Taylor Swift says she’s the problem on her new album Midnights — but her fans are likely to disagree. On the album’s lead single “Anti-Hero,” which came out at the stroke of midnight on Oct. 21, the 11-time Grammy winner pens some of the most confessional lyrics of her career, telling stories that reflect her deepest regrets of the past and darkest fears about her future.
On the Jack Antonoff-produced track, Swift confesses that she doesn’t feel wiser as she gets older, admits that she sometimes feels like “everybody is a sexy baby” except her, and even reveals a recurring dream in which her future daughter-in-law kills her for her money (even though most fans would be proud to call Swift their mother-in-law). “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me,” she sings in the chorus before addressing her fans and loved ones directly. “It must be exhausting, always rooting for the anti-hero.” Given Swifties’ proven dedication to her music and ability to decode her seemingly endless amount of hidden Easter eggs, she might be wrong about fans getting tired of her.
Swift opened up about writing “Anti-Hero” in an Instagram video after announcing the track title on Oct. 3, proclaiming that it’s one of “my favorite songs I’ve ever written” and teasing that she’s never dived “this deep” into her insecurities in a song.
“I struggle a lot with the idea that my life has become unmanageably sized, and not to sound too dark, but I just struggle with the idea of not feeling like a person,” Swift explained, joking that you “don’t need to feel bad” for her. “This song really is a guided tour throughout all the things I tend to hate about myself. We all hate things about ourselves, and it’s all of those aspects of the things we dislike and like about ourselves that we have to come to terms with if we’re going to be this person. So I like ‘Anti-Hero’ a lot because I think it’s really honest.”
On Nov. 7, Taylor announced that a new version of “Anti-Hero,” featuring Jack Antonoff’s band Bleachers, was available in her store for purchase. For $1.29, fans can buy an explicit or clean version of the hit song; as of this publishing, the new track does not appear to be streaming on services like Spotify and Apple Music. Taylor teased that “Jack’s version of ‘sexy baby’ is ‘art bro’ and we sincerely hope it confuses just as many people” in a tweet announcing the collaboration.
“Anti-Hero” had the honor of being the first song from Midnights to receive a music video, which premiered on Oct. 21 at 8 a.m. ET. YouTube Shorts also launched the #TSAntiHeroChallenge at the same time, virtually guaranteeing that the song will soon be inescapable on your TikTok feed. A second Midnights music video for “Bejeweled” was unveiled on Oct. 25.
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