Taylor Swift’s ‘Anti-Hero’ Music Video Pits the Singer Against Herself
The first of Taylor Swift’s Midnights‘ music videos is here, just eight hours after the album’s release. True to her schedule, Swift released the “Anti-Hero” visuals at 8 A.M. ET this morning. The song, which explores one of the album’s themes, “self-loathing,” pits Swift against her own dark side. Swift, of course, has included Easter eggs throughout the video, from her recreation of the Evil Kermit the Frog meme me to a cheeky but sobering reference to her own past eating disorder, as she looks at a scale that calls her “fat.”
(As Swift said in her Miss Americana documentary, “[Although] it’s only happened a few times, and I’m not in any way proud of it,” there have been times in the past when Swift has seen “a picture of me where I feel like I looked like my tummy was too big, or…someone said that I looked pregnant…and that’ll just trigger me to just starve a little bit—just stop eating.” She added that the eating disorder affected her on her 1989 tour. “I thought that I was supposed to feel like I was going to pass out at the end of a show, or in the middle of it,” she said in the film. “Now I realize, no, if you eat food, have energy, get stronger, you can do all these shows and not feel [enervated].”)
You can watch the video below:
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Swift discussed how she started doing Easter eggs in a statement given to The Washington Post this week. “I remember saving up to buy a CD when I was a kid, tearing it open, and laying on the floor reading every word of the lyric booklet. Reading lyrics and seeing which photos defined the album were two of my favorite parts of experiencing a record release,” Swift wrote. “I felt like some artists really leaned into their album packaging in a creative way. The Chicks ‘Fly’ album was my favorite because their photos depicted all the meanings of the word ‘fly’ in very theatrical ways.”
“When I was 15 and putting together my first album, I wanted to recreate the experience I used to have for my fans in a reimagined approach. I decided to encode the lyrics with hidden messages using capital letters,” she added. “That’s how it started, and my fans and I have since descended into color coding, numerology, word searches, elaborate hints, and Easter eggs. It’s really about turning new music into an event for my fans and trying to entertain them in playful, mischievous, clever ways. As long as they still find it fun and exciting, I’ll keep doing it.”
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.