In an Instagram Live yesterday, Taylor Swift finally revealed some very important details about her upcoming seventh album. After months of speculation, she’s confirmed that it’s called Lover, features 18 tracks, and will be released on Aug. 23.
Just a few hours after the livestream, Taylor released a brand-new song from the album — an absolute banger called “You Need to Calm Down”, which calls out online toxicity, sexism, and anti-gay sentiment.
Now, if you’ve been following this album rollout so far, you’ll be aware that Taylor has sent her fans on a metaphorical scavenger hunt, leaving hints and Easter eggs about the new release in everything from her clothing to TV appearances, live performances, and even the video for the album’s lead single, “Me”.
And now that we have finally have some details about the album as well as a brand-new song to explore, some of the hints Taylor has been dropping are now becoming clear.
1. OK, first up, the title of the album was featured very prominently in the video for “Me”. In the scene where Brendon Urie gives Taylor her new cat, Benjamin Button, the word “Lover” can be seen behind her in neon lights.
2. The name of the album also appeared twice in the lyrics of “Me”.
3. And, in the lyric video for “Me”, Taylor repeatedly handwrote the word “Lover” in the exact same font as it appears on the album cover.
4. Interestingly, the word “lover” has also appeared numerous times in Taylor’s lyrics over the years.
5. The title of her new single “You Need to Calm Down” was also revealed in the music video for “Me”. During the scene at the start where Brendon and Taylor argue in French, he says those exact words to her, which are then translated in onscreen.
6. We also have an answer as to why Taylor and Brendon were speaking French in this scene too. French is, of course, the ~language of love~, which ties in very well with an album called Lover.
7. In fact, Taylor confirmed in yesterday’s livestream that Lover has a “very romantic tone”.
And there’s a literal nod to viewing experiences “with a romantic gaze” in the album’s cover art, where Taylor appears with a pink heart surrounding her eye.
8. The video for “Me” opened with a snake slithering along the ground. At the time, we all just assumed the snake was a reference to Taylor’s fallout with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
But it turns out the snake was a direct reference to this lyric from “You Need to Calm Down”.
9. And, after slithering 13 times, that same snake then exploded into a swarm of butterflies. It seems that this moment in the “Me” video foreshadowed the cover art for “You Need to Calm Down”.
Because the cover art shows Taylor with a sprawling tattoo of a snake and butterflies across her back. And, given that the shot appears to be taken from the video for “You Need to Calm Down”, it remains to be seen whether we’ll get any further insight into the motif.
10. The release of “You Need to Calm Down” also explains this scene from the “Me” video, where Taylor and Brendon were surrounded by a whole load of people wearing marching band uniforms.
This imagery continued into the first live performance of “Me” back in May.
At the time, some fans speculated that the inclusion of a marching band was a nod to Taylor’s “You Belong With Me” video, but now we know that it was a reference to a lyric from “You Need to Calm Down” about an LGBT pride parade.
11. In fact, it seems that Taylor foreshadowed the political nature of “You Need to Calm Down” in a personal essay for Elle, published in March.
12. And she also foreshadowed the fact she’d specifically address LGBT rights during Pride Month back in May, by wearing a rainbow pin on a jacket during a photoshoot with Entertainment Weekly.
13. We got a glimpse of the album’s aesthetic hours before Taylor dropped “Me”, when she posted this photo on Instagram. Little did we know then that the image was taken during the same photoshoot that captured the cover art for Lover.
14. Taylor’s dip-dyed hair has also drawn a lot of attention since this era began back in March. In fact, she’s alternated between blue, pink, and lilac tips in numerous public appearances and performances. Now we know that the hairstyle was a nod to the album artwork too.
15. And, finally, Taylor foreshadowed Lover’s release date and its number of tracks in her Elle essay back in March.
The video for “You Need to Calm Down” drops on Monday, so I’ll see you then for some more decoding!
Ellie Woodward is acting celebrity editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
Contact Ellie Woodward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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