Taylor Swift is having us say goodbye to reputation and hello to a whole new era. While I absolutely loved and vibed with Swift’s reputation era, this new, TS7 era is going to be full of exciting twists, turns, and energy––I just know it. Having been a fan since Swift’s debut, it’s fair to say I would die for her and support her in anything she does, so it’s no surprise that Tay’s new era is yet another relatable parallel to my existence.
Let’s start at the beginning because everything Tay does is an adventure. The TS7 drama started on New Year’s Day, when Taylor Nation tweeted 115 rainbow emojis. This is two-fold. 1.) The rainbows sparked the theme of color for the new era, which we will see come up a little later, but 2.) 115 days after this post puts us at, you guessed it, April 26th.
Now, Swift sparked some hubbub in February by trying to fake out her army of Swifties. She posted a series of pictures that differed greatly in color and filter from her previous reputation era posts, which started a second round of rumblings that a new era was on the horizon. Fans sleuthed around to come up with anything that might mean new music was being released, but to no avail, the fake countdown led to the release of Taylor’s Elle article.
However, this Elle article was no mistake, it was strategic. In reading the article, it appears to be completely mundane, however, looking closer at the article, there is a very clear hint to her new music release date. If you look closer at lesson number 26, it reads “I make countdowns for things I’m excited about.” Speaking of countdowns, we know that on April 13th, Taylor released a countdown to April 26th. For more information about the countdown, you can check out my other article about it here.
So we watched the countdown, waited 13 days, and finally, April 26, 2019 has arrived! Swift dropped posts throughout this time frame, all of which are from the music video in some way, shape, or form (posts will be linked where they appear). We were gifted with not only a new song, but a music video for the song as well, much like the start to her reputation era with the release of “Look What You Made Me Do.” This time, however, we had a much different opening than the start of reputation, we had the colorful world of “ME!” unfold before our eyes. If you haven’t watched the video yet, you should definitely do so before you continue reading.
The video opens with a snake, slithering along a pastel explosion of cobblestone. This is a callback to Swift’s last era, where snakes took center stage (no, but I mean this literally––have you met Karyn?). Instead of the dark, menacing, threatening scales that donned the snakes in the reputation era, this snake is white, with simple lines of pastel pink running throughout its scales. As the snake snaps at the camera, it dissolves into butterflies, indicating that Swift is letting go of the snake persona, and transforming into a butterfly––a beautiful, delicate, unique being, as we all know.
The butterflies fly up to an apartment, where Swift is arguing in French with “ME!” collaborator and Panic! At the Disco frontman Brendon Urie. The scene shows them having a fight in front of their “young daughters,” a.k.a Meredith and Olivia Swift. Truly, we absolutely love a kitty cameo, and I think I can speak for all Swifties when I say that Mer and Olivia are living their best lives here. Urie tells Taylor to calm down, to which she exclaims that she is calm, and leaves the apartment, where we see a familiar set of flowers in the background.
In the hallway, after Swift closes the door, we hear the song begin, and if you look closely, you can see palm trees out the window. We are then walked to the exit of the building by Swift, with cut-backs to Brendon Urie in the apartment. Swift talks about how there is only one her, and that no one will ever find another person like her to love (to which I say: BIG mood). We get a glimpse of a wall behind Urie in the apartment with some very familiar looking pictures on it. This is accompanied by the line “and there’s a lot of cool chicks out there.” We see you Tay, we see you.
As we exit the building, we are catapulted into a mystical land of pastel color explosions and love. It is truly magical. Swift’s dress transforms into a pastel yellow suit, and she dances out in the street with an entourage of suit-clad women (who are all SLAYING). Our ever-present sleuthing Swifties noticed that the world is located inside of a crystal––which again ties in further to the themes of the era. Some Swifties have theorized chrysalis and its ties to the butterfly/metamorphosis theme, but if there is one thing we ARE sure of, its that we are not sure what is going to happen with this album. The rainbow in the back also indicates the themes of the era, and Swifties are theorizing that Taylor is going to produce more LGBTQ+ relating content, which, if we’re being honest, after her $113,000.00 donation to the Tennessee Equality Project a few weeks ago, we could definitely use even more of. I’m so happy that Taylor is taking a more vocal stance, because for a while, I was really worried that she wouldn’t, but here we are! I’m definitely excited to see if this aspect takes a more prominent stance for her in her music and career.
