The lead single from the highly anticipated follow-up to 1989 takes shots at several unnamed rivals, who most fans suspect to be Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West, and Katy Perry — see this video for more. The song’s themes are of revenge and rebirth into a smarter, stronger person. It sees Swift move in a new sonic direction, incorporating electropop and an unexpected interpolation of the 90s hit “I’m Too Sexy” on the chorus.
In the week leading up to the track’s release, Swift cleared all previous social media presence and released three videos of a snake’s tail, body, and head; most considered this a reference to her widespread reputation as a “snake.” She then revealed the album title and cover, and announced the release dates for both the album and the single.
A short preview of the music video was aired on Good Morning America the morning of the song’s release; the clip was later posted to Swift’s social media accounts and official site. The full video premiered during the MTV Video Music Awards on August 27th, 2017 — check out the analysis here! The video made both VEVO and YouTube history, amassing the most views within 24 hours in history on both platforms.
On the reputation Album Release Party, Taylor revealed that “Look What You Made Me Do” started out as a poem:
It actually started with just a poem that I wrote about my feelings, and it’s basically about realizing that you couldn’t trust certain people, but realizing you appreciate the people you can trust. Realizing that you can’t just let everyone in, but the ones you can let in, you need to cherish. And it had all the verses in it, just basically as is.
Later on, after the music video of “Look What You Made Me Do” was released, Taylor herself came out to explain the true meaning behind the LWYMMD music video: