On Sunday, Taylor Swift dropped the second single from her album Reputation. It's called "...Ready for It?" and frankly, no one was.
And because Taylor Swift loads every song and video with meaning, Swifties immediately produced their magnifying glasses and analysed the fuck out of it.
1. First things first: If you listen carefully, you'll hear the sound of Taylor clearing her throat at the 10-second mark.
It's almost as if she's saying "Hey, listen up" because the Old Taylor is dead and the New Taylor is here to tell her story – which will then unfold in the album.
2. Given that Taylor is a stickler for grammar, fans are pretty damn excited about the use of the ellipsis in the title of the track, specifically because it might represent the three years between albums – a time frame she's never used before.
3. Oh, and then there's the fact that the song opens with three blasts of bass, which could be a sonic representation of the ellipsis.
4. Much has been made of the lines "He can be my jailer / Burton to this Taylor." Of course, it's a reference to the tumultuous relationship of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
Some people have drawn parallels between their relationship and Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams" video.
After all, the video involved a dark-haired Taylor Swift playing an actor shooting a movie while having a passionate but tempestuous relationship with her leading man.
In fact, at the time when "Wildest Dreams" was released, the video's director revealed that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were the inspiration for its content.
Defending the video against accusations that it romanticised African colonialism, Joseph Kahn said:
There are black Africans in the video in a number of shots, but I rarely cut to crew faces outside of the director as the vast majority of screen time is Taylor and Scott. The video is based on classic Hollywood romances like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as well as classic movies like The African Queen, Out of Africa and The English Patient, to name a few.
And there's this other little detail: The "Wildest Dreams" video was shot in Botswana – which also happens to be the place where Burton and Taylor remarried 16 months after their first divorce.
5. Now, this is very interesting given that many people have pointed out the similarities between "...Ready for It?" and "Wildest Dreams", despite their sonic differences.
The lyrics are extremely similar. Just look at the choruses. On the left is "Wildest Dreams," and on the right is "...Ready For It."
And then these lyrics – same again, on the left is "Wildest Dreams," right is "...Ready For It."
Plus the fact that both songs contain the most ~sexual~ lyrics of Taylor's career, with "...Ready for It?" picking up where "Wildest Dreams" left off.
Which has got people wondering if "...Ready for It?" is a continuation of "Wildest Dreams".
So, perhaps this means that the songs are about the same person?
6. But then there's a second, entirely different interpretation, thanks to this fan finding the plot of Boom! – a movie starring Burton and Taylor.
In the movie, Elizabeth Taylor played an "aging, serial-dating millionaire" while Richard Burton played a "younger man who turns up on the island on which she has retired."
And virtually all of these details are present in the lyrics of "...Ready for It?"
7. In fact, the references to ~serial dating~ and the notion of entrapping men are the most interesting in the song.
Because they sound very similar to the lyrics and concept of "Blank Space".
In fact, doesn't Taylor's explanation of "Blank Space" bear a striking resemblance to not only the plot of the Burton/Taylor film but also the lyrics of "...Ready for It?"
Speaking at the time of the song's release, she said:
She [the character] jets around the world collecting men, and she can get any of them, but she's so clingy that they leave and she cries and then she gets another one in her web and she traps them and locks them in her mansion.
Could it be, then, that "...Ready for It?" is actually a continuation in the tale of the character she created in "Blank Space"?
8. Because if so, we have a new theory about the album: that each song on Repuation will address a different part of Taylor's perceived public reputation.
So, if "Look What You Made Me Do" was addressing the ~sneaky, shady, snaky~ Taylor who's all about karma and revenge and "keeping receipts", then perhaps "...Ready for It?" is a comment on her man-eating, serial-dating reputation.
And perhaps this is a "fuck you" to the people who perceive her that way.
9. People also noticed that Taylor actually gave the name of the song away in the caption of the Instagram post used to announce "Look What You Made Me Do."
10. And when she released the teaser for "...Ready for It?" Taylor used this caption.
Which has made people think the next single will be called "A Second Glance".
11. Oh, and then there's this interesting theory that the next single Taylor will drop will be the fourth track of the album – because the order of releases so far identically matches those from 1989.
And if we're still going with the theory that the different Taylors at the end of the "Look What You Made Me Do" video each represent a song on the album, the fourth track is Red-era Taylor.
And there's been a lot of speculation that Red-era Taylor represents the full version of "All Too Well". So that could mean we're about to get it.
November 10 can't come soon enough, tbh.
Joseph Kahn's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this post.