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Song of the Week: Taylor Swift Is the “Anti-Hero” of the Story After All

Marcus King, The Hails, and Smut also released essential tracks

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Anti-Hero Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero” video (via YouTube)

    Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Taylor Swift doesn’t hold back with the hyperaware, self-loathing “Anti-Hero.”


    Ahead of the release of her new album, Midnights, Taylor Swift shared a video to Instagram providing some insight into the subject of “Anti-Hero.” “This song really is a real guided tour throughout all the things I tend to hate about myself,” she said plainly.

    Somehow, that feels like a bit of an understatement for how fully Swift digs into her own paranoia and need for control with this song. She leans all the way into the theatricality and absurdity of it all, both in the song and the accompanying music video (more on that in a moment). “I have this dream my daughter-in-law kills me for the money she thinks I left them in the will,” she says, as if that’s the most normal confession in the world. “Sometimes, I feel like everybody is a sexy baby and I’m a monster on the hill,” she explains elsewhere.

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    Swift has been in the public eye for so long and in so many different ways that she herself is probably completely exhausted by the discourse most of the time. Yet she can’t help herself from engaging sometimes, as this song proves — and her own narrative here gives the sense that she, too, wishes she didn’t feel the need to set the record straight at certain points. The music video is jam-packed with Easter eggs and a few familiar faces, with Mary Elizabeth Ellis, John Early, and Mike Birbiglia playing out her deep-rooted fear of her children fighting over her will after she’s gone.

    Swift is infamous for her secret messages, clues, and winks to her audience. “I should not be left to my own devices,” she concludes. Her expansive imagination lends itself to her craft and typically leads to incredible attention to detail and immersive worlds for listeners to lose themselves in. The double-edged sword aspect of this, though, is that her imagination often leads her into traps she set for herself, too.

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    All of this can be summed up in one of those Taylor Swift lines destined to take on a life of its own: “It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem. It’s me.”

    — Mary Siroky
    Contributing Editor


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