Every Shady Time That Taylor Swift Dissed a Celebrity in Her Songs

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Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Jake Gyllenhaal
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Photo: Allison Kahler/STYLECASTER/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Taylor Swift’s lyrics are jam-packed with juicy details about her love life, friendships, and feuds. Though the 28-year-old is notoriously tight-lipped and private (she has only given one interview since her new album, Reputation, came out), fans can trust that she will spill some miraculous tea in her music, and she never fails to disappoint.

MORE: Taylor Swift’s Beauty Evolution Since 2007 Is Seriously Mind-Blowing

We’re decoding the most savage times that the Grammy winner has shaded a celebrity in her music, from disgruntled diss tracks directed at famous ex-boyfriends including John Mayer and Jake Gyllenhaal to Swift’s hidden messages for celebrity enemies such as Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. In some of these, it’s clear who Swift is talking about, while others need some Swiftie-known context. Either way, there’s no doubt that Swift is a master of shade, and she has the discography to prove it.

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Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
"This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" (2017)

Targets: Kanye West & Kim Kardashian

Lyrics: It was so nice being friends again / There I was giving you a second chance / But then you stabbed my back while shaking my hand / And therein lies the issue / Friends don’t try to trick you / Get you on the phone and mind-twist you / And so I took an ax to a mended fence.

It's widely believed that this lyric is a direct reference to Swift's ongoing feud with West and Kardashian. The "second chance" she sings about might refer to Swift and West's surprising friendship after he infamously interrupted her speech at the 2009 Video Music Awards. Fast-forward seven years and Swift came under fire after Kardashian posted a Snapchat video of the Reputation singer and West talking about his song "Famous" on the phone. The video came after Swift claimed that she had never heard the song nor was told that West was going to call her "that bitch" in it. Swift's mention of a mind-twisted phone call is likely a reference to the now-famous Snapchat video.

Photo: Getty Images
Katy Perry and Taylor Swift
"Look What You Made Me Do" (2017)

Target: Katy Perry

Lyrics: You asked me for a place to sleep/ Locked me out and threw a feast (What?)

It's no secret that Perry and Swift have been embroiled in a feud for years. Many fans believe that the reference to a "feast" in this lyric is a jab at Perry's 2017 single "Bon Appétit," in which she sings about food and literally serves herself on a platter in the music video and in performances.

 

Photo: Getty Images
Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift
"Gorgeous" (2017)

Target: Calvin Harris

Lyrics: And I got a boyfriend, he's older than us/He's in the club doing I don't know what

Though several fans have claimed that Swift told them that Tom Hiddleston was her last boyfriend before her current one, Joe Alwyn, there is a lot of evidence leading listeners to believe that this lyric references the time between Swift's relationships with Harris and Alwyn. Many believe that the "club" lyric references Harris's career as a DJ, who frequents nightclubs for performances. Likewise, Harris is five years older than Swift, while Alwyn is two years younger. Many also believe that Alwyn and Swift met at the 2016 Met Gala, which they both attended. The event was held before the media announced Swift and Harris's breakup, leading fans to believe that "Gorgeous" is about Alwyn and the lyric above is a jab at Harris.

Photo: Getty Images
Joe Jonas and Taylor Swift
"Forever & Always" (2008)

Target: Joe Jonas

Lyrics: And I stare at the phone, he still hasn't called/And then you feel so low you can't feel nothing at all.

Did I say something way too honest, made you run and hide/Like a scared little boy.

"Forever & Always" is perhaps the only song that Swift has confirmed its subject. In an interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2008, Swift revealed that she wrote "Forever & Always" after Jonas broke up with her in a 25-second phone call, which is likely what she's referring to in her mentions of her waiting by the phone.

Photo: Getty Images
Katy Perry and Taylor Swift
"Bad Blood" (2014)

Target: Katy Perry

Lyrics: Band-Aids don't fix bullet holes / You say sorry just for show / You live like that, you live with ghosts

Though there aren't any lyrics in "Bad Blood" that point to Perry, the song is widely believed to be about the Witness singer. In a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, Swift revealed that "Bad Blood" is about a woman and ex-friend in the music industry who tried to "sabotage" her arena tour. Years later, Perry confirmed that she was the woman who Swift was talking about after she hired dancers that were on tour for Swift's previous album, Red. Though "Bad Blood" came out years before Perry publicly apologized to Swift, fans believe that the lyric above references the many behind-the-scenes times that Perry has apologized to Swift, which she doesn't think were authentic.

