Taylor Swift’s insecurities and fears are coming to life in the music video, which Swift is calling a “music movie,” for her song “Anti-Hero,” from her new Midnights album.
In the video released to coincide with her new album, Swift can be seen running from the ghosts of her past as she is continuously confronted by what appears to be her Hollywood alter ego and a “giant monster-on-a-hill” persona. In varied moments, Swift could be seen wearing a “Vote for me, for everything” pin, stepping on a scale which reads “fat” and taking notes as her persona teaches her that “everyone will betray you.”
Later in the video, there’s a scene of Swift’s imagined funeral, in which a fictional daughter-in-law (portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Ellis) and sons (John Early and Mike Birbiglia) read her will.
“There’s probably a secret encoded message that means something else,” Early’s Chad says in the scene, nodding to Swift’s signature Easter eggs. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s what mom would always do,” Birbiglia’s Preston says before reading the next part, “PS There is no secret encoded message that means something else.” Swift’s fictional daughter-in-law is later accused of killing her for her money.
Swift directed and wrote the “Anti-Hero” video, which follows Swift directing the short film for the original 10-minute version of her beloved song, “All Too Well.”
“The Anti-Hero video is HERE, which I wrote and directed. Watch my nightmare scenarios and intrusive thoughts play out in real time,” Swift wrote on social media of the video.
Prior to the album’s Oct. 21 release, Swift shared a series of videos on social media in which she discussed the meaning behind some of the songs. Swift described “Anti-Hero” as “one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written.”
“I really don’t think I’ve delved this far into my insecurities in this detail before,” she said. “I struggle a lot with the idea that my life has become unmanageably sized, and not to sound too dark, I just struggle with the idea of not feeling like a person.” She also said the song is a “real guided tour” of “all the things I tend to hate about myself.”
In a teaser released during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video, Swift revealed that Midnights would be accompanied by album visuals called “Midnights music movies.” For the upcoming videos, Swift collaborated with cinematographer Rina Yang, who she previously worked with on the “All Too Well” 10-minute short film. In addition to Ellis, Early and Birbiglia, other stars set to be featured include Jack Antonoff, Laura Dern, Haim, Pat McGrath, Laith Ashley, and Dita Von Teese.
Swift worked with longtime collaborator Antonoff for the Midnights album with William Bowery (who Swift has since revealed to be her boyfriend, actor Joe Alwyn) also credited as a songwriter for the track “Sweet Nothing.” Zoë Kravitz is also listed on a songwriter for the song “Lavender Haze.” Swift’s Folklore and Evermore collaborator Aaron Dessner was later revealed to have also worked on the album after Swift surprised fans with an additional seven songs, dubbed Midnights 3am Edition.
In a teaser shared on Swift’s social media of the calendar of events for the Midnights album release week, the singer-songwriter noted that a video for another Midnights song will release on Tuesday, Oct. 25.