The new video for the breathy track “Delicate” shows Swift being literally leapt upon by an aggressively star-struck bellhop following a red-carpet appearance and practicing smile faces in front of a hotel mirror before living out an apparent fantasy by turning invisible—a magic letter with a sparkly spell seems to play a role here—and dancing (strangely) through a hotel lobby and a subway before the action moves to a rainy street, where invisible Tay Tay continues to dance like nobody’s watching.
Swift teased the existence of the video last week and unveiled the finished product last night at the iHeartRadio Music Awards after winning Female Artist of the Year. The release is doubtless intended to help build buzz ahead of the Reputation stadium tour, which kicks off May 8 in Arizona.
Pop-culture historians immediately claimed references to Britney Spears’ “Lucky,” which also featured an invisible Britney, sparkly spells, and a soul-searching mirror scene.
The video for Spears’ “Overprotected (Darkchild Remix),” meanwhile, shares a hotel lobby dance scene resembling Swift’s and similarly ends with a dance in the rain in an abandoned street.
Other eagle-eyed critics were quick to claim the video was reminiscent of a famous Spike Jonze ad for Kenzo, which also showcased some uninhibited hotel lobby dancing. (Jonze, of course, popularized the routine with his music video for Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice,” starring the inimitable Christopher Walken.)
Indeed, although the video garnered plenty of attention from fans and critics alike, it is Swift’s mirror scene in “Delicate,” which shows her goofily pulling her mouth in different directions with an invisible thread, that triggered the most responses, with many fans praising Swift’s ability to apparently not take herself too seriously.
“Delicate” is likely the last full video to be released from Swift’s Reputation, after “Look What You Made Me Do,” her turn as a naked cyborg in “…Ready for It?” and “End Game,” featuring Ed Sheeran and Future.
The music video was directed by Joseph Kahn, Swift’s usual collaborator.