After the giant dance sequence in the town square, we flash to Brendon Urie embracing his inner Mary Poppins by jumping off a balcony and grabbing hold of an umbrella, which he uses to float to Taylor, who is now sitting atop a building with a unicorn gargoyle. Swift’s outfit shifts back to a dress in this scene, cascading pink sparkles and glitter off the side of the building. Urie offers her flowers, to which she declines. He then offers her ring, but she declines this offering as well. Finally, Urie hands Miss Swift, yep, you know what it’s going to be: A kitten! Obviously, if we know Taylor, we know she happily accepted the cute little bean. Tay revealed after that this new little cutie is the newest member of the Swift family! We’re so excited that Mer and Olivia have a new little brother: Benjamin Button! Check out this SUPER cute photo of him here, and an even more adorable video here.
After accepting the kitten, we flash back over to Urie and enter a heart hidden under his jacket into a new dimension. Urie and Swift continue dancing in this heart-shaped world which is VERY 60’s inspired. Tay is again in a new outfit, which features big heart earrings and a giant sequined heart on the front of the top.
The sequence shifts again, this time in front of a large building (covered in rainbow light) where Swift and Urie stand out in a baby blue ensemble from the crowd, who are dressed entirely in pastel pink. Swifties think that because she appears to be acting in the role of Drum major, that Swift might be implying that she is planning on performing the Super Bowl Halftime show next year, but this is clearly unconfirmed. It is a great guess though and would definitely give me a reason to watch the Super Bowl.
At the end of their dance, Swift and Urie run away from the camera into the crowd around them as the camera pans up the building into yet another dimension, henceforth known as the rainbow tunnel, where Urie and Swift can be found in what appears to be denim (or at least denim colored) suits. Swift is donning a pair of white cowboy boots, which is leading Swifties to believe that despite this poppy performance, the singer-songwriter is going to use this album to tie back to her country roots––a theory that, as it seems, is being supported by the mural that Taylor commissioned in Nashville for the release of “ME!.”
Finally, as we exit the rainbow tunnel, we fall on Urie in the street, with rainbow paint falling from the sky. As the camera pans back, we see the bikes in the background (Tay thought you could hide everything from us). The camera pans back further we see Taylor in a gown that appears to be made of the paint falling from the sky, as it billows and flows around her, we are left watching Urie splash around with an umbrella as the song closes with the line, “And I promise that nobody’s gonna love you like me-e-e.”
But what are my thoughts? Well, for starters, Twitter bore the brunt of in-the-moment reactions, but, I do have some parting thoughts for you to consider when looking at this video and song. The first time I listened to it, I thought that it was such a shift from reputation that it was almost jarring. Actually, it was fully jarring, and it took me a few listens to let go of the edginess that reputation had. Now that I’ve had some time to process and fully realize the span of “ME!,” I have to admit that this poppy bop is very “Shake It Off”-esc, which leads me to believe that TS7 is going to be a return (if it wasn’t already obvious) to the “screaming color” of 1989. While this doesn’t excite me as much as most Swifties (I was more hoping for a callback to Speak Now), it does give me hope that this next album is going to have some more songs that are much more personal and empowering. Moving off of the same, SIO thought, I think that, like “Shake It Off,” “ME!” is going to take time to settle into its place and be fully realized as what it is: a sweet, empowering song, that is important, especially in today’s age of hatred and bigotry that seems to appear in every aspect of our lives. Whether we are online, in-person, at home, in public, or anywhere in existence, it is important for us all to remember that being ourselves isn’t a bad thing, and that it is okay for there to only be one of you.
I’m not going to take a full stance on “ME!” as of right now, but I think that with TS7 on the horizon, there are reasons to be hopeful and excited! If not for a full-on uber-pop playlist, then at least for pictures of kitten number three. All kidding aside, we all know that Taylor is an artist who, though she likes to play games, always follows through in the end. I have no doubts that whatever new songs that are on the album, will be what each of us is longing for from her. After all, I know Tay has said this a billion times, but she loves her fans, and she would never do anything to disappoint those fans. The thought I will leave you with is that, as we have been figuring out through all of the clues we’re getting, uniqueness seems to be the biggest theme of TS7, and for that, I am fully, 100%, unequivocally on board for the ride.
Bonus, here are some tweets from the first time I watched the video: