“Vigilante Sh*t” by Taylor Swift
Before we get into the conspiracy theories – which fortunately or unfortunately, depending on one’s perspective – are part and parcel of every song Taylor Swift drops, let’s first delve into what’s being expressed forthrightly on “Vigilante Sh*t”.
A vigilante is someone who, most simply put, takes the law into his or her own hands. With that in mind, this song is not speaking to vigilantism per se. Instead, it may have been more amply titled something like “Vengeance Sh*t”, since the lyrics revolve around the vocalist getting revenge on certain dudes who slighted her.
And it may be that there is more than one individual she has targeted in that regard. That is to say that the three verses may or may not be based on three separate people who slighted the vocalist.
It is also hypothetically possible that the first two verses center on the same target, while the third is someone else. But in any event, in the name of readability, we will initially approach this analysis as if each verse is respectively based on a different troubled relationship that Taylor was in.
Verses 1 and 2
Considering that the songstress starts of the first verse by alluding to the notion that she is making herself sexy to spite the person she is angry with, general logical would dictate that said individual was a romantic interest.
And the characteristic which he possesses that Swift cannot vibe with is akin to being a serial liar. And the vocalist clarifies that asserting her freedom, if you will, is not about impressing anyone. Rather she is doing so, most simply interpreted, to piss off said romantic interest off.
Now the reason that the target in the first and second verses may be the same is because the latter also reads as if maybe he is someone Taylor dated. But then again, maybe not. After all, you don’t have be a guy’s mistress in order to rationalize blowing up his spot, as the vocalist is doing in this passage.
In other words, she proceeds to provide his wife with “cold, hard proof” that he cheated. And in American society, especially when you’re dealing with a rich couple as apparently this one is, that’s pretty much all a party needs in the name of successfully filing for divorce.
So this brief yet detailed verse concludes with the wife walking away both materially victorious with her “pride” very much intact, and Swift having the last laugh in that she was able to get revenge against someone who did her wrong.
The last verse, meanwhile, centers on a target who’s a straight-up criminal. And whereas Taylor doesn’t get into much detail, what’s being implied is that she ratted him out “to the FBI”. Again, it is not specified what it is this individual did to piss Tay Tay off.
But in this case, it doesn’t particularly read like anything romance-based but instead perhaps ‘crossing her lines’ in the realm of business or what have you.
And with that in mind, we know that Scooter Braun is considered to be a serious business rival by Taylor Swift. The individual in the third verse is presented as having a cocaine habit. This is something Scooter is not known for.
However and quite unfortunately, Braun did recently get divorced from his wife of about a decade, Yael Cohen, just a month before this track was dropped actually. And yes, his ex-wife did walk away with a pretty hefty bag, though as to be expected considering Scooter’s wealth.
But it should be noted, at least as far as the rationale the couple gave behind their divorce, that they did so due to irreconcilable differences. However, what is interesting to note is that when it first became public that their marriage was in jeopardy, infidelity on the part of Scooter was apparently part of the equation, and Taylor Swift was indeed involved in a roundabout way.
Then, as far as famous enemies of Tay Tay’s go, there is also Kimye, i.e. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. As you undoubtedly know, the two of them have been undergoing divorce drama for a couple of years now.
But as it currently stands, even though Kim has legally obtained single status, their divorce has yet to be finalized. Also by the looks of things, if such does transpire, it won’t be a situation where Kanye will not be on the hook to compensate his ex-wife, as is the person depicted in the second verse of this song.
And beyond that, of course we don’t know who else Taylor Swift has beef with in her personal life. Indeed it has been suggested that she always possessed a vindictive personality or, in the very least, was made this way via the up and downs that come along with being an A lister from her youth.
All things considered, if Taylor did have a hand in destroying someone’s marriage and even proceeding to hang out with the ex-wife afterwards, chances are that we, the public, would know something about it, even if only in speculation.
So perhaps a more reasonable way of interpreting “Vigilante Sh*t” is as it being based on a revenge fantasy.
Yes, certain aspects of the narrative may be true. For example, this piece does a good job of presenting Swift as someone who, if compelled, has no qualms about “dressing for revenge”, so woe unto you if you continue to rub her the wrong way. But it may also be that parts of this story are embellished or that she is portraying a character, so to speak.
But that said, all lyrics and verifiable facts considered, it would be more reasonable to conclude that she is, at least in part, referring to Scooter Braun, as opposed to Kimye. That is to say since Taylor very much considers Braun (in conjunction with Big Machine Records) to have jacked the bulk of her impressive catalog, then it wouldn’t be out of the way to speculate that part of her is happy for the misfortune he recently experienced.
The same may also be said, to a lesser degree, of Kanye West in particular, though their feud was a verbal, not monetary or creative, variety. But to actually conclude that Taylor intentionally contributed to the demise of their marriages, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence to back such a suggestion.
Credits for “Vigilante Sh*t”
Interesting to note is that this appears to be only song on Taylor’s “Midnights” album that was written exclusively by the songstress. However, she did have help producing it in the form of Jack Antonoff, who worked with her throughout the project.
It has been noted that the term “dressing for revenge”, which is found throughout this song, is actually one that was coined in 1994. It is in reference to the late Princess Diana (1961-1997), due to the sexy attire she publicly wore in aftermath of it being made public that her husband, the present-day King Charles III, had an affair.
When was “Vigilante Sh*t” released?
Taylor Swift first revealed the name of this song on 23 September 2022, about a month before it was released.
Republic Records eventually released the song along with “Midnights” on 21 October 2022.
“Vigilante Sh*t” happens to be one of the outstanding tracks on “Midnights”. Other notable tracks from this project include:
- “Lavender Haze”
- “Midnight Rain”
- “Snow on the Beach”
- “You’re on Your Own, Kid”