Having not released a second of music or video imagery from “Midnights” prior to that album’s release four nights ago, Taylor Swift is making up for lost time. She’s released the second music video for a song from the album just days after the first, with “Bejeweled” hitting the Swift-isphere hot on the heels of “Anti-Hero” at the stroke of 12 (ET) Monday night. Watch the full clip, which co-stars Laura Dern, Dita von Teese and the three Haim sisters, below.
It’s a Cinderella story, although a prince — played briefly by producer/writer Jack Antonoff — figures into it even more briefly than in most versions of the fairy tale. Swift plays “House Wench Taylor,” who first appears as she is scrubbing up the vomit “Lady Este” (Este Haim) left behind after her drunken outing the night before. “Stepmommy” (Dern) and Ladies Alana and Danielle antagonize the suffering star even more rudely than in Disney’s versions — there’s no telling what Uncle Walt would have thought of the promise of “diamond tassel nipples” — before Swift transforms herself in a starfield made up of diamonds. She then ghosts the barely glimpsed Antonoff, maybe all the better to return to the giant cocktail glasses she was cavorting in with “Fairy Goddess” von Teese. Pat McGrath, one of the world’s most famous makeup artists, also puts in a cameo.
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Discussing the video on “The Tonight Show,” airing on the east coast roughly around the same time the video was premiering on YouTube, Swift told Jimmy Fallon there are “a psychotic amount” of Easter eggs embedded in the visuals. “We have a PDF file for the Easter eggs in this video, because there are so many we could not keep track.”
In contrast to “Anti-Hero,” “Bejeweled,” as a song, is all about self-confidence, almost as an act of counter-programming to the highly touted self-effacement of the first single. It’s a breakup song, or at least a we-might-break-up song, but also the truly sparkliest number on the album, closer to the shiny heights of a “Lover” track like “Me” or “You Need to Calm Down ” than any other tune on “Midnights.” Of all her songs about troubled relationships, it’s one of the least troubling. The message: She is enchanted to leave you.
But that lyrical content has little to do with the music video, where Swift finds something even more charming than a prince: a chance to tie in with a story centered on her running stroke-of-midnight theme.
One development that fans had hoped for with Swift’s “Tonight Show” appearance didn’t quite pan out. Swifties had hoped she’d be announcing her 2023 tour, but she allowed only that she would like to do one… which may or may not be code for the entire thing being locked and loaded. In any case, Swifties who will have to wait a little longer for tour details can occupy themselves until 3 am or later by collecting freshly laid eggs.
One clue to future plans that doesn’t even seem particularly subtle: a strong hint in the video that “Speak Now” will be the next “Taylor’s Version” re-recording to come out. In the clip, Swift pushes a purple elevator button for the third floor — and she wore a purple dress on the cover of “Speak Now,” her third album. Less popular as a theory, but not completely unviable, is the remoter possibility that the color/number combo could just mean that “Lavender Haze” will be the third single or video from the new album.
The “Bejeweled” video and Fallon visit capped a day in which the news broke that “Midnights” has already collected more than a million album-equivalent units, the first album to do so in a week since Swift’s own “Reputation” in 2017. Luminate reported that the album stood at about 1.2 million units after just three days, with close to a half-million copies sold on the vinyl format.
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