In the lead-up to the release of “Midnights,” Taylor Swift herself said this 10th record of hers was inspired by haunting late-night thoughts and, believe it or not, a bit of “self-loathing.” Her first single, “Anti-Hero,” in particular, she said delves “far into my insecurities” — and on “Midnights” release day, we get to see what that means.
While the lyrics certainly show a Swift who’s hard on herself — “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me,” she declares — the music video too reflects how a person is often their own toughest critic. In a tweet, Swift called the video a depiction of her “nightmare scenarios” and “intrusive thoughts.”
Swift wrote and directed the video, which follows a Swift tortured by monsters like ghosts, bathroom scales and judgey people at parties. Then things start to get more deep as she faces different versions of herself that she’s also tortured by. Metaphors!
There is a moment of silliness about midway through, after a verse in which Swift sings about a dream she had about a future daughter-in-law who kills her for money, but Swift left her out of her will. The video shows how that scenario may have played out, with actors Mike Birbiglia, Mary Elizabeth Ellis and John Early lending a bit of camp to it all. (Laura Dern, the Haim sisters and a few other celebrities are credited too, though unclear how and where they appear.) It's always fun when Taylor Swift can flex her star power and tap her famous friends for projects.
The Swifties are enjoying “Anti-Hero” too, based on the discourse around Twitter. Here’s a peek at what everyone’s saying: