Is Olivia Rodrigo‘s “Vampire” about … Taylor Swift? Rodrigo commented on fan speculation that the lead ballad from Guts, on which she scathingly sings about an unnamed “bloodsucker, famef—er,” is somehow about one of her childhood idols.
“How do I answer this?” Rodrigo reportedly whispered to Guardian journalist Laura Snapes, when the question about “Vampire” arose during an interview ahead of the Sept. 8 release of Guts.
“I mean, I never want to say who any of my songs are about,” said Rodrigo. “I’ve never done that before in my career and probably won’t. I think it’s better to not pigeonhole a song to being about this one thing.”
“I was very surprised when people thought that,” she added in the article that was published on Saturday (Sept. 2).
Swift championed Rodrigo, who was a self-proclaimed Swiftie, very early on. “I say that’s my baby and I’m really proud,” she sweetly shared on social media when Rodrigo’s breakout smash “Drivers License” first started appearing on charts next to Swift’s music. Swift gifted her a ring like the one she wore when working on her Red album — “She is absolutely the kindest individual in the whole world,” Rodrigo gushed at the time — and the pair met in person and posed together for a cute photo at the 2021 Brit Awards.
After Rodrigo’s debut album, Sour, dropped, interpolations found in her work proved costly. Rodrigo ended up retroactively sharing songwriting credits for “deja vu” with Swift, Jack Antonoff, and Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) for its reminiscence of Swift’s “Cruel Summer.” She also gave writing credits to Swift and Antonoff on “1 step forward, 3 steps back” before Sour‘s release for including an interpolation of Swift’s “New Year’s Day” on the song.
Rodrigo and Swift seemingly haven’t associated with each other since, at least publicly. In a recent New York Times profile, Rodrigo said she hasn’t seen a show on Swift’s Eras Tour.
Back to the song meaning of “Vampire”: To her point, Rodrigo’s lyrics could have been inspired by a number of personal experiences the singer-songwriter might have encountered since “Drivers License” made its mark in 2021 — so her answer to the question doesn’t really answer much at all.
“Hate to give the satisfaction, asking how you’re doing now/ How’s the castle built off people you pretend to care about?” she sings in the opening of the song.
Later in the profile about Rodrigo and her sophomore album, Guardian writer Snapes, in her own words, notes that “‘Vampire’ is primarily about a romantic relationship with an older guy.” Many of its lyrical barbs do point toward this interpretation: there’s a line directed at a “cool guy,” and one pointing out that “every girl I ever talked to told me you were bad, bad news.” In the track’s second verse, Rodrigo says, “Went for me, and not her/ ‘Cause girls your age know better.”
Read the full piece at The Guardian here.