 

Photo: Getty Images
Jake Gyllenhaal
"We Are Never Getting Back Together" (2012)

Target: Jake Gyllenhaal

Lyrics: I'm really gonna miss you picking fights / And me falling for it screaming that I'm right / And you would hide away and find your peace of mind / With some indie record that's much cooler than mine.

When Swift's fourth studio album, Red, came out in 2012, it was widely believed that a majority of the album was about Swift's toxic relationship with Gyllenhaal. The lead single from the album was "We Are Never Getting Back Together," which fans instantly noticed had a few references to Gyllenhaal in its music video. The most damning evidence is that the music video features the video love interest giving Swift his scarf, which many fans believe is a reference to a scarf of Gyllenhaal's that Swift has been photographed wearing. Many fans also believe that the lyric above is a jab at Gyllenhaal's well-documented preference of indie music.

Photo: Getty Images
John Mayer and Taylor Swift
"Dear John" (2010)

Target: John Mayer

Lyrics: Dear John, I see it all now it was wrong / Don’t you think 19's too young to be played by your dark, twisted games? / When I loved you so, I should've known.

Other than the title, "Dear John" doesn't have any explicit references to Mayer. But that hasn't stopped fans—and Mayer himself—from believing that the song is about the "Daughters" singer. Swift and Mayer are believed to have dated from December 2009 to February 2010, when Swift was 19. (Hence the age reference.) Likewise, Mayer isn't known for having the best high-profile relationships, with the singer admitting that he was a "jerk" to past girlfriends, Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Mayer accepted that the song was about him, claiming that he was "caught off-guard" and "humiliated" when the track came out.

Photo: Getty Images
Joe Jonas and Camila Belle
"Better Than Revenge" (2010)

Target: Camilla Belle

Lyrics: She's not a saint / And she's not what you think / She's an actress. / She's better known / For the things that she does / On the mattress.

Belle might not be as well-known as other celebrities on this list, but she and Swift have a dramatic history. Shortly after Swift and Joe Jonas broke up in 2008, the Jonas Brothers member was photographed on dates with Belle, an actress best known for the 2006 remake of "When a Stranger Calls." This led fans to believe that "Better Than Revenge," which came out two years after the drama, was about Belle, mainly because of the reference to an actress who is "better known for things that she does on a mattress." Likewise, in the secret message for "Better Than Revenge" in Swift's album booklet, she wrote, "You thought I would forget."

Photo: Getty Images
Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift
"King of My Heart" (2017)

Target: Calvin Harris & Tom Hiddleston

Lyrics: All the boys and their expensive cars/With their Range Rovers and their Jaguars/Never took me quite where you do

"King of My Heart" is widely believed to be about Swift's current relationship with Joe Alwyn. But fans also believe that the song has a few jabs at her past lovers Harris and Hiddleston. After the song came out, fans pointed out that Hiddleston has been photographed driving a Jaguar, while Harris has been seen driving a Range Rover. The lyric here suggests that despite the men's wealth, they failed as lovers compared to Alwyn.

Photo: Getty Images
Katy Perry and Taylor Swift
"Look What You Made Me Do" (2017)

Target: Katy Perry

Lyrics: I've got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined I check it once, then I check it twice, oh!

"Look What You Made Me Do" is believed to reference several of Swift's feuds. But this line in particular is rumored to be about Perry. Many believe that Swift's mention of a list of names and red underlining is a reference to when Perry suggested that Swift was a "Regina George in sheep's clothing" after her Rolling Stone interview came out. In the movie "Mean Girls," Regina George keeps a Burn Book, which contains a list of her enemies, in which she underlines their names in red. Fans believe that this lyric is a play on Perry's diss.

Photo: Getty Images
Kanye West
"Look What You Made Me Do" (2017)

Target: Kanye West

Lyrics: I don't like your little games Don't like your tilted stage/ The role you made me play/ Of the fool, no, I don't like you I don't like your perfect crime/ How you laugh when you lie/ You said the gun was mine/ Isn't cool, no, I don't like you (oh)

Almost instantly, fans assumed that Swift's mention of a tilted stage in "Look What You Made Me Do" was a reference to West's famous tilted stage (photographed here) from his Saint Pablo Tour. Fans believe that the lyric both references West's physical stage and emotional crookedness that led him to double-cross Swift.

