2019-04-26 by Daisy I.
All the references in Taylor Swift’s Me! Video
The old Taylor can come to the phone right now, because she’s been raised from the dead.
Taylor Swift’s new single, Me! shrugs off the icy, vengeful character of her last album, and resurrects the sugary euphoria of her earlier, dorky pop hits.
The song, which features Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, sees Taylor declaring that, despite all her bad qualities, her partner will “never find another like me”.
“It’s a song about embracing your individuality and owning it,” the star said.
The video has been watched more than 26 million times since it launched 5am BST; and became the fastest music video in history to reach more than 10 million views – reaching the milestone in just 2 hours.
As usual, the video is packed with easter eggs and callbacks to her previous records. Here are all the ones we could find… If you spot any others, drop us a line on @BBCNewsEnts, or [email protected] medium.co.uk.
Snakes were a motif on Taylor’s last album – as the singer took ownership of the “Taylor Swift Is a Snake” meme that pursued her after her break-up with Calvin Harris and her (unrelated) feud with Kanye West.
Symbolically, the snake explodes into a cloud of butterflies at the start of the ME! video, while Taylor survives a snake-bite later on, putting a full-stop on that era.
The action begins in an apartment, where Brendon and Taylor are having a major domestic (in French, for some reason).
The scene is a call-back to Panic At The Disco’s But It’s Better If You Do video, which opens in a very similar way.
Oh, if you’re wondering about the tree – Taylor grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania.
Olivia and Meredith!
Taylor’s Scottish fold cats, Olivia Benson and Meredith Grey, are almost as famous as she is… and they get their own cameo in the video, playing the star’s “young daughters”.
“The most influential factor in my life is cats,” the star recently told Time magazine. “I have cats, I’m obsessed with them. They’re just a real joy to live with.”
The (Dixie) Chicks!
When Taylor sings “You’re the kind of guy the ladies want – and there’s a lot of cool chicks out there,” the video cuts to a wall of framed pictures of, well, chicks.
With one exception… In the middle of shot, we see a portrait of country legends The Dixie Chicks.
Taylor, who invited Natalie Maines to sing Goodbye Earl on her 1989 Tour, has been hinting the band will appear on her forthcoming album.
Taylor emerges from her apartment building into a candy-coloured fantasy world. The pastel palette is part of the branding of her new era (there’s even an Instagram filter) signifying how she’s emerged from a place of darkness.
The seven suitcases represent her previous albums, and the one that’s on the way.
And some fans have also interpreted the colour scheme, and the song’s references to rainbows, as a further message of support for the star’s LGBT fans; after she donated $113,000 (£86,000) to an LGBT advocacy group in Tennessee, USA.
On her last album, Taylor interpolated Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy.
This time around, she quotes the Sesame Street song “one of these things is not like the others”.
We’re hoping she does the pinball song next.
Eagle-eyed fans have spotted that the entire video takes place inside a chrysalis – continuing the butterfly theme and hinting at a metamorphosis from the sound and lyrics of her previous albums.
Arthouse film references!
The pastel colour scheme and elaborate dance sequence could be a reference to Jacques Demy’s infectious 1967 musical, Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Ladies of Rochefort) – which starred Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac as two sisters who leave their seaside town in search of romance.
Come to think of it, that would explain Taylor’s tres mal French accent at the start of the clip.
Next up, we have Brendon Urie jumping out of a window, grabbing an umbrella and floating to the ground, like a floral-suited Mary Poppins.
Of course, this could also be a reference to Jacques Demy’s other famous musical, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. It’s all so multi-layered.
A song title tease?
As we arrive at the second verse, Taylor sits astride a unicorn wearing a dress that turns into a waterfall. Your guess is as good as mine on that one – although the outfit recalls Vilanelle’s shocking pink Molly Goddard dress from the first series of Killing Eve.
Look beyond that, though, and you’ll see a pink neon sign spelling the word “Lover”.
Fans have speculated this will be the title of Taylor’s next song – as the star has a habit of teasing new material in the background of her videos.
An engagement ring!
In the video for Look What You Made Me Do, Taylor included a shot of an empty engagement ring box and the word “no” spelled in jewellery on the floor.
The message is even more explicit here, as Taylor haughtily rejects the ring that Brendon proffers on bended knee.
Fans have theorised that this is a response to tabloid speculation that the star and her boyfriend Joe Alwyn are getting engaged.
A new cat!
Before the video premiered, the star told fans, “there’s a secret in the video I’ve been keeping in for months – let’s see who can guess it”. Could it be that she got a new cat?
UPDATE: Taylor confirmed her new arrival on Twitter later on Friday.
The second chorus takes place on a set that recalls the 60s pop shows like Soul Train and Ready, Steady, Go – festooned with hearts.
Taylor’s dress, her earrings, the piano and even the guitarist’s guitar are heart-shaped; while the band are all pink-winged Cupids.
Look closely throughout the rest of the video, and you’ll see hearts embroidered into the costumes and scattered across the elaborate sets.
It seems to confirm the theory that the star’s new album will pick up where the Reputation album left off – on the love-struck piano ballad New Year’s Day.
A, B, C…
“Hey kids, spelling is fun!” declares Taylor as she launches into the middle 8; a throwback to the time she won her elementary school spelling bee.
The star’s first ever post on MySpace was a picture of her wearing the winner’s t-shirt, fact fans.
A Super Bowl hint?
Taylor unveiled the ME! video on ABC during the NFL Draft (essentially a televised version of the UK’s football transfer deadline day); and the clip features her being hoisted in the air by a marching band while wearing a majorette uniform.
That’s prompted speculation that the singer will perform the half time show at next year’s Super Bowl.
ME! might sound like an off-cut from The Greatest Showman, but Taylor’s lead singles haven’t always been representative of the songs that follow.
The reappearance of the star’s cowboy boots after the electro-pop experimentation of the 1989 and Reputation albums suggests she could be returning to her Nashville roots.
We’ll know for sure when the star’s album comes out later this year. When exactly, we don’t know… but this fleeting glimpse of a clock set to 8:30 has fans convinced it’ll be 30 August.