The “Blank Space” References In “Look What You Made Me Do” Are A Not-So-Subtle Nod To The Old Taylor Swift
If you're going to take the lyrics to "Look What You Made Me Do" super seriously, then it's time to pour some pumpkin spice latte on the ground in memory of the old Taylor Swift. Farewell, old friend. And adding a not-so-subtle nod to that fact are a few "Blank Space" references in "Look What You Made Me Do," which serve as a reminder that fans are entering a whole new era of Swift. Based on Swift's new lyrics, she's apparently "smarter" and "harder" than the one who once bragged that she could "make the bad guys good for a weekend" on "Blank Space" — and she's not afraid to show it.
The two songs actually share a fair bit in common. While "Look What You Made Me Do" can be taken as a barbed take-down of her supposed rivals and the media's interpretation of her, "Blank Space," is a satire based upon Swift's public persona. In the new track, the singer is taking charge of her identity, while in the latter, Swift is merely taking a backseat in making fun of the identity that the public had constructed for her at the time. But now, Swift is done. She's over it. The Swift of "Black Space" has burned to ashes, and the Swift of "Look What You Made Me Do," has risen from them.
It's not much of a stretch, then, to consider that Swift may be calling back to "Blank Space," when she sings, "I've got a list of names, and yours is in red, underlined." Because back then, she had a vacancy — the titular blank space — for anyone who wanted to join her "long list of ex lovers," in calling her "insane." But now? Those positions are filled, and not just with ex-lovers. And Swift isn't being cute about it anymore.
Apparently the Swift era of "Blank Space," was a simpler time when the singer had only a reputation for dating a lot of guys to contend with. The new era, however, gives us Swiftie: Warrior Princess, a Lady Vengeance type character facing a more complex reputation, and wielding that red pen like a weapon. Now, her media persona encompasses rumored feuds with Kanye West and Katy Perry, among others. And, as a result, she's not happy with "the role" that this unspecified enemy made her play, and she's refusing to be a passive party to it.
During the bridge, Swift makes what could be considered to be another callback to "Blank Space," in regards to this "role." After singing, "I don't trust nobody and nobody trusts me," Swift retorts, "I'll be the actress starring in your bad dreams," which immediately calls to mind the line, "I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream," from "Blank Space." On the surface, the two lines work in perfect tandem with each other, and it appears like Swift is essentially making the same point. But she isn't, guys. Swift's gone dark. Like, real dark.
In "Look What You Made Me Do," the "daydream" aspect of Swift has been completely erased. Now, she's apparently inhabiting the nightmares of her enemies with all of the vengeful glee of Freddy Krueger. Earlier on in the song Swift confesses, "All I think about is karma," and by suggesting that she'll be "starring," in the bad dreams of her enemies, she's basically suggesting that their conscience over their actions will be the end of them. That is to say, Swift won't have to lift a finger. Instead, she believes that the role she was forced to play out in public as part of other people's narratives will come back to haunt these people in their dreams, and provide them with a natural punishment.
Modern Swift isn't here for the games anymore, folks. And she isn't happy to continue being cute about them either. She's gone through a savage metamorphosis, and from the sounds of things, Swift 2.0 is serving up the sort of vengeance that the Swift of "Blank Space" simply wasn't capable of.