Beneath Taylor Swift’s Anti-Hero’s Lyrics is a Deeper Message About Mental Health

“It must be exhausting always rooting for the Anti-Hero.” – Taylor Swift


Sophia Jiang

On October 21 at 7 A.M. CT, Taylor Swift dropped her first music video for the Midnights Album: Anti-Hero. Unlike the other songs on the album that revolve around revenge and romance, Anti-Hero represents a self-loathing jab to oneself. Many of Swift’s AntiHero lyrics reference her insecurities regarding public appearance and overinflated fame. Below is an analysis of Anti-Hero’s many lyrics:

The very first line grabs the attention of the listener: “I have this thing where I get older, but just never wiser.” Swift believes that she has not matured or grown in character over the years, an insecurity that many others also share. Anti-Hero also includes multiple references to ghosts and nightmares, including the famous line, “I wake up screaming from dreaming / one day I’ll watch as you’re leaving.”

The chorus is equally relatable. Swift sings, “It’s me, hi / I’m the problem, it’s me.” These intrusive thoughts that many, including Swift, experience, can lead to self-hate and self-blame. Similarly, “I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror / It must be exhausting always rooting for the anti-hero.” suggests Swift’s reluctance to view herself due to low self-esteem.

“I’m a monster on the hill / too big to hang out / slowly lurching towards your favorite city.” In Swift’s Anti-Hero music video, Taylor Swift emerges in a group of friend’s dining room as a giant version of herself, engendering horrified reactions from the group of friends. The large-Taylor representation displays Swift’s toxic fame that has caused her life to grow out of proportion: she is recognized everywhere she goes, can’t attain privacy, and is treated differently than she was before she became a star.

It is evident that Anti-Hero has struck a nerve in many fans. The Midnights audience immediately took to the internet to praise Swift’s relatable lyrics and bizarre yet well directed music video. Because Swift brought up messages regarding mental health in a direct way that she has never before, many fans who went through the same experiences could sympathize with Swift’s view on her own insecurities. 

Listen to Anti-Hero here!