Love her or hate her, Taylor Swift has, by now, proven herself a veritable master at exacting musical revenge, leaving everyone from former flames to ex-BFFs to face her wrath in song.

That's made for plenty of juicy material throughout her 12-years-and-counting career, and though she rarely confirms any references, her loyal legion of Swifties have already done much of the detective work.

From her long-running rivalry with Kanye West to her recently mended fallout with Katy Perry, look back through every time Swift used her music to grind an axe with a fellow celeb.


  • 1

    Kanye West in "Look What You Made Me Do"

    The lyrics to "Look What You Made Me Do," Reputation's vindictive lead single, directly mention a tilted stage — an all but confirmed reference to the set design Kanye West used throughout his Saint Pablo tour.

    The two have had a longstanding feud since West infamously interrupted her acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs, but more recently became embattled over the release of "Famous," a song containing the line, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous."

    West contended he'd gotten the greenlight from Swift herself to use the lyric; Swift insisted he hadn't. And then, in the Snapchat video seen round the world, Kim Kardashian released footage of West calling Swift for approval, and any fences they'd mended were immediately torn back down.

  • 2

    And Again in "End Game"

    Reputation's "End Game" also features a line that some think calls out West, as the two tried to put their beef behind them, but couldn't: "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."

  • Kevin Winter, Getty Images
    Kevin Winter, Getty Images

    Kim Kardashian During the 'Reputation' Tour Opener

    Upon the release of the said Snapchat video, Kardashian used the snake emoji to allude to Swift — a fact Swift had far from forgotten during the opening night of her Reputation tour two years later.

    “You might be wondering why there are so many snakes everywhere, huh?" she asked her fans. "A couple of years ago, someone called me a snake on social media and it caught on. Then a lot of people were calling me a lot of things on social media. And I went through some really low times for a while because of it."

  • 4

    Kim and Kanye in "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things"

    "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things," another post-"Famous" Reputation entry, also seems to shade West and Kardashian with a reference to Swift and West's phone call.

    "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," she sings. "And therein lies the issue / Friends don’t try to trick you / Get you on the phone and mind-twist you."

  • 5

    Katy Perry in "Bad Blood"

    This vendettea-driven 2014 entry from 1989 is widely rumored to chronicle the demise of Swift and Perry's former friendship, and though Swift has never said so directly, there's ample evidence.

    In a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, she revealed that the song is about an ex-friend in the music industry who tried to "sabotage" her arena tour, and Perry later confirmed that she'd hired dancers who had been on Swift's Red tour.

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    And Again in the "Look What You Made Me Do" Video

    There's another seemingly sly nod to Perry in the "Look What You Made Me Do" visuals. Toward the beginning, Swift gets into a car crash while sporting an angular haircut that bears a striking resemblance to Perry's. Also of significance is her leopard print coat (and the actual leopard seated next to her), as Perry’s fans are called “Katy Cats," as well as the Grammy Award she's clutching in her left hand, which may or may not be a dig at Perry, who's never won one of the coveted statuettes despite multiple nominations.

  • 7

    Calvin Harris in "Gorgeous"

    Many listeners believe "Gorgeous," also from Reputation, includes a jab at Swift's ex-boyfriend, DJ/producer Calvin Harris, who is six years older than her.

    "And I got a boyfriend, he's older than us/He's in the club doing I don't know what," she scoffs on the track.

  • 8

    Joe Jonas in "Forever and Always"

    Swift confirmed in a 2008 interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that "Forever and Always" is about Jonas, who she said broke up with her over during a 27-second phone call after several months of dating.

  • 9

    Jake Gyllenhaal in "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

    Red hit "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" is largely believed to be about Swift's ex-beau Jake Gyllenhaal, and the video appears to poke fun at his affinity for indie rock and scarves.

  • 10

    John Mayer in "Dear John"

    Aside from the title, there's not much proof that "Dear John" is about Mayer, but that hasn't stopped almost everyone — including Mayer himself — from thinking it is. In a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, the "Daughters" singer said he was "humiliated" when it came out.

    "I never got an e-mail. I never got a phone call. I was really caught off-guard, and it really humiliated me at a time when I'd already been dressed down," he said, though he declined to comment on the "Don't you think I was too young to be messed with?" lyric. (Swift was19 when she dated Mayer, who was then 32).

  • 11

    Camilla Belle in "Better Than Revenge"

    Swift's 2010 effort, "Better Than Revenge," was allegedly written about When a Stranger Calls actress Camilla Belle, who was photographed with Joe Jonas shortly after he and Swift's 2008 breakup.

    "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," Swift opines.

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