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"Look What You Made Me Do" is the lead single off Taylor Swift's sixth studio album, reputation. The song was released on August 25, 2017, along with the preorder of the album. The music video premiered at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. In only 24 hours, Taylor Swift went #1 in 75+ countries, and sold 196,000 digital copies.

Background

In the week leading up to the track’s release, Swift cleared all previous social media presence and released three videos on her social media of a snake’s tail[1], body[2], and head[3]. She then revealed the album title and cover, and announced the single’s release date. [4]

Music video

The official music video premiered on August 27, 2017 at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. The song's music video broke the record for most-watched music video within 24 hours by achieving 43.2 million views on YouTube in its first day. It topped the 27.7 million Vevo views Adele's "Hello" attracted in that timeframe, as well as the 36 million YouTube views of Psy's "Gentleman" video. It was viewed at an average 30,000 times per minute in its first 24 hours, with views reaching over 3 million views per hour.

Preparation for the music video began in January, while the shooting took place in May. The dance was choreographed by Tyce Diorio, who had worked with Swift on "Shake It Off" before. Swift's make-up as a zombie was done by Bill Corso. Post-production of the video lasted until the morning of its release. A 20-second music video teaser was released on Good Morning America on August 25. The teaser, upon release, was criticized on Twitter due to similarities to Beyoncé's "Formation" video. Joseph Kahn turned to Twitter to dismiss the claims, stated that he had "worked with Beyoncé a few times", and that the music video is not in the way of her "art space". Kahn also remarked that the video is derived from "[an] obscene K Pop video made in [a] North Korean prison in 2006", referencing to when he was accused for plagiarizing 2NE1's "Come Back Home" video with "Bad Blood" in 2015.

It was also revealed that the diamonds used in the bathtub scene were authentic. The diamonds, loaned from celebrity jeweler Neil Lane, were said to be worth over $10 million, hence triggering tight security measures. The top layer of the tub was covered with these real diamonds, but the rest were plastic beads. As of September 2017 the video have over 130 million views and became the fastest video to reach 100 million views in less than 4 days.

Behind the scenes

Easter eggs

In the lyrics

  • "Don't like your tilted stage"; tilted stage is a reference to the titled stage that Kanye West used on his Saint Pablo tour.

