From the very beginning, Taylor Swift’s new album rollout has been meticulously designed to grab headlines and stir the eternal pot of Internet Drama. And, well, here we are, once again, fulfilling the destiny of Reputation.
The latest installment in the growing web of conspiracy theories involves Taylor's new single “Gorgeous.” Even before the song was properly released, though, when Taylor had just teased the song title on her Instagram, nearly everyone had already made the immediate connection to a Kanye West song off 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy also titled “Gorgeous.”
The connection isn't completely random; after all, Kanye and Taylor’s famously thorny relationship has clearly been a big inspiration for many songs on the album. “Look What You Made Me Do,” the first single Taylor released, included various coded shots at Kanye West. The song’s video, released a few days later, was essentially one long string of symbols for nearly every big event in Taylor’s public life, and fans ate it up. This suggests that Reputation, and any songs on it, have some hidden meaning that Taylor actually wants her fans, and Internet users at large, to decode. She could have named her new single anything, but since she’s already made digs at Kanye, naming a song “Gorgeous” seems like just a cherry on top of her resentment cake.
Let’s also not forget that My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a damn masterpiece. It’s one of a very small group of albums that have merited a five-star review from Rolling Stone; and we at Complex also believe it is Kanye’s best album to date. It's also Kanye's first album since the whole 2009 MTV VMAs controversy. Taylor's decision to use a title like "Gorgeous," and not, say, something pulled from his most recent album, The Life of Pablo, suggests she could be going at him once again.
Whatever Taylor has in mind, though, didn't exactly get through to fans, as they have chosen Kanye's as the better "Gorgeous."
Some fans went above and beyond the typical reactions. Conspiracy theories are abound:
Although it might all seem like fun and games, some of the publicity surrounding Taylor’s album release has been less than flattering. Not only did nearly everyone hate her first single (yeah, it’s really that bad), but there are a few more theories circulating that make the title of “Gorgeous” seem less like an innocent attempt at being petty and more like something much more pointed and calculated. All of the artwork released alongside Taylor’s singles looks a lot like Kanye’s iconic The Life of Pablo merch and aesthetic, and although it could just be a big coincidence—Kanye is a trendsetter, and Taylor and her team could just be following such trends—it feels slightly more personal when coupled with all the other subtle digs at the rapper.
There was also the controversy over the album's release date. The day Reputation will be unleashed (Nov. 10) is also the 10th anniversary of the death of Donda West, Kanye’s mother. Taylor’s reps have denied any correlation, though many fans felt it was done purposefully. Some have even planned a “Hey Mama” Day in response.
At the end of the day, Taylor has specifically orchestrated all of this so someone can say it's all just speculation. That's the whole point of this whole album, and that's why Taylor will probably continue to break records left and right.