Arts & Culture

A Midnights Mayhem Investigation

By Claire Z. ’26

Taylor Alison Swift. Singer, songwriter, superstar sensation, basically the entire music industry. After rocking the world with 2 surprise sister albums, Folklore and Evermore, in 2020, ending the short-lived, but iconic, Lover era, Taylor did not rest. She went on to re-record two albums, Fearless and Red (looking at you, Scooter Braun), and soon, on October 21st, she is releasing a new album called Midnights. Taylor says, “this is a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams. The floors we pace and the demons we face. For all of us who have tossed and turned and decided to keep the lanterns lit and go searching — hoping that just maybe, when the clock strikes twelve, we’ll meet ourselves.” Maybe she was never good at telling jokes, but she is certainly a lyrical genius.

Oh, but that is not all. As you know, Taylor Swift is known for releasing secret messages called Easter Eggs. For example, Taylor Swift announced the re-release of Fearless TV via Instagram and hinted at the release date through strangely capitalized letters. For Red TV, Taylor released a 13-by-13-word search that contained names and words hinting at new vault song titles and collaborations that her album would contain. In the name of being honest? Well, that’s just casually cruel. 

Taylor Swift announced the Midnights release date at the VMAs, saying, “I thought it might be a fun moment to tell you that my brand new album comes out October 21.” Taylor has recently been using her TikTok platform to release names of her new album’s tracks in a series she is calling Midnights Mayhem (With Me). She uses a cage with thirteen ping pong balls, each with a number that will determine the information she announces. Here’s a summary of hints we know so far. I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination:

September 21st: In the first episode, fate decides to release Track 13 from the cage. Track 13 is called “Mastermind.” Other than the fact that Taylor is the OG mastermind, fans are wondering if this is about reclaiming the albums and songs that were stolen from her. We know that thirteen is the most important number in Taylor’s life, so “Mastermind” will be undoubtedly special. 

September 23rd: Episode two featured Meredith, one of her cats, and revealed Track 8: Vigilante Sh*t. Because of the “guest appearance,” many wonder if there will be a collaboration with another artist on this track. Taylor also specifically holds the phone upside down when revealing the track name, which definitely signifies something. You might be thinking this is crazy and unrelated, but with Taylor, you never know.

September 26th: The third episode of Midnights Mayhem revealed the name of Track 7. Track 7 is called Question…? Could Track 7 be a response to questions she has asked in previous songs? My personal favorite example is in “The Archer” when Taylor questions, “Who could ever leave me, darling? And who could stay?” Whatever it is, Track 7 could answer all our inquiries. 

September 28th: On Taylor and her fiancé Joe’s sixth anniversary, Track 6, “Midnight Rain, was revealed. By now, midnight and rain are Taylor Swift trademarks, so something special has to be awaiting us. 

September 30th: The 5th episode reveals “Maroon” as the name of Track 2, which could very well be a distant cousin of “Red.” Taylor is also wearing a red ring in the TikTok. However, the definition of maroon (the verb) is “to leave in isolation.” “Maroon” may not necessarily be referring to the color, but rather a feeling, and my gut tells me this song could relate to “Evermore.”

October 2nd: Track 3 is revealed in episode 6 of “Midnights Mayhem, and it is called “Anti-Hero.” Taylor states that this track contains a preview into her personal insecurities and issues, so “Anti-Hero” could revolve around the theme of heroes and villains that is shown throughout her discography. Many would think of Reputation, picturing Taylor sitting there, plotting her revenge, but Folklore especially embraces these heroine themes in songs such “Hoax” and “My Tears Ricochet.” 

October 4th: Track 9 is called “Bejeweled.” Many speculate that this track is from her Lover era because of the arrow heart earrings she was wearing, but this may not be the case. Karlie Kloss, a close friend of Taylor’s during Taylor’s 1989 era, posted a picture on Instagram on October 4th, with the caption, “wish you were here” and the emoji of the pink heart with an arrow going through it. My theory is that “Bejeweled” is a sleepless night from the 1989 era, for the song “I Wish You Would” contains the lyrics, “I wish you were right here.” Taylor definitely was hinting at something that happened in the past. Well, at least I think she did it, but I just can’t prove it…

October 9th: Episode 8 of Midnights Mayhem reveals that Track 11 is called “Karma,” and I cannot tell you guys how excited I am. The theme of revenge is a huge part of Taylor’s life, for all she thinks about is karma, which is why I think that this is going to be a lead single, with a music video! Is this a new era of Reputation? Taylor is definitely still the actress starring in Kanye West’s bad dreams.

Surprise! Taylor just shocked us with 5 more tracks on the morning of October 7th, finishing the album reveal. Track 1 is called “Lavender Haze. This term, referring to being in love, is used 22 minutes into season two, episode twelve of the show Mad Men, which reminds me of Taylor’s song “Mad Woman.” Is there correlation there? Or maybe recognition of Kaylor has been confirmed…

Track 5, which is known to be the most iconic track number, including songs like “All Too Well” and “Dear John,” is called “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” This song could be a response to her “Never Grow Up,” or even parallel to Harry Styles’s song “Matilda.” All I know is that there are going to be a lot of ricocheting tears. 

Track 10 was revealed an hour later and is called “Labyrinth.” Taylor actually hinted at “Labyrinth” weeks ago, for there is a Labyrinth on the cover of the jade green Midnights vinyl variant. We’re all just in Taylor’s game and she’s changing the rules every day. 

Track 12 is called “Sweet Nothing.” I have thoroughly done my research and I’m wondering why no one has said anything about how Calvin Harris has a song also titled, “Sweet Nothing” that was released in 2017, a year after Taylor and Calvin broke up. Now, Taylor doesn’t really acknowledge Calvin anymore; she even wrote a song about him that was titled “I Forgot that You Existed.” There is definitely something we don’t know… 

The season finale of Midnights Mayhem revealed Track 4, called “Snow on the Beach” featuring Lana del Rey. I’m not joking when I say I threw my phone across the room. 

As you can tell, I’m having a field day with these conspiracy theories. I’m dying for this album to come out. Is it killing you like it’s killing me? Well, only time, wondrous time, will tell. I’m so excited for October 21, and you should be too. Keep on the lookout for Easter Eggs and hints, for some of the craziest theories might just fit Taylor’s poems like a perfect rhyme…

Categories: Arts & Culture

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