In the music video

  • Graveyard scene
    • The music video starts showing a large graveyard with the gravestones arranged so that an eagle eye view of them would make it look like the letters "TS", meaning Taylor Swift, which may be a reference to people saying that Taylor is dead and her career has ended.
    • "Here lies Taylor Swift's Reputation" is engraved on the main gravestone.
    • Nils Sjöberg is also seen on another gravestones, which is the pseudonym Taylor used to co-write "This Is What You Came For" with then-boyfriend Calvin Harris.
    • Zombie Taylor appears, and she appears to be Taylor from the "Out of the Woods" music video, colors of her skin faded and her whole body covered in dirt.
    • She then is seen to be burying 2014 Met Gala Taylor, which symbolizes that the end of the 1989 era (Out of the Woods Taylor) is stopping the 1989 era from beginning (2014 Met Gala Taylor).
  • Bathtub scene
    • The scene then cuts to Taylor sitting in a bathtub full of jewelry. This scene is supposed to be a reference what Taylor has said in the past, specifically, during her performance of "Blank Space" at the Grammy Museum. She explains the song and the way people think she's a psycho-dater in which she says: "She jet sets around the world collecting men, and she can get any of them but she's so clingy that they leave and she cries and gets another one in her web and she traps them and locks them in her mansion. And then she's crying in her marble bathtub surrounded by pearls."
    • A one-dollar bill is also seen in the bathtub, which is a reference to the single dollar countersue that Taylor won during the Swift vs. Mueller trial in a case that involved her being groped during a meet and greet in 2013, which resulted in former DJ David Mueller's career ending.
  • Gold throne scene
    • The part where Taylor is sitting on a gold throne with a bunch of black snakes surrounding is an obvious reference to how the media has perceived Taylor as a "snake" and has been filling her social media with snake emojis. She then makes it backfire in the best possible way, showing everyone that she has adopted this "snake" persona.
    • Taylor dawns many Snake rings, which she sold on her merchandise store.
    • The snakes bring her tea, an internet symbol for drama.
    • There is also "et tu brute" written in the columns and the armrests of the throne. This refers to the assassination of Julius Caesar, who was murdered by a bunch of people, along with his close friend. Julius Caesar then noticed him and said, "Et tu, Brute?" [which translates into "Even you, Brutus?"] which were his last words in Shakespeare's play, "Julius Caesar", before he was stabbed to death.
  • Car crash scene
    • When the song reaches its chorus, the music video shows Taylor in a gold car crashing into a lamppost. Inside the car, we can see Taylor swinging forward and backward in slow motion. The car door is then open and a crowd of paparazzi is revealed to be there, aiming their camera's at Taylor and taking pictures of her. Although Taylor is holding is holding out a Grammy, all the paparazzi seem to care about is the crash. This may symbolize the times where the public has shamed Taylor, and even though she has gotten many awards and achievements, the public only seem to care about the times Taylor made mistakes and enjoy watching her crash and burn.
  • Birdcage scene
    • The giant birdcage scene is a reference to when Taylor had an interview with ICI Radio Canada Interview in 2014 and said the following: "I would feel sort of like I lived in a gilded golden cage if I had a team managing my image."
    • Her orange outfit represents the color of the jumpsuits that criminals would wear when they are in prison, suggesting that she is being imprisoned in that cage (as seen as the bodyguards that surround the base of the cage).
    • Taylor has a snake tattoo on her upper right thigh in this scene.
    • This part can also be a reference to the song "So It Goes...", where she sings "gold cage hostage to my feelings."
  • Stream Co. scene
    • When Taylor, along with a few other women, are robbing a bank, the bank had "stream co." on a digital banner above the vault. This is a reference to Taylor's previous experiences with music platforms. She has written a personal letter to Apple Music on Tumblr, and removed her discography from Spotify [for a period of time] as a result of both these platforms for their irresponsibility in paying the artists appropriately. People then start to claim that Taylor is "money-hungry" and only wants these music platforms to pay her. But Taylor, in reality, is trying to help the minor/new artists so that they will get paid for the content that they make and use it to help them improve and progress in their career.
    • This can be seen as the women Taylor goes in with (which represents minor artists) takes a load of cash with them, but Taylor doesn't even take out a single dollar.
    • Her Gucci sweater has "blind for love" in it displayed in green, which symbolizes the media perception of her being a playgirl.
  • Motorcycle scene
    • This scene is a homage to the 1991 Vogue editorial shoot, titled “Wild at Heart”, photographed by Peter Lindbergh.
  • Squad scene
    • The scene where Taylor is standing in front of a crowd of women who look almost identical to each other with the words "U Squad" projected on a screen is a reference to the times she'd get criticized over her squad. Many people bashed the squad and the member, complaining they only consisted of "tall and thin Caucasian women". After that, it is revealed that these women are actually a bunch of mannequins, with their body parts disconnected and laying everywhere.
  • Dance scene
    • Taylor then enters a room full of men, assumably her "personal assistants" doing various things. They all rush to form a line when Taylor comes in. The dancers then take off their blazers, revealing there to be "I Heart TS" crop tops/shirts underneath them. This is a reference to her relationship with her ex, Tom Hiddleston. Though she does not diss Tom, she does diss the media for making up lies that Taylor forced Tom to wear that shirt during their Fourth of July party in 2016.
    • There are eight dancers in the scene, which could symbolize the number of exes she has so far.
  • Taylor mountain scene
    • It is then shown the Taylor mountain scene where a bunch of Taylor Swifts from previous eras climbing up to reach the top. In the top stands a Taylor Swift with the letters "rep" on her black outfit with a neon "T" behind her, not allowing anyone to take the top spot.
    • All the Taylors fight, trying to reach to the top, but none of them can reach it. Taylor then extends her arms and all the Taylors fall in different directions (symbolizing the line where she says the old Taylor is dead), while she still stands at the top.
    • Some of these Taylors include: “You Belong with Me” Junior Jewels Taylor, Red Tour ringleader Taylor, “Shake It Off” ballerina Taylor, Fearless Tour Taylor and many others.
  • Phone scene
    • Taylor is seen holding a phone, similar to the phone from the “Our Song” music video. This could reference at how the old Taylor is “dead”.
    • Taylor says “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, cause she’s dead!” This told watchers that Taylor was done being played around with.
  • Plane scene
  • One of the Taylors in the end scene, Taylor is seen on the wing of a plane, wearing a palm tree jumpsuit, sawing off the wing and painting “Reputation” over the side. This could symbolize that Taylor was ready to start the Lover era, but put it on hold, stopping it from taking off, to address the media with the reputation era.
  • End scene
    • The ending scene consists of 15 different Taylor Swifts (one is seen in the background standing on the plane). Some of these Taylors are from previous eras, while others are the Taylors that appear in the "Look What You Made Me Do" music video. They all bow as a crowd cheers in the background
    • These Taylors include, from left to right, motorcycle scene Taylor, Stream Co. Taylor, Taylor mountain Taylor, Red Tour ringleader Taylor, Fearless Tour intro Taylor, crash scene Taylor, 2009 MTV Video Music Awards Taylor, 2014 Met Gala Taylor, dance scene Taylor, plane Taylor (back), “You Belong With Me” Junior Jewels Taylor, zombie Taylor, “Shake It Off” ballerina Taylor, snake throne Taylor, and gold cage Taylor.
    • These Taylors start to fight and mock one another, with references pointing towards some of the things she is known for.
    • Junior Jewels Taylor looks surprised, and zombie Taylor says “Stop making that surprised face, it’s so annoying.” to which ballerina Taylor responds with “Yeah you can’t possibly be that surprised all the time.” This references Taylor’s signature surprised face that she makes after winning awards. She makes this face a lot, which annoys people, as she wins many awards. Snake queen Taylor hisses in the background with a snake on her arm.
    • Personal assistant scene Taylor says “What’s with that b*tch?” pointing to zombie Taylor. Zombie Taylor responds with “Don’t call me that.” showing that the media likes to name call.
    • Fearless tour Taylor tries to break up the fighting, saying “Y’all”, and ringleader Taylor responds by saying “Oh stop acting like you’re all nice, you are so fake.” This makes Fearless Taylor cry, and ringleader Taylor mocks her for it. This represents how the media thinks of Taylor as fake. Motorcycle Taylor says “There she goes, playing the victim, again.” People have said that Taylor plays the victim when it comes to drama, especially the Kimye drama.
    • When leopard print Taylor says that she is "getting receipts" and "going to edit this later" Taylor is referring to Katy Perry's song, "Swish Swish". In the song, one of the lines are "And karma's not a liar, she keeps receipts". This can also refer to how Kim Kardashian used a cell phone to record a conversation she had with Kanye and edited it to make it look like she was fully responsible for the feud. 2009 VMA's Taylor Swift says that she wants to be "excluded from this narrative", which is a reference to the post Taylor made explaining that she doesn't want to take part in the Kimye feud, to which all the other Taylors say "Shut up!".

