Swifties, it might be time to consider briefly breaking up with your significant other; a new album is dropping this Friday. Pop superstar Taylor Swift has returned to the studio in preparation for Midnights, her 10th studio album. Following the release of 2020’s folklore and evermore, Swift took time off to re-record Fearless and Red — two of the albums currently owned by Big Machine Records. But just in time for a fresh bout of seasonal depression, she’s back with another 13 tracks that are sure to devastate you.
As the reigning queen of announcing albums a few weeks before they’re set to be released, she shared the news with fans while receiving the highest honor at this year’s MTV VMAs — Video of the Year. Swift teased that the record would be a collection of stories she’d written in the middle of the night that explored a “journey through terror and sweet dreams.”
Read more: 10 best Taylor Swift scene covers
Although Swift is known to be cryptic and elusive when dropping hints in social media posts and TikToks, her rabid fanbase was quick when it came to hosting round tables on theories and conspiracies, including a potential tour. But until we get confirmation from Hollywood’s favorite cat lady, here’s everything we know about her 10th studio album Midnights.
It’s inspired by “self-loathing” and “fantasizing about revenge”
After dropping hints on social media throughout October, Swift shared a series of videos on the Spotify presave page that revealed more details about the album. In one of the first videos, she explained some of the emotional inspiration behind the project. “The first thing that kept me up at night that helped inspire the Midnights album is …” Swift coyly shares into the camera. “Self-loathing.” In the following video, she says, “The second thing that kept me up at night: fantasizing about revenge.”
The partnership with Spotify ahead of the album drop also resulted in a handful of digital billboards in London and New York City, revealing snippets of lyrics from the new album. A billboard in Times Square read, “I should not be left to my own devices” Oct. 17, and one in London read “I polish up real nice.” Many fans have taken these hints as a suggestive callback to Reputation.
She’s been dropping hints to fans on TikTok
Swift took TikTok by storm when she finally joined back in August 2021, but the videos of her cats quickly turned into puzzling riddles and cryptic Easter eggs. These include partnering directly with the video app, which posted a video of clocks reading 11:59 p.m., along with another caption directing people to the singer’s account.
Swift also used the popular platform to announce each track during an elaborate, vintage sketch where she pulled from a bingo-ball cage to randomize which song names would be announced. On Oct. 7, she made the decision to “mayhem till the morning,” which meant announcing a track every hour. It didn’t take long for fans to piece together the setlist:
1. “Lavender Haze”
4. “Snow on the Beach” (feat. Lana Del Rey)
5. “You’re on Your Own, Kid”
6. “Midnight Rain”
7. “Question … ?”
8. “Vigilante Shit”
12. “Sweet Nothing”
There’s a Lana Del Rey feature
As if the Tumblr gods had smiled down on us, Lana Del Rey will officially have a feature on Midnights. This news would have undoubtedly ended the world back in the mid-2010s, which is why the dynamic duo had to wait this long to satiate the people. The bombshell singer will appear on the fourth track, “Snow on the Beach,” and Swift might even be more excited about it than we are. In one of her recent videos, she gushed that [Rey] is “one of the best musical artists ever. The fact that I get to exist at the same time as her is an honor and a privilege.”
She also shared that the track would be about requited love, and “falling in love with someone at the same time as they’re falling in love with you,” describing it as a “cataclysmic, fated moment.”
There’s controversy around “Lavender Haze”
When Swift announced the opening track, “Lavender Haze,” Twitter nearly exploded — or at the very least, the Gaylors did. The small subsection of Swifties who believe that Swift is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, despite the singer never confirming the rumor, saw the track as a wink toward their movement because lavender has historically been referred to as a queer color. Unfortunately, this win wouldn’t last long after Swift made a statement clarifying the intentions behind the song.
She shared that the inspiration for the phrase came from an episode of Mad Men, where they use it to describe being in love. She shared, “We live in the era of social media, and if the world finds out that you’re in love with somebody, they’re gonna weigh in on it. Like my relationship for six years, we’ve had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it, and so this song is about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff.” But referring to the rumors surrounding her own sexuality as “weird rumors” set off an unexpectedly violent reaction on Twitter and Reddit — r/ GaylorSwift even went private so members could vent and share think pieces on the announcement.
Swift’s teaming up with Jack Antonoff, again
At this point, it might not even seem like news that Swift and Jack Antonoff have teamed up again to create this new album, but that doesn’t mean we can’t rejoice. There’s something about the Swift-Antonoff team-up that seems to always make magic, and presumably, this album will be no exception. Antonoff has produced several of her other albums, including 1989, Lover, evermore and folklore, which has created a tight bond between the two. He’s currently credited on 11 out of 13 tracks on Midnights, excluding “Sweet Nothing” and “Vigilante Shit.”
Zoë Kravitz is confirmed as a writer
Antonoff appearing on another Swift album might not seem like a surprise, but Zoë Kravitz having a writing credit might. Kravitz, who starred in The Batman earlier this year, is also the vocalist in Lolawolf. The R&B electro-pop group last released new music in 2020 with their second album, Tenderness. The duo reached relative success, opening for Miley Cyrus, Lily Allen and Azealia Banks, but didn’t produce enough music to overshadow Kravitz’s acting career.
Swift and Kravitz are longtime friends, which helps explain the credit on “Lavender Haze.” Kravitz is also working with Antonoff on a new album, which could mean new Lolawolf in the upcoming year.
Each track tells the story of a “sleepless night”
Although Swift has used a lot of poetic language when describing the vibe of this upcoming album, she went on to explain that each song tells the story of 13 different sleepless nights she’s experienced. While this description doesn’t necessarily imply that each track will be another harrowing, spiral-inducing account of unrequited love, she does go on to say it’ll confront “the floors we pace and the demons we face.”
Despite this ominous depiction, Swift’s explanation around “Lavender Haze” and “Snow on the Beach” look to the lighter side of anxiety in relationships, pinpointing the overwhelming power of love.
“Anti-Hero” is one of her favorite songs she’s ever written
Like asking your mom who they claim to be their favorite child, many musicians aren’t able to pinpoint their favorite songs, but that’s not the case with Swift’s new track “Anti-Hero.” She shared the meaning of the song on Instagram, which delves into the insecurities that people might not realize behind the scenes. She goes into detail about her issues with disordered eating and the feeling of grief and loss, referring to the track as a “guided tour” through those complex emotions.
In the “midnight mayhem” video, she refers to the track as “one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written.” Swift is no stranger to being vulnerable in her music, but this will be one of the few times that she tackles intrapersonal issues.
There’s no co-writer on two of the tracks
In 2022, we know that there’s absolutely nothing wrong when it comes to collaborating on music. But there’s still something special and intimate when realizing that a song came solely from one person. There are two tracks on Midnight where Swift is the sole writer, “Sweet Nothing” and “Vigilante Shit.” On an album that seems so personal, it’s probably safe to assume these tracks will hit a special chord with listeners.
Obviously, these aren’t the first songs that the pop superstar has written on her own, which include “my tears ricochet” “Holy Ground,” “Back to December” and “Dear John.”