On Sunday, Taylor Swift released the music video for her next single, “Delicate,” during the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards. It’s the latest off her sixth studio album, Reputation, and serves as her treatise on the harmful effects of celebrity and getting on Kim Kardashian-West’s bad side—at least, it will until Swift enjoys being famous again.
Apparently it’s going to take a minute? In the video, Swift arrives at a fancy ballroom party and can’t go anywhere without being pestered by reporters and at least one rogue bellhop. She stops in the bathroom, feeling sorry for herself, and makes sad faces in the mirror. Then (!) she realizes that she’s turned invisible when her friends from the party walk in and ignore her! They literally can’t see her. Bliss! It’s all thanks to a small piece of scrap paper that Swift found and is now suspiciously glowing, but its origin or inner workings are never explained. To be revealed in another video, perhaps?
Newly freed from her high-profile status, Swift takes the opportunity to do some of the worst dancing I’ve seen since Ashlee Simpson gave new meaning to the phrase “doing a jig” on Saturday Night Live 14 years ago. Swift gets very emotional waiting for the subway (relatable) and rides the train barefoot (girl, no). She becomes her own manic pixie dream girl, helping herself escape the pain of life. I hated it.
I didn’t hate it because of the dancing (although that was very bad). It’s because the story that Swift is selling is a lie. She’s made a career out of turning every slight committed against her into a very public feud, through years of subtweeting exes and former bullies with her songwriting. I know about every one of Swift’s beefs because she told us about them. Her coping mechanism has never been to shy away from the public eye—except in the lead-up to this album, after Kardashian-West made their beef extremely public by airing out it out on Snapchat.
On Reputation, Swift maintains that the public has turned on her—but I can’t help feeling like she would prefer to relish the spotlight (and in fact, want us to pay attention to her every manicured move) if the Kimye stuff hadn’t happened. Who knows? The point is Swift will never be invisible as much as we may both want it, but don’t expect me to believe that she actually wishes we’d all stop paying attention.