Flying on umbrellas over the rooftops of Paris is fun! But that doesn’t take away the fact that this song is…baffling.
Like I said, it’s catchy, but then the whole thing gets derailed for the bridge, which starts with Taylor shouting “Hey kids, spelling is fun!” I’m sorry, but I am a grown-ass adult, and I don’t want a song on my Spotify playlist in which I’m being lectured about the joy of spelling. I left that sh*t behind in 4th grade, and I have no desire to go back.
Of course, “ME!” will most likely be a major hit, if only because Taylor Swift has some of the most dedicated fans in the world. The entire rollout strategy of this new era, from the months of clues on Instagram, to the YouTube livestream, feel designed to appeal mainly to the Taylor Swift diehards. In fact, she commented in the YouTube stream that the video contains a secret that she’s been keeping for months, which of course the fans are having a field day with. Right now, the top theory seems to be that she’s engaged to Joe Alwyn, because in the video, she turns down an engagement ring from Brendon Urie.
Taylor and Joe are engaged???? Is that the secret she's keeping for months? @taylorswift13 @taylornation13 pic.twitter.com/iDwqeC4B2v
— ????????? (@candiceXtayswft) April 26, 2019
Other theories include that the clock in the video is a hint about the album release (8/30, if you’re too lazy to look it up), that Taylor now has a third cat, and that there will be a Dixie Chicks collab on her new album. I’m super here for that third one, by the way.
So this means @dixiechicks is confirmed. Right? @taylornation13 @taylorswift13 #eastereggs ??♀️ pic.twitter.com/JKZ8WaxoYL
— ??? (@FrecklesSwiftie) April 26, 2019
I’m really hoping that this is another “Shake It Off” situation, where the first single from the album is kind of just a fun throwaway, but right now I don’t get what Taylor Swift is going for with this vibe. From this song/video, all I’m really getting is that she’s into rainbows and butterflies, but then the actual song is still just about how great she is. It’s a nicegirl anthem, with just the right amount of narcissism (she probably thinks of it as “self-love”). Maybe this has always been Taylor Swift’s brand, but it’d be nice to see a little more growth by now.
If you’re reading this and you love the song, that’s great. I don’t think it’s awful, I just don’t get what we’re supposed to do with it. I’m really not here to bash Taylor Swift, I just want her to explore her full potential (and give us iconic bops). Maybe her next song or the album will be more of a step forward, but for now, I guess we’ll just practice our spelling.
Images: Universal Records; @taylorswift / Instagram; @candicextayswft, @frecklesswiftie / Twitter; Taylor Swift Vevo / YouTube