It came with an internet-busting declaration: “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ’cause she’s dead.”
And in almost every line of the song, the pop star makes it clear that her persona starring in this narrative is out for revenge. The song’s title even appears along the curvature of a slithering snake in the animated lyric video, an apparent reference to her online critics.
Also buzzy was her apparent evolution. It’s not the first time she used a song to tell a story about revenge. Case in point: her 2014 hit “Bad Blood.” But several people voiced this was a darker Taylor than America’s BFF we once knew.
Fans often pay scholarly attention to the oblique references to the superstar’s personal life in her music. So on Thursday night, it was officially time to hit play on the song, fill a crazy room with her press clippings and figure out what it means.
Here are the lines people had the strongest responses to.
That phone call:
The title. Some people were utterly convinced this was about anyone who had spoken out about her.
“I don’t like your little games. I don’t like your tilted stage.”
“How you laugh when you lie, you said the gun was mine”
“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”
“You ask me for a place to sleep, locked me out and threw a feast.”
“I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams.”
Of course someone combined the list of Taylor Swift’s pop rivals with Game of Thrones’ Arya Stark’s kill list, for the ultimate megastar to do list.