Photo: Getty Images
Kanye West and Taylor Swift
"End Game" (2017)

Target: Kanye West

Lyrics: I hit you like bang / We tried to forget it, but we just couldn’t / And I bury hatchets, but I keep maps of where I put ’em / Reputation precedes me, they told you I’m crazy / I swear I don’t love the drama, it loves me.

You’ve been calling my bluff on all my usual tricks / So here’s a truth from my red lips.

Many believe that the buried hatchets in these lyrics refer to Swift's apology to West after he interrupted her at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. Likewise, Swift keeping a map for where her buried hatchets are could also be a reference to the artists' reignited feud after Kardashian's famous Snapchat video. Further, many believe that "End Game" could be a jab at West, a rapper, due to Swift's rapping most of the song.

Photo: Getty Images
Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift
"I Did Something Bad" (2017)

Target: Kim Kardashian

Lyrics: They’re burning all the witches, even if you aren’t one / They got their pitchforks and proof / Their receipts and reasons / They’re burning all the witches, even if you aren’t one / So light me up

Though subtle, fans believe that the reference to receipts in "I Did Something Bad" is a call to Kardashian using a Snapchat video of Swift and West talking about "Famous" as evidence that she lied about knowing about the song's content. The song essentially suggests that Kardashian is a witch hunter who wrongly burnt her.

Photo: Getty Images
Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift
"I Did Something Bad" (2017)

Target: Calvin Harris

Lyrics: If a man talks shit, then I owe him nothing

He says, "Don't throw away a good thing"/But if he drops my name, then I owe him nothin'/And if he spends my change, then he had it comin'

Many believe that the references to money in this song are a nod to Swift's songwriting credit and royalties on Harris's 2016 hit, "This Is What I Came For." Though Swift originally used the pseudonym Nils Sjöberg, it was revealed later that she, in fact, helped write the song. When Swift announced that she was a songwriter, Harris went on a Twitter rant about how her team was trying to make him "look bad" for keeping it a secret. Fans believe the rant is alluded to with Swift's reference to someone talking shit. Further, fans believe that the lyric about spending change is also a jab at Harris, suggesting that Swift was responsible for making the song big.

Photo: Getty Images
Kanye West and Taylor Swift
"This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" (2017)

Target: Kanye West

Lyrics: Here’s a toast to my real friends / They don’t care about that he said, she said / And here’s to my baby / He ain’t reading what they call me lately / And here’s to my momma / Had to listen to all this drama / And here’s to you / ’Cause forgiveness is a nice thing to do / Haha, I can’t even say it with a straight face.

Though it's widely believed that this lyric is about all of Swift's enemies, many believe that West is at the front of the line because of Swift's reference to forgiveness, a recurring theme in their feud after Swift forgave West for interrupting her speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. The lyric suggests that she won't be forgiving him again.

Photo: Getty Images
Kanye West and Jay-Z
"This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" (2017)

Target: Kanye West

Lyrics: But I’m not the only friend you’ve lost lately / If only you weren’t so shady

Many fans believe that this lyric is a subtle reference to West's fallout with his longtime friend, Jay-Z. Just like how West and Swift's friendship ended after Kardashian's phone call video, Swift suggests that West lost other A-list friends because of his "shady" behavior. Though Swift doesn't name Jay-Z, the rappers' high-profile fallout has been rumored after West accused Jay-Z's wife, Beyoncé, of dive behavior. At a 2016 concert in Sacramento, California, West alleged that Beyoncé would only perform at the MTV Video Music awards if she won Video of the Year, the top category. The speech led Jay-Z to express his disappointment in West and sadness that they had to end their friendship in such an ugly way.

Photo: Getty Images

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Leggings Outside the House
  • Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
  • Katy Perry and Taylor Swift
  • Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift
  • Joe Jonas and Taylor Swift
  • Katy Perry and Taylor Swift
  • Jake Gyllenhaal
  • John Mayer and Taylor Swift
  • Joe Jonas and Camila Belle
  • Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift
  • Katy Perry and Taylor Swift
  • Kanye West
  • Kanye West and Taylor Swift
  • Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift
  • Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift
  • Kanye West and Taylor Swift
  • Kanye West and Jay-Z

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