Taylor Swift Announcement Provides Another 'Da Vinci Code' For Fans

They're going to crack it one day

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 28: Taylor Swift attends the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential C...
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Agatha Swiftie

Last night at the VMAs, Taylor Swift announced that Midnights, her tenth album, is on the way. You’d think that’s pretty normal, right? She won a big televised award and used it as an opportunity to make a big televised announcement — people have done that before. Well, you’d be wrong, idiot.

This is a new Taylor Swift album we’re talking about, which means that in the last 12 hours approximately 743 theories have sprung up about every single aspect of this album’s content, rollout, and color scheme. What does Kanye West have to do with this? How does this relate to her ongoing project of re-releasing old albums? What does it mean that she’s entering a sans serif era?? Let’s start at the beginning.

While accepting Video of the Year for “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” — which she still insists on calling a short film — Swift told the crowd, “My brand new album comes out October 21st.” Keep that date in mind.

After the show, she released the cover for Midnights alongside a note that explained the concept. Midnights is, in her words, “a collection of music written in the middle of the night… the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life.” That does make it kind of unclear as to whether the songs are going to be about the middle of the night or if that’s just when they were written, but I’m not an editor, or an Oscar-eligible director.

On to the fun stuff: theories.

Kanye and Kim

13 is Swift’s favorite number, so much so that she used to write it on her hand in Sharpie at her concerts even though it looked corny. In 2009, Swift was interrupted by Kanye West while accepting the award for Best Female Video. You remember that, “I’ma let you finish,” etc. Cut to the present day, 13 years later, she announced at the same awards show that her new 13-track album would be released on October 21st which is… Kim Kardashian’s birthday. The theory here is, I gather, that Swift is still not over that entire debacle, and is twisting the knife one more time.

The Dress

Swift was wearing a sparkly Oscar de la Renta dress last night, which reminded a lot of stans of her taking a bath in diamonds in the video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” which premiered at the VMAs in 2017. The song is quite obviously a Kanye West diss track, so this theory is tangentially related to the first one. Some people thought it meant that she would be announcing Reputation (Taylor’s Version), while others see it as part of the throughline from her 2009 VMAs dress to now. I have to say, being an all-out Swiftie does seem exhausting.

Whatever This TikTok Means (Colors?)

Here is where we get to QAnon-level theorizing. TikTok user @amystateofgrace posited that the colors on the clock on Swift’s website actually mean that this is going to be a “vaulted album,” meaning that all of the songs will be from Swift’s famous “vault” of unreleased music. The theory being that every song is going to be one from the cutting room floor of a different album, as represented by the different colored numbers. That would be kind of lazy from notorious workhorse Ms. Swift, but one commenter did call this idea “genius,” so who’s to say?


If we start talking about Karma we’ll be here all day, but here is the short version. According to fans, Karma is an unreleased album that was supposed to usher her into her rocker era (hence her bleached hair at Coachella in 2016). After the fallout from Kim Kardashian recording a phone call where it seemed as though Swift approved the infamous Kanye West line she claimed to be offended by (“I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that bitch famous”), the album was scrapped and she disappeared for a year. Instead we got Reputation, but fans have been speculating for years that one day she would release Karma. If you fall down a deep enough rabbithole about this, you too will start to believe that Karma exists, but I am willing to bet a lot of money that it is not this album.

Harry Styles

This is less of a theory and more of a funny coincidence, but Midnights is being released the same day as My Policeman, the other Harry Styles movie vying for attention this fall. Nothing says “winning a decade-old breakup” like dropping your much anticipated new album the same day your ex stars as a gay cop. This is payback for those pictures of her looking sad and alone on a boat after he dumped her in the British Virgin Islands.

My Personal Theory

Drumroll please… I think she just wrote a new album. It’s cute that it has a “theme” and her VMAs dress was definitely a nod to something, but somewhere along the way Swifties have decided that everything she does is a Da Vinci Code level cipher that needs to be decoded. I promise she does not want to confound you all, she just wants you to buy a lilac Midnights-branded grandfather clock.