Small details you missed in Taylor Swift's 'ME!' music video

Taylor Swift has made music videos into sometimes maddening puzzles for her beloved Swifties, knowing that they'll inspect every possible piece of symbolism she injects into the visuals for her hits. She said of "ME!," her duet with Brendon Urie (via Billboard), "Okay regarding Easter eggs.. there are a lot of them in this video. Some you'll find out right away and some will take a minute to reveal their meaning (omg why am I talking like a sorcerer)." After fans started picking apart every imaginable part of the video, she said in an Instagram Live video, "The biggest Easter egg of this entire thing has been missed. But the whole thing … it's literally the most obvious one I put in the video and nobody has guessed it yet." Later, she tweeted, "So… the new album title is actually revealed somewhere in the video AND so is the title of the second single, but I haven't seen people finding them yet."

Of course, all of these clues (or red herrings) could just be a brilliant way to keep everyone watching the video and increasing Swift's streaming numbers. If that's the case, it's certainly working: Billboard reports "ME!" broke the record for the most streams in 24 hours by a solo or female artist, garnering more than 65.2 million views since it first dropped on April 26, 2019. In any case, here are all the Easter eggs the now-broken Internet has found in the clip.

She goes through a metamorphosis

What, you thought Taylor Swift was through with snake imagery? Think again. In the intro to the "ME!" music video, a beige and brown snake slithers and hisses its way across rainbow-colored bricks. Just as the snake — a moniker bestowed on her after Kim Kardashian leaked Swift's infamous phone call with Kanye West — rears its head to strike, the serpent turns into a fluttering smatter of iridescent butterflies, perhaps representing Swift's metamorphosis from her somewhat darker Reputation era to the light, fluffy, aural cotton candy that is "ME!."

That isn't the only butterfly imagery in the "ME!" video. In fact, if you look closely, the entire video appears to take place in a chrysalis, which Scientific American describes as a "protective casing, [where] the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth." Swift has used a lot of butterfly imagery leading up to the release of "ME!."

(Coincidentally or not, depending on the perceived level of pettiness, Kardashian posted Instagrams about snake jewelry designs the same day "ME!" dropped. We look forward to these grown women — Kim, 38, and Taylor, 29 — both finally growing up.)

She references her previous works

Both "ME!" and "Delicate" begin with Taylor Swift's voice being deliberately distorted (or enhanced, depending on your personal taste) by a Vocoder. What's more, she dances in the rain while wearing a blue dress at approximately the same timestamp in each video, both of which have fantasy elements: "Delicate" boasts her becoming invisible, while Brendon Urie flies in "Me."

Fans on Tumblr also pointed out that Swift appeared to match timestamps for when she's sitting on a rooftop while wearing a pink dress to when she did the same in "Begin Again," as well as being hoisted up by cheerleaders in "Shake It Off" to nearly the same timestamp as when she was held up by her marching bandmates in "ME!;" Urie appears to propose to Swift close to the same time that Swift's onscreen love in her "Mine" music video did the same.

It isn't just music videos that Swift references. When Brendon Urie shows off his heart at about 2:16, Swifties pointed out the parallels to Swift's "kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats under coats" lyric from "Welcome To New York." In a Tumblr reblog, Swift appeared to have confirmed the connection.

There may be a nod to her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn

Even though Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie speak French in the music video's introductory scene, the couple pass conspicuous landmarks Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul's Cathedral during their travels in the clip, meaning they're in London. Swift has infamously been dating her most recent muse, The Favourite (2018) actor Joe Alwyn. Alwyn was born and raised in London, so many of Swift's fans speculated that the setting was a sweet tribute to Swift's boyfriend of (possibly) three years.

In addition to giving a nod to her lover's hometown, Swift also includes a reference to her own. The singer features a Christmas tree in her living room in the music video, despite it not appearing to be winter. That may be a reference to her own childhood: She grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania before moving to Nashville to kickstart her country music career.

There may be a few nods to the 'Old Taylor'

Despite pronouncing the "old Taylor" dead in the spoken interlude of "Look What You Made Me Do" from 2017's Reputation, there are still some fan-perceived nods to the pre-#snakegate Taylor Swift scattered throughout the "ME!" video. Fans compared Swift's blue dress in the video to the one she wore for the visuals to 1989's "Out Of The Woods;" the black and white dress in the video's opening scenes to one she wore on her 1989 tour; and the umbrella scene to some of her 1989 tour set pieces and performances. Some Swifties also compared her marching band theme to that of her "You Belong With Me" music video character and some of her Red tour outfits.