Awards and nominations

"Look What You Made Me Do" received one award from fifteen nominations.

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2017 BreakTudo Awards Best Video Nominated [5]
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Video Nominated [6]
NRJ Music Awards Video of the Year Nominated [7]
2018 American Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favourite Song Nominated [8]
BMI London Awards Award Winning Songs Won [9]
iHeartRadio Music Awards Best Lyrics Nominated [10]
Best Music Video Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards  Best Art Direction Nominated [11]
Best Editing Nominated
Best Visual Effects Nominated
Myx Music Awards Favourite International Video Nominated [12]
NME Awards Best Music Video Nominated [13]
Radio Disney Music Awards Song of the Year Nominated [14]
Best Song To Lip-Sync To Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Song by a Female Artist Nominated [15]

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
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!)

[Pre-Chorus]
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!

[Chorus]
Ooh, look what you made me do
Look what you made me do
Look what you just made me do
Look what you just made me do
Ooh, look what you made me do
Look what you made me do
Look what you just made me do
Look what you just made me do

[Verse 2]
I don't like your kingdom keys
They once belonged to me
You ask me for a place to sleep
Locked me out and threw a feast (what?)
The world goes 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

[Pre-Chorus]
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

[Chorus]
Ooh, look what you made me do
Look what you made me do
Look what you just made me do
Look what you just made me do
Ooh, look what you made me do
Look what you made me do
Look what you just made me do
Look what you just made me do

[Bridge]
I don't trust nobody and nobody trusts me
I'll be the actress, starring in your bad dreams
I don't trust nobody and nobody trusts me
I'll be the actress, starring in your bad dreams
I don't trust nobody and nobody trusts me
I'll be the actress, starring in your bad dreams
I don't trust nobody and nobody trusts me
I'll be the actress, starring in your bad dreams
(Look what you made me do)
(Look what you made me do)
"I'm sorry, the old Taylor can't come to the phone right now."
"Why?"
"Oh 'cause she's dead!"

[Chorus]
Ooh, look what you made me do
Look what you made me do
Look what you just made me do
Look what you just made me do
Ooh, look what you made me do
Look what you made me do
Look what you just made me do
Look what you just made me do

Achievements

iTunes

  • Fastest song to reach #1 on iTunes for a lead female artist
  • Biggest iTunes lead for a song of all time (95%)

Spotify

  • Most first-day debut of all time by a female artist in the US (3.82M streams)
  • Spotify's Global first day streaming record of all time (10,129,087 streams)

Youtube/VEVO

  • Most video views in 24 hours on YouTube (43.2 million views)
  • Fastest video to reach 100 million views/get VEVO Certified on Youtube (less than four days)
  • Fastest video to reach 200 million views on Youtube
  • Fastest video to reach 300 million views on Youtube

Billboard

  • 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for 3 consecutive weeks

References

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