Olivia Rodrigo has been making waves since she broke on to the music scene with her first album SOUR in 2021, with angst-filled songs that resonate with her fans, regardless of whether or not they’re still teenagers. The buzz surrounding the singer/actress has only increased after she dropped the first single off her upcoming sophomore album earlier this summer. It probably doesn’t hurt that rumors have circulated that “vampire” is about Rodrigo’s alleged feud with Taylor Swift, but are the rumblings true? The former Disney star has spoken out.
“Vampire” seems to fall in line with the breakup theme that did so well on Olivia Rodrigo’s previous album — with singles like “drivers license” and “good 4 u” becoming Gen Z anthems — as it appears to reference an older “guy.” However, when she sings about a “bloodsucker, fame fucker, bleedin’ me dry like a goddamn vampire,” many started to think it was a reference to the Midnights artist, following drama over Rodrigo interpolating Taylor Swift’s music. When asked about it by the Guardian, she said:
How do I answer this? I mean, I never want to say who any of my songs are about. 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. [Laughs nervously.] I was very surprised when people thought that.
The Eras Tour headliner, Jack Antonoff and St. Vincent were given songwriting credits on “deja vu” after Olivia Rodrigo’s track used an interpolation of Swift’s “Cruel Summer.” Swift and Antonoff also are credited on “1 step forward, 3 steps back,” for its interpolation of “New Year’s Day” off of Swift’s “reputation” album, causing the singers to become entangled in some behind-the-scenes Grammys drama. Rodrigo reportedly lost millions of dollars in royalties, which I suppose could be interpreted by some as bleeding one dry like a goddamn vampire.
So does Olivia Rodrigo’s apparent surprise about the fan theory mean that “vampire” isn’t actually about Taylor Swift? I’m sure fans have their theories about her non-response response, but it’s also understandable why she wouldn’t want to confirm or deny who any of her lyrics are about (though she gets why people assume to know). As she mentioned, keeping her motivations vague allows listeners to interpret her music in the way that’s most meaningful to them.
Still there are questions surrounding the singers’ friendship following the songwriting credit kerfuffle. Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo haven’t associated with each other publicly since then, and the “good for u” singer apparently didn’t make it out to the Eras Tour. Furthermore, Swift invited Sabrina Carpenter — who was supposedly involved in a love triangle with Rodrigo and her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series co-star Joshua Bassett — to open for her on some of her tour dates.
We may not get clear confirmation about what’s going on, but with Olivia Rodrigo writing so openly about her emotions, there will probably be plenty for fans to theorize about when her second album GUTS is released on September 8. You can also get a deeper look at the artist through her emotional documentary Driving Home 2 U, which can be streamed with a Disney+ subscription.