She copped a line from Sesame Street

Taylor Swift has always aimed to please a relatively young demographic, but her fans maybe getting even younger this album cycle, because she borrowed a line from a classic "Sesame Street" tune for "ME!." The lyric "One of these things is not like the others / Like a rainbow with all of the colors," is directly from the classic kids' educational show, USA Today reported. Further driving home the kids' show theme, Brendon Urie yells, "Hey kids!" to Swift's "Spelling is fun!" Then they point out that the letters "M" and "E" are in "team" and "awesome." Hopefully you already knew that.

Did she copy the song's hook from Emeli Sande?

If you thought "ME!" sounded familiar, you aren't alone. A slew of listeners on social media (including Charlie Puth in a since-deleted tweet, preserved via PopBuzz) noticed that the chorus of Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie's track bore striking similarities to the chorus of Emeli Sande's 2012 smash "Next To Me." The songs are quite different in general, with Swift's being an upbeat, sunny pop tune to Sande's powerful, soul-infused, mid tempo piano ballad. Specifically, the "me-ee-eee, oooh-ooh ooooh oooh" in "ME!" has been likened to "me-ee oooh oooh oooh" in "Next To Me." (We get that it sounds confusing in writing, but take a listen to both hooks here.)

Whether or not the similarity was intentional, one thing is clear: Swift, who co-wrote "ME!" with Urie and producer Joel Little, knows Sande's song well. In fact, Swift brought Sande onstage to perform the ballad with her during her Red tour stop at London's O2 Arena in February 2014. So far, neither Sande nor Swift have commented on the similarities in their hits.

She dropped hints about her next album

See the neon "Lover" sign underneath the rooftop where the hot pink fluffy dress-clad Taylor Swift sits? Fans are convinced that it's either the name of another song on her upcoming seventh album or the album title itself. Fans also noticed that all of the clocks in the "ME!" music video are set to 8:30, leading them to believe that Swift's seventh record will be released on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019. 

To date, all of Swift's albums have either been released in October or November, but August is close enough to her typical album cycle schedule for it to be plausible. However, Swift herself told fans to take note of the number of purses around her head in the street-dancing scene and the number of clouds she ventures through when she exits her home. Those numbers are 7 and 13 (the latter being Swift's long-known lucky number), leaving Swifties scrambling to Twitter to speculate on a July 13, 2019 release date. But that falls on a Saturday, and albums are typically released on Fridays. Quick, someone grab a deck of Tarot cards! 

She loves the Dixie Chicks a whole lot

When Taylor Swift sings "There's a lot of cool chicks out there," the camera pans by a wall full of framed art of literal chicks in sunglasses. Among those paintings is a portrait of the Dixie Chicks. Swift mentioned the band by name in ELLE. in February 2019. "To this day, when I hear 'Cowboy Take Me Away' by the Dixie Chicks, I instantly recall the feeling of being twelve years old, sitting in a little wood paneled room in my family home in Pennsylvania," Swift wrote in an essay for the outlet. 

In August 2015, she performed "Goodbye Earl" with Dixie Chicks' frontwoman Natalie Maines, so the mutual love runs deep and long between the superstar ladies. The Dixie Chicks tweeted Swift after the video's release, leading many to believe that the band may have a collaboration with Swift on her new album. (Some have even speculated that the "lame guys" at 2:05 in the "ME!" video are the Dixie Chicks in drag.)

Is she going country again?

It's been widely speculated that Taylor Swift may be returning to her country roots after achieving pop megastardom with 1989 and, to a lesser degree, Reputation. Though "ME!" is a wholehearted pop confection, she references her roots — and perhaps her future — when she rocks white cowboy boots to dance with duet partner Brendon Urie around the 3:20 mark. Her outfit in this scene also features roses, which have been spotted on her merch for this era, which Swift has worn when going out and about leading up to the release of "ME!."

She got a new kitten

By far the most adorable part of Taylor Swift's "ME!" music video is the cat Brendon Urie presents to her after flowers and an engagement ring fail to win her over. As it turns out, the kitten is the latest addition to Swift's brood of cats. She refers to her Scottish folds Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson in the video's French-spoken introduction as her "young daughters." Swift later explained in an Instagram Live video with Urie (via People) that the kitten's name is Benjamin Button. He was provided for the video by a program that aims to "get cute kittens adopted by putting them in commercials and stuff."

Swift said that the kitten's handler asked her if she wanted to hold him before filming their scene together — and that was it. "She handed me this tiny cat and he just starts purring and … he looks at me like, 'You're my mom, and we're going to live together.' I fell in love. I looked at Brendon and he's like, 'You're going to get the cat aren't you?'" Since then, Swift's posted on social media about her "good boy" Benjamin, noting that he loves to be held "like a human baby … it's his preferred way to travel."