Photo via Instagram/@taylorswift
Last night, at midnight, Taylor Swift finally released her first new music since the Reputation era. But instead of a long-anticipated album, Swift dropped “Me!,” a new single and music video featuring Panic at the Disco’s Brendon Urie (who famously came out as pansexual last year in Paper magazine). Swift, who co-directed the video with Dave Meyers, consistently leaves incredibly well-thought-out trails of breadcrumbs for her fans, directing them toward upcoming projects or announcements with twisty clues. And the musician, who’s set to debut “Me!” live with an opening performance at the upcoming Billboard Awards, always has a plan. Here’s what we saw in “Me!,” a video with a pastel color scheme that lends itself to Easter eggs.
The video for “Me!” opens with a slithering, millennial-pink snake, a nod to Swift’s Reputation persona—and, of course, to her endless feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, who once claimed Swift had approved lyrics that she then publicly admonished West for writing (remember all the snake emojis?). In “Me!” the snake explodes into a kaleidoscope of butterflies. Swift’s new era is candy-colored, kid-friendly, and heavy on the butterflies: Consider the Nashville butterfly mural she used yesterday to announce the song’s release.
The Dixie Chicks
Swift has collaborated with the Dixie Chicks in the past, performing with Natalie Maines on the 1989 tour. But it seems that T7 may include an official collaboration: “Me!” features a long shot of paintings of literal chicks, and one depicting the Dixie Chicks. Yeehaw! Will Swift also risk endangering her career and platform to speak out about issues she cares about? Well, she did recently get political for the first time. It’s also worth noting that there are rumors simmering that the Chicks are about to release new music as well.
At one point in the video, Swift poses, CGI skirt swinging, over a pink neon sign reading “Lover.” Fans assume it’s the title of an upcoming track.
The Nashville butterfly mural depicted three cats. In the “Me!” video, Urie hands Swift a kitten (after she yells at him in her Duolingo-grade French about their “two young daughters,” her cats Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson). Then, this morning, Swift confirmed on Twitter that she has a new cat. The name has yet to be revealed.
In a piece for Vulture, the writer Jill Gutowitz pointed out that the video’s CGI setting included images of Capitol Hill set against Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, perhaps a reference to Swift’s British boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. But fans are taking it further, with theories that Swift and Alwyn are engaged. “Me!” also features a shot of St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married, and in one scene Urie seems to propose with the aforementioned third kitten and an engagement ring.
The video includes a shot of Urie standing in front of a clock that sets the time as 8:30. Could T7 have an August 30 release date?
“Me!” includes a montage of women in pastel suits, swinging briefcases. Could this be a nod to Swift BFF Blake Lively, who famously wore suits in the underrated camp classic A Simple Favor?
One fan theory is that “Me!” takes place inside some sort of chrysalis, adding to the butterfly motif and overall metamorphosis theme.