Meaning Behind Taylor Swift’s Revenge Anthem “Vigilante Sh**”

Taylor Swift has a number of empowering songs. Much of 1989 and Midnights is tailor-made to help you strut down the street with your head held high. Some of her bolstering tunes are on the sweeter or poignant side – “You’re On Your Own, Kid” – while others embrace the darker sides of life. “Vigilante Shit” is definitely the latter.

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Though we may not like to admit it, doing something bad can often feel so good. Somewhere deep inside all of us is a hankering for revenge. Swift calls upon that version of herself for this standout track from Midnights.

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Draw the cat eye, sharp enough to kill a man

We’ve uncovered the meaning behind many of Swift’s songs and, as always, there is a measure of speculation behind the meaning of “Vigilante Shit.” Swift never reveals her secrets. Though her fans are good at cracking codes, she never confirms their theories, leaving them to be just that – theories. As far as “Vigilante Shit” goes, there is one theory that seems to be tossed around the most.

Many fans think “Vigilante Shit” is a coded berate toward Scooter Braun. With Braun being public enemy No. 1 in the Swiftian universe, fans can’t think of anyone else who could deserve this tongue-lashing more so than the music executive.

You did some bad things, but I’m the worst of them
Sometimes I wonder which one will be your last lie
They say looks can kill and I might try

Throughout the lyrics, Swift references “crimes” against her that she feels the need to seek revenge for. Over the last few years, Swift has put an intense focus on her Taylor’s Version re-recordings – an act of revenge against Braun for selling her masters out from under her. With that drama firmly on the mind of Swift and her fans, one could ostensibly guess that the retribution plan Swift is singing about in “Vigilante Shit” could be about Braun.

Elsewhere she sings about not starting drama, but certainly finishing it, and not letting herself be sad at what has gone down, but aiming to get even. It all sounds very similar to Swift’s issue with Braun. Though of course, we may never know the exact meaning behind this track, this theory seems fitting enough to be a contender.

She don’t start it, but she can tell you how it ends
Don’t get sad, get even
So on the weekends
She don’t dress for friends
Lately she’s been dressing for revenge

(Photo by Tom Cooper/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

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