way too close reads

The 14 Shadiest Things Taylor Swift Says on Reputation

Let’s count the victims. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for DIRECTV

The old Taylor Swift spoke in ambiguous allusions and fairy-tale rhymes (she sometimes still does), but the new Taylor does not mince words. She began her Reputation period killing off her previous iterations. And New Taylor now stands emboldened to speak her mind — the shadier the better. Throughout her new album, she gives a microphone to what most of us with a reputation still left to protect would only whisper. (Including her first recorded four-letter expletive.) Here’s every venomous word, presented in order of appearance, with some wild speculation as to whom she’s shading.

“End Game”

“And I bury hatchets, but I keep maps of where I put ’em.”

Victim: Kanye West and maybe Katy Perry, if we’re to believe she’s entertained Perry’s plea to end their beef.

“I swear I don’t love the drama, it loves me.”

Victim: Herself!

“You’ve been calling my bluff on all my usual tricks / So here’s a truth from my red lips.”

Victim: Kanye.

“I Did Something Bad”

“I never trust a narcissist / But they love me so I play ’em like a violin / And I make it look oh so easy / ’Cause for every lie I tell them, they tell me three / This is how the world works / Now all he thinks about is me.”

Victim: Kanye, but also any other man she’s played.

“If a man talks shit, then I owe him nothing / I don’t regret it one bit, ’cause he had it coming.”

Victim: Men. Ban ’em all.

“They say I did something bad / But why’s it feel so good? / Most fun I ever had / And I’d do it over and over and over again if I could / It just felt so good, good.”

Victim: Her haters.

“I never trust a playboy / But they love me / So I fly him all around the world / And I let them think they saved me / They never see it comin’ / What I do next / This is how the world works / You gotta leave before you get left.”

Victim: Tom Hiddleston.

“They’re burning all the witches, even if you aren’t one / They got their pitchforks and proof / Their receipts and reasons / They’re burning all the witches, even if you aren’t one / So light me up.”

Victim: Herself! (And Kanye and Kim.)

“Don’t Blame Me”

“I’ve been breakin’ hearts a long time, and toyin’ with them older guys / Just playthings for me to use.”

Victim: Tom Hiddleston, 36. John Mayer, 40. Jake Gyllenhaal, 36. Calvin Harris, 33.


“My reputation’s never been worse, so you must like me for me.”

Victim: Herself! But also a little bit her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, because that just makes him sound naive.

“King of My Heart”

“ ’Cause all the boys and their expensive cars with their Range Rovers and their Jaguars never took me quite where you do.”

Victim: Those boys with the fancy cars, but also Alwyn again because, while this is a compliment, it also implies he’s not on her exes’ level of fame yet. (Which, well, true.)

“This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”

“It was so nice being friends again / There I was, giving you a second chance / But then you stabbed my back while shaking my hand / And therein lies the issue / Friends don’t try to trick you/ Get you on the phone and mind-twist you / And so I took an axe to a mended fence.”

Victim: Kanye and Kim.

“But I’m not the only friend you’ve lost lately / If only you weren’t so shady.”

Victim: Kanye, about his feud with Jay-Z.

“Here’s a toast to my real friends / They don’t care about that he-said-she-said / And here’s to my baby / He ain’t reading what they call me lately / And here’s to my momma / Had to listen to all this drama / And here’s to you / ’Cause forgiveness is a nice thing to do / Haha, I can’t even say it with a straight face.

Victim: Kanye West (she cribs his “toast to the douchebags” line from “Runaway”), but again, also Alywn because he sounds especially clueless.

The Shadiest Things Taylor Swift Says on Reputation