You've probably heard the news that Taylor Swift has released a brand new single and video — a collaboration with Panic! At The Disco's Brendon Urie — called "Me."
The release marks the end of eight days of speculation about Taylor's new music and the beginning of the TS7 era.
However, this is Taylor Swift, and by now we know that everything she does is painstakingly planned and executed down to the final letter. And it turns out that she's been dropping clues about the new song for months.
1. Taylor made her return to the public eye and kicked off the new era with two Elle magazine covershoots back in February. She announced the news with this post on Instagram. And what was the caption?
You guessed it. Taylor began this era by literally telling us the name of the lead single from TS7, and no one realised.
2. Alongside the photoshoot, Taylor also wrote a personal essay for Elle in which she detailed some of the songs that mean the most to her. And one of the first to be mentioned was "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" by Panic! At The Disco. What we didn't know then was that the reference was a nod to the fact she'd be collaborating with Brendon Urie on "Me"
3. It's also worth noting that Taylor mentioned Dixie Chicks in the preceding paragraph.
And a photo of the band also appears in the "Me" video, which I'm taking as a hint that a collaboration between them might feature on TS7.
4. Back on April 13, Taylor began a countdown to the release of "Me" Each day, she posted what we now know were images from parts of the video.
Many of the images, ranging from glittery hearts and pink fabric, slotted seamlessly into the new aesthetic of Taylor's Instagram account.
However, on April 20, Taylor shared this seemingly random image of some chickens wearing sunglasses, and it's safe to say that fans were extremely confused as to what it meant.
Many took the image as a reference to "cool chicks," but couldn't work out the meaning. Little did we know that in our analysing of the image we missed the fact that "cool chicks" would be an actual lyric from "Me."
5. Taylor has also shared multiple references to butterflies on Instagram over the past couple of months — the most direct being this caption about migration season.
Exactly a month after that post, and one day after Taylor began her countdown, a gigantic butterfly mural was spotted being painted on a wall in Nashville. Some people speculated that it had something to do with TS7, but no one realised that the painting contained a bunch of clues directly related to the new song and video.
And, keeping with the butterfly theme, eagle-eyed fans have also noticed that the video for "Me" appears to take place in a giant chrysalis.
6. However, some people think Taylor was dropping hints about the new song all the way back in the Reputation era.
A few weeks ago, a theory began circulating that TS7 was was actually intended to be released after 1989.
The theory goes on to suggest that TS7 was recorded and ready to be released, but then all the drama with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West went down, shattering Taylor's ~reputation~ and forcing her to create a record which referenced and dealt with that controversy instead — and thus, Reputation was born.
This was bolstered by the fact that, in the famous lineup scene from the "LWYMMD" video, the "real" Taylor stands behind all the former iterations of herself on a jet plane whose tail reads: "TS6."
7. Well, very interestingly, one of the tracks on Reputation, "End Game," contains this lyric.
And fans have noticed that this is exactly what came to pass — Reputation literally ended up preceding "Me."
8. Oh, and the word "me" features on every single track from Reputation.
9. And, finally, four hours before "Me" was released, and while fans were scrabbling for any last-minute clues, Taylor shared this photo on Instagram with the name of the song as the caption.
You can watch the video for "Me" here.
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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