Taylor Swift's new video for "ME!" opens with a pastel-coloured snake evaporating into whimsical little butterflies. It's a bit on the nose for the narrative she's trying to sell fans: that she's shed the vindictive vibe that marked previous album, Reputation, and she's moved onto nicer, prettier things. Namely, herself.
"ME!," which features Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco Fame, is a self-empowerment anthem. Taylor has turned her focus away from revenge and is searching inward, celebrating Taylor just as she is. "You can't spell awesome without me," she sings in a video that looks like it had the same set designer as Mary Poppins Returns. The pop star announced in a much-hyped interview with Robin Roberts during the NFL Draft Thursday night that the song and video would be released in midnight. "'ME!' is a song about embracing your individuality and really celebrating it and owning it," Swift told Roberts. "I think with a pop song we have the ability to get a melody stuck in people's heads, and I just want it to be one that makes them feel better about themselves."
The announcement was the culmination of a 13 day countdown, during which Swift dropped clues beckoning fans to guess what her Big Announcement may be. The internet, being the internet, ran wild with speculation. An announcement this massive, during the draft, with a serious journalist like Roberts, well it couldn't just be new music. Could it? One long-standing theory was that Taylor was going to use the moment to come out as bisexual or reveal something else about her personal life. That wasn't the case.
Some may have been disappointed that the big news wasn't something juicier or more revealing. But this is Taylor Swift we're talking about and large-scale event-style announcements are just what she does. How else did you expect her to debut her hard pivot from evil to Lisa Frank goes to college? She wasn't just going to just quietly drop a new single on streaming services and call it a day. The spectacle of it all is a little tiresome – and yet it's clear that she's good at it, and her core fans eat it up. TS7 is upon us: accept your fate.
This article originally appeared on Noisey US.