Olivia Rodrigo has addressed a fan theory that her song “Vampire” is a jab at Taylor Swift.
In a recent interview with the Guardian, the 20-year-old musician discussed her forthcoming sophomore album, “Guts,” and its lead single, “Vampire” — a scathing ballad about a “bloodsucker” and “fame f—” who took advantage of her and bled her dry.
While many fans have assumed that “Vampire” is about one of Rodrigo’s exes (she has been linked in the past to DJ Zack Bia, producer Adam Faze and her “High School Musical” co-star Joshua Bassett), some believe the tune alludes to the singer-songwriter’s rumored feud with Swift.
Rodrigo whispered, “How do I answer this?,” when the Guardian asked her about that theory.
“I mean, I never want to say who any of my songs are about,” she said. “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.”
With a nervous laugh (the Guardian notes that Rodrigo “often laughs nervously”), the “Sour” artist added, “I was very surprised when people thought that.”
Why does a contingent of fans think that Rodrigo and Swift aren’t on good terms? It depends whom you ask.
Some simply find it suspicious that the artists haven’t publicly interacted in a while. When her juggernaut of a debut single, “Drivers License,” came out in 2021, Rodrigo was vocal about her love for Swift, and her longtime idol was quick to celebrate Rodrigo’s success. The pair made their budding friendship Instagram official after the 2021 Brit Awards, where they met and took a silly photo together.
In recent months, however, Rodrigo and Swift haven’t mingled at all — at least not in the public eye. When asked recently by the New York Times if she had gotten a chance to see Swift on her sold-out Eras tour, Rodrigo said she hadn’t yet and added that she had been busy.
“I’m going to Europe this week,” she said.
Others believe that Rodrigo and Swift’s alleged falling-out stems from a controversy over the writing credits on Rodrigo’s hit song “Deja Vu.” According to the Guardian, Rodrigo retroactively credited Swift on “Deja Vu” and gave the “Lavender Haze” singer 50% of the royalties from the track after she was accused of modeling its bridge too closely on Swift’s “Cruel Summer.” (Both musicians shout some of the lyrics in their respective bridges.)
Rodrigo also belatedly credited Paramore on the popular track “Good 4 U” after the punk-pop anthem was compared to the band’s 2007 hit “Misery Business.”
“I was so green as to how the music industry worked, the litigious side,” Rodrigo told the Guardian when asked if those experiences informed how she approached her second album.
“I feel like now I know so much more about the industry and I just feel … better equipped in that regard. It wasn’t something I thought about too much.”
Several people have also raised their eyebrows at the fact that Swift invited Sabrina Carpenter to open for her during some of her Eras tour shows. Carpenter is widely believed to be the older woman Bassett supposedly left Rodrigo for — the alleged betrayal at the heart of “Drivers License.”
For the record, all of this is pure speculation. Is it entirely possible that Swift and Rodrigo simply haven’t had the time to reconnect while touring the globe and preparing to release a new record, respectively? Yes. Yes it is.
It’s also worth noting that several of the lyrics from “Vampire” seem to refer specifically to a former lover Rodrigo sarcastically deems a “cool guy.” (“You said it was true love / But wouldn’t that be hard?” she sings on the track. “You can’t love anyone / ‘cause that would mean you had a heart.”)
But we digress.
Rodrigo’s latest album, “Guts,” arrives Friday.