Is Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Vampire’ Really About Taylor Swift? Punkee Investigates.

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There’s nothing I love more than diving into a Ph.D.-level investigation of the Easter Eggs Taylor Swift scatters across her songs. Discovering their true meaning, figuring out who she’s trying to hurl shade at and deciphering what relationship she’s referring to brings me SUCH JOY. I get to go full Harriet The Spy with zero real-world ramifications. 

But this investigation holds Taylor not as the puppeteer, pulling the strings and directing the chaos, but instead places her as the subject. 

You see, Olivia Rodrigo (who is a big Swiftie herself) has released a new song called ‘Vampire’ and absolutely everyone thinks it is about Taylor.

Look, on first listen I definitely thought this song was about a love interest – perhaps of a famous variety – and this was Olivia’s ‘fuck you’ to them after a breakup. But that’s my default setting for almost all pop music. 

But according to *the internet* there’s a key set of lyrics that have been tied to Taylor:

Bloodsucker, famefucker

Bleedin’ me dry, like a goddamn vampire

If I was going to be tied to any Olivia Rodrigo lyrics, I would definitely prefer anything over these two lines.

The reason for the Taylor Swift link is mainly due to the rather creative phrase of “famefucker”. Now, if this was a song about an ex then it could be tied to them leaching off Olivia’s fame, but as the song is sort of hinting that the ‘Vampire’ is a bigger deal than Olivia, perhaps someone more famous – and who, pray tell, is more famous than Taylor Swift? (No one. The answer is no one.)


Taylor Swift in the thick of her Eras tour. Image credit: @taylorswift Instagram.

In July, Olivia revealed on The Julia Show that she was considering removing the “famefucker” lyric from ‘Vampire’ after pushback from her mates. “Some people said, ‘It kind of isolates you from people, you can’t really say things like that in song, it’s not relatable,’ yada, yada, yada.”

She went on to explain: “I think the song isn’t about fame fucking – I think it’s more about someone being manipulative and sucking you dry, using you for all you’re worth. I think that’s a universal theme, and I also think fame is more easily accessible now than it has ever been.”

Okay, so she’s trying to minimise the fame aspect there a smidge. But then The Guardian just straight up asked her if the song was about Taylor Swift (thank you for your commitment to the journalism we need there, guys) and Olivia said she was “surprised” that people were tying those lyrics to Taylor Swift. 

Rodrigo whispered, “How do I answer this?” before saying: “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.”

Now I’m not a famous person with an entire PR team behind me, but even I know that a comment like that does the opposite of shutting anything down. I mean, it’s not a categorical “no it’s not about Taylor”, is it? Also, as a little industry insight, celebs absolutely reserve the right to request ‘no-go’ topics with journos – so if she wanted to dodge the convo entirely she could have done so.

It would also be rude of me not to mention the lightly sizzling beef between these two singers. 

While Olivia has credited Taylor Swift as one of her musical inspirations and even sampled a score from Taylor’s song ‘New Year’s Day’ on her track ‘1 step forward, 2 steps back’, there have been a few hiccups in their dynamic that I need to unpack.

Firstly, when Taylor dropped her album Red (Taylor’s Version) one of the ‘From the Vault’ songs was a track called ‘Nothing New’ where Taylor shared her fears of being somewhat replaced in the music industry by a younger, newer, shiner singer. 

“I know someday I’m gonna meet her, it’s a fever dream / The kind of radiance you only have at 17 / She’ll know the way, and then she’ll say she got the map from me / I’ll say I’m happy for her, then I’ll cry myself to sleep,” she sings.

While she had this underlying fear, Taylor was overwhelmingly supportive of Olivia when she broke out onto the music scene. They would leave comments on each other’s socials and Taylor even sent Olivia a ring that she wore when she was writing Red. Olivia gushed about being in the top three of the charts with two of Taylor’s tracks:

“Next to Taylor on the US iTunes chart. I’m in a puddle of tears,” Olivia wrote before Taylor commented: “I say that’s my baby and I’m proud.” 


