There is not much I believe in these days, but I do believe in Taylor Swift. After her surprise album announcement for Midnights at the VMAs, I have been pacing in wait for more Easter eggs and information. According to Taylor’s Instagram: “Midnights, the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life, will be out October 21. Meet me at midnight.” For the record, Ms. Swift, I would meet you at 2 a.m. behind an abandoned diner to hide a body, so this isn’t even difficult for me. Indulge me for a moment while I take you through my theories for Taylor Swift’s 10th album, Midnights, including potential clues and Easter eggs.
Before diving in, here’s what we know for sure:
- Blondie’s 10th (!!!!) album, Midnights, is dropping at midnight EST on October 21. We love a moody, fall vibe!
- Lana Del Rey is the only confirmed featured artist. She will be on “Snow on the Beach”
- Jack Antonoff collaborated on the production, so we know this is going to be a tearjerker and make us all forgive our moms and hate our dads!
- The track names have already been updated in Spotify pre-add and iTunes pre-order.
- The target exclusive will have a bonus track and include two remixes.
And credit where credit is due: my fellow Swifties, I see you, I love you, I respect you—and most of all, I sincerely fear you.
We will get a short film/music video for each track on the album
Taylor’s caption to the last Midnight Mayhem video read “Season finale” as opposed to “series finale.” Plus, we all know our girlie loves playing with time, as is clear in her CD clock (available for purchase on her website, lol. It’s so OTT, I love it). Given that we have approximately 13 more days until the album drop and there are 13 listed, it’s obvious we are on a time schedule. The question is, of course, what exactly will we be getting?
This album is going to be the seedy side of the Lover album and give us more insight into Taylor’s six-year relationship with Joe Alwyn.
Obviously, color has been a favorite theme of Taylor’s for years now. Specifically, I’m thinking of when I burst into tears when recognizing her incredible growth as an artist and human from recording Red straight to “Daylight,” where she sings “I once believe love would be (burning red)/but it’s golden/like daylight’. In fact, the Lover album was apparently almost named Daylight.
Given this, it makes sense that this album is going to be the midnights and strife to Lover’s more daydreamy, pastel overtones. If Daylights is golden, Midnights is deep navy blue, dive bars, and outsmarting the paparazzi, etc. Interestingly, two tracks on the album have color names, such as “Maroon” and “Lavender Haze”. Note: T-Swift was careful to explain the true meaning behind the song’s namesake. In an Instagram video explaining the track, she said: “I happened upon the phrase ‘Lavender Haze’ when I was watching Mad Men and I looked it up because it sounded cool and it turns out it was a phrase in the 50s where they would just describe being in love. If you were in the lavender haze, then that meant that you were in that all-encompassing love glow.” She continued, “I thought that was really beautiful. I guess theoretically when you’re in the lavender haze, you’ll do anything to stay there and not let people bring you down off of that cloud. I think a lot of people have to deal with this now, not just like ‘public figures,’ because we live in the era of social media and if the world finds out that you’re in love with somebody, they’re going to weigh in on it. My relationship for six years, we’ve had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it. So this song is sort of about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff.”
What ALSO gives me pause is the bejeweled, rainbow bracelet (each of the 12 gems represents an album, because of course it does) now available on her website for purchase. The colors are darker jewel tones, which fit the moodiness of the coming album, BUT. I don’t know—the fact that it’s a bracelet and not a ring or necklace feels important somehow.
The 3-album cycle: a nod to the previous two albums
One pattern that Swifties have noticed is that Taylor’s albums seem to have a theme/progression that resets every 3rd album. The first album in a ‘set’ is very genre-based, basically guaranteed to win Album of the Year (as seen with Fearless, 1989, and Folklore). The second album in the set seems a little more personal (think Speak Now, Reputation and evermore). The track listings are a little more creative, and we see more experimentation in featured artists, how the songs are laid out, etc. Now, the THIRD album in each cycle is where things get really chaotic (Red and Lover). Red is KNOWN for being T-Swift’s only breakup album, and Lover is basically the antithesis. I think Midnights will follow this cycle in that it will be a response to its predecessors in the cycle.
4. “Anti-Hero” and “Vigilante Shit” will be released as the singles
Full disclosure: these songs just feel like the right vibes for a single, right? BUT ALSO. When Taylor was announcing the tracks during Midnight Mayhem, she held the phone on the opposite side of her face for those tracks!!!! Swifties have also noticed that Our Lord, Taylor Swift, also held the phone ✨upside down✨ when announcing “You’re on Your Own, Kid” and “Bejeweled”. So, those are probably going to be the remixes (for the Target exclusive). There have also been murmurs that these phone cameos might have to do with producers/A side vs. B sides of the vinyl, but at this point, there isn’t enough to really go off the rails yet with theories.
The lost Taylor Swift album is REAL and WILL be referenced
Okay, so up until 2014, Taylor was known to be on a two-year cycle for releasing albums. This had fans and gen pop alike expecting a 2016 banger. However, due to ~reasons~, T-Swift ended up going into hiding and eventually giving us Reputation in 2017. Generally accepted lore states that the ‘lost’ 2016 album was actually a rock album, named karma. There are three big clues that speak to this:
- Taylor’s 1989 World Tour rock version of “We Are Never Getting Back Together” was so well-produced and done, I was and still am deeply shook. Video here. This was (and is!) so unlike the more upbeat pop vibes of 1989—and the Swifties LOVED it. I think this is evidence that she was experimenting more with genre and sound.
- In her ’73 Questions’ interview with Vogue, Tee SPECIFICALLY STATED “karma is real” with a Cheshire-cat smile. You guys. I cannot make this up.
- In “The Man” music video, there is a long shot of a wall that has all of Swift’s album names, including a “MISSING” sign, as well as the word “karma” graffitied next to it.
Bejeweled will reference the “All Too Well” era
Okay, hear me out. In Taylor’s Midnight Mayhem videos, she’s wearing a brown, argyle sweater that looks identical to the one seen on Sadie Sink in the “All Too Well” short film (you can see it at 1:29 here). The lyrics being sung at the time are also “autumn leaves falling like pieces into place”—which makes me wonder just how far and wide this puzzle spans. Why would Taylor wear this sweater if not in some reference to previous albums or some other easter egg? One thing is for sure. Taylor Swift takes performance art to a whole new level and will continue to absolutely ruin my sleep schedule with every single one of her anticipated releases. Stay tuned.
Midnights by Taylor Swift is out on October 21. Buy it on Amazon
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