Taylor Swift has no problem with you thinking that she’s a “frustrating, magical elf” for the way she’s been slowly leaking out clues about the Easter eggs hidden in her “ME!” video, featuring Panic! at the Disco’s Brendon Urie. In a chat with England’s Independent, the singer dove just a bit deeper into the inspirations behind the color-bomb video for the first single from her yet-untitled next album, plus she gave the first taste of how it might sound.
“I watch a lot of films and I’ve always loved musicals. With this video, I wanted it to be sort of a love letter to romantic, epic musical films, but always with a weird eccentric twist,” she said of the over-the-top classic Hollywood song-and-dance feel of the Dave Meyers-directed clip. “Some of it was inspired by big Disney films, or classics like Singin’ in the Rain (or in this case, singing in a monsoon of fluorescent pastel paint). The love story between the two main characters in these films tends to be very performative, and that’s exactly what I wanted Brendon and my dynamic to be. Demonstrative and showy. Dramatic, but never taking itself too seriously.”
There were other references that Swifties may not have picked up on, such as Taylor’s attempt to channel 1960s model/photographer Patti Boyd, ex-wife of Beatle George Harrison and Eric Clapton and the muse who inspired such iconic rock songs as “If I Needed Someone” and “Layla.” The other concept for the video was to flip the old romantic movie stereotypes, “like how a man would make a grand gesture in the street for a girl up on a balcony to make it up to her. Instead it’s me and a bunch of badass women in business suits doing the wooing. Then he tries to win me back with a few cliched lady traps like flowers and a ring. But I’m like no, nah. But he hands me a cat? Okay, he must know me.”
But here’s the egg you’ve been desperately searching for: She says that in the “ME!” video, the album title is referenced more than once: You “see it once and you hear it twice.” If you’re a hard-core Swiftie, you probably already knew that and Taylor trusts that you will eventually unravel all the clues on your own, even if it’s not until the album comes out. “That’s how I designed these clues, so that different ones would reveal themselves over time,” she said. “I know this makes me sound like a frustrating, magical elf making people guess my name or something. If the fans tell me they’re not having fun with it anymore, I swear I’ll stop!”
She also revealed that “ME!” was written over the winter and that she’s known for quite a while what she wanted the new album to look and feel like and what emotion she wanted it to evoke. “I wanted it to be like the sky looks after a storm,” she said. “Colourful, calm, somehow more beautiful than it ever had been before.”