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A post shared by Olivia Rodrigo (@oliviarodrigo)

This happy dynamic continued for a while until Olivia’s full Sour album dropped. It was met with rave reviews and instantly went to number one. While Taylor was listed as a credit on one of the songs – something Olivia said she felt extremely “lucky” to have had approved – suddenly there were a lot of questions about further songs and other artists who should have been credited too.

In July 2021, fans noticed that Taylor had been retroactively credited on Olivia’s single ‘Deja Vu’ too. Taylor and her collaborators (Jack Antonoff and St. Vincent) were added alongside Olivia and songwriter-producer Dan Nigro due to an apparent interpolation of Taylor’s song ‘Cruel Summer’. I can say as someone who has listened to both of these tracks A LOT, I truly can’t hear the similarities. 

And then in September of the same year, Taylor’s colleague Hayley Williams (from Paramore, duh) and her bandmate Josh Farro were retroactively given songwriting credits on another of Olivia’s hit singles, ‘Good 4 U’, with the claim being that it was too similar to Paramore’s 2007 song ‘Misery Business’.

Billboard later reported that Olivia had given up a whopping 50% of the royalties on each of the songs as a result of all of these retroactive credits. 


Olivia Rodrigo after the Met Gala in 2023. Image credit: @oliviarodrigo Instagram.

While the crediting debacle was kept fairly private – with neither Olivia nor Taylor publicly commenting on the drama – the shift in their dynamic was clear as day. No more cute social media comments, no more fangirling, nothing.

Whenever there’s a whiff of beef between celebrities, every single move made afterwards is deeply analysed and assumed to be some sort of subtle dig at their famous opposition. That’s exactly what happened when Olivia had an interview with Alanis Morissette for Rolling Stone. In it Alanis looked back at her early career and said: “There was a lot of bullying and a lot of jealousy and a lot of people whom I’d adored my whole life being mean girls.” 

Olivia replied with one pointed word: “Same!” 

Obviously, everyone then thought she was referring to Taylor Swift.


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A post shared by Olivia Rodrigo (@oliviarodrigo)

This year, Taylor Swift was accused of whacking another nail into the coffin when she announced she would be bringing Olivia’s number #1 enemy on tour across Australia, Sabrina Carpenter. Olivia’s ex-boyfriend (Adam Faze) allegedly cheated on her with Sabrina Carpenter, despite the fact all three of them were working for the Disney channel at the time – an employer that famously dislikes a scandal amongst their staff. To add to that beefcake, there are a lot of alleged ‘I’m not a fan of Sabrina’ references in Olivia’s music.

Taylor refers to Sabrina as a “sweet angel princess”, and while that may have just been a compliment to Sabrina and have absolutely sod all to do with Olivia, Sour fans are sure it was another stab.

Now let’s yionk it back to ‘Vampire’, shall we? It’s the first song Olivia has released since the whole Swift saga, and so people think it’s a response to the drama – particularly when these lyrics are in the mix.

In the opening lines, Olivia accuses the subject of her song of building a “castle” out of people that they “pretend to care about,” which could easily be tied to the royalties that Taylor no doubt banked after being added as a credit to her songs.

“I used to think I was smart / But you made me look so naive / The way you sold me for parts / As you sunk your teeth into me,” Olivia then sings. The “being sold for parts” segment is a potential nod to Taylor securing herself partial credit for Olivia’s work. 

“Went for me and not her / Cause girls your age know better” is then seen as a reference to her being an easier target because she was so green in the music industry at the time – making her debut album and attending her first round of award shows.

Then she goes back to referring to the ‘Vampire’ as a true love of hers, which brings me back to questioning whether it’s more of a romantic love sentiment. But, while Olivia hasn’t ever declared who the song is about, a source close to her told People in a fairly frank manner: “The song isn’t about Adam Faze.” 


Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts album cover. Image credit: @oliviarodrigo Instagram.

So is this all the evidence I need to reach the verdict that ‘Vampire’ is indeed about Taylor Swift? As a Swiftie, it hurts to say this, but I think… yes. Taylor is the “famefucker” that Olivia is singing about. 

BUT I will not share my full sentencing for this crime until I listen to the whole of Olivia’s new album Guts, just to be sure. 


Image credit: @oliviarodrigo Instagram, @taylorswift Instagram + Punkee.