One thing Taylor Swift isn’t afraid to do is poke fun at herself. That sense of humor is amply evident in her new music video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” which she debuted Aug. 27 during the “MTV Video Music Awards.”

Most of the video is the kind of cinematic spectacle we’ve come to expect from Taylor, complete with multiple costume changes (including a zombie look), and even one feat of superhuman strength. (Did she really just pick up two motorcycles with her bare hands?) And in typical Taylor fashion, hidden messages abound, like when a crew of dancers rip off jackets to reveal “I heart TS” T-shirts, similar to the one her former flame, actor Tom Hiddleston, was once photographed wearing at her Rhode Island beach home.

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But toward the end of the video we get multiple glimpses of the old Taylor, who started her career as a country artist before turning her attention to pop music. Recreating her former looks from past stage shows and music videos, we see ringmaster Taylor in the red sequined jacket, nerdy Taylor in pajama pants from the “You Belong With Me” video and ballerina Taylor from her more recent “Shake It Off” video. We also see the Moonman award-clutching Taylor in the dress she wore when she was rudely interrupted by Kanye West after her win at the 2009 “MTV Video Music Awards.”

“Stop acting like you’re all nice, you are so fake,” ringmaster Taylor tells her country music persona, who immediately bursts into tears.

“There she goes again,” sneers a leather-clad Taylor, “playing the victim.”

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The 2009 MTV version of Taylor gets the video’s final, spoken line when she repeats a social media message she sent out in the midst of last year’s feud with Kanye and wife Kim Kardashian: “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative.”

Phyllis Stark is a Nashville-based entertainment journalist who has been reporting extensively on country music (and loving every moment of it) for more than two decades.
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