Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s ‘Delicate’ Music Video Garners Mixed Reviews

Pop star Taylor Swift's music video for her new song has received criticism amid accusations that she stole video concepts from a Kenzo perfume ad.
March 29, 2018
6 mins read

Since the official music video’s release at the iHeartRadio Awards on March 11, “Delicate” keeps receiving mixed reviews. Taylor Swift herself sent out a video on Twitter before the premiere expressing her excitement. The music video clearly means a lot to her and happens to be a fun one, too. Unfortunately, people have still found things to nitpick at.

“Delicate” begins with a swarm of reporters surrounding Swift outside the beautiful Los Angeles Theatre and the Millennium Biltmore Hotel as she’s walking the red carpet, accompanied by a steady beat of music. The camera pans the line of reporters while Swift receives a note from a mysterious person, causing her to give a sidelong look of hope.

Once in the hotel, with bodyguards following her every footstep, viewers get a glimpse on how the media has caused drama that has nearly destroyed the relationship between the singer and her fans. A silver lining, however, occurs as Swift realizes she is invisible and free of judgment, symbolizing how she can finally be herself.

She takes “dance like nobody is watching” to a new level as she fearlessly dances all the way to a “dive bar on the East Side” with a dreamy look on her face.

The concept for the video is different from any of Swift’s previous ones. Instead of worrying about what others think, she dances and continues to be herself. Interestingly enough, she doesn’t have a male co-star when the song itself is about falling for someone who likes her for who she is.

The power of invisibility that Swift gains through the magical note makes the video seem like a fairy tale. In addition, the special effects are incredibly well-crafted throughout the video, with the scenes moving seamlessly.

The best part for any longtime fan, though, is finding little gems of Swift’s old videos in her new ones. While in the subway scene, Swift dances in front of a pole with graffiti spelling out “track 5,” a nod to the fact that “Delicate” is the fifth track on the album “Reputation.”

One fan even pointed out that the “fearless Taylor” in the “Look What You Made Me Do” video is the fifth “old Taylor” in the lineup of Taylors in the last scene. In fact, Swift, using lines from her song “Fearless,” could replace the current lyrics of her new video with “I don’t know why, but with you, I’d dance / in a storm in my best dress / Fearless,” and still have it match the sequences perfectly.

Despite the entertaining video, there have been several critical remarks. A mixed review making rounds on the internet asked, “Did Taylor rip off her ‘Delicate’ video from a perfume ad?” Back in 2016, the brand Kenzo hired Spike Jonze to direct a three-minute ad for their perfume.

At the beginning of the video, a young woman (Margaret Qualley) sneaks away from an award ceremony. She then starts dancing wildly by herself and rearranging her face into funny expressions as the song “Mutant Brain” by Sam Spiegel & Ape Drums ft. Assassin begins to play. In Swift’s video, the singer also makes strange faces at one point.


While this may seem like an obvious copycat, Swift shouldn’t be the one to blame. Rather, critics should be pointing their attention to the director of “Delicate,” Joseph Kahn, who has been accused of “borrowing” ideas from Jonze several times in the past.

It’s unsurprising, though, that all the negative feedback has turned to Swift, who for some time now has been a victim of the media. Besides the facial expressions, critics have pointed out another aspect that has been supposedly copied from the perfume ad.

In “Delicate,” Swift develops invisibility powers after discovering a magical note, giving her the freedom to be herself without anyone watching. In comparison, the perfume ad follows Qualley around a beautiful hotel while she shoots lasers out of her fingers and performs various stunts, ending with her jumping through a floral eyeball.

While both videos feature supernatural elements, they are not exactly the same. There is definitely a parallel regarding the facial expressions in both videos, but the second criticism is a bit of a long shot, with it seeming to be another way for the media to run Swift’s hard-earned reputation to the ground.

“Delicate,” is a bit odd, yes, but captivating all the same. The video symbolizes the singer’s newfound happiness despite the media’s attempts at twisting the public’s perception of her. Swift rewards her fans’ devotion with her creative music videos, all while never forgetting her past.  “Reputation” is turning out to be a unique bundle of music that doesn’t deserve all the negative reviews.

Emily Craig, University of North Alabama

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Emily Craig

University of North Alabama

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