By Kathryn Taleporos | October 10, 2022
Photo Credit: The West News
After sending shock waves through the fan community by announcing her 10th album, “Midnights,” at the VMA Awards, Taylor Swift has started a new game with her fans. Midnights Mayhem with Taylor Swift began Sept. 21. In the first episode, Swift announced the title for track 13 on her album.
Since then, Swift has been randomly dropping episodes of Midnights Mayhem on her Tik Tok account, each time revealing a new song title on her album and sending Swifties everywhere into a frenzy.
“I know that I have a habit of dropping cryptic clues and Easter eggs when giving you information about new music,” Swift said in her first Midnights Mayhem Tik Tok.
Swift was right: she is cryptic about new music, and about every detail of her life. For the re-releases of her two albums, “Red (Taylor’s Version),” and “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” she released new songs from those eras called “From the Vault” songs. In revealing what these songs would be called, she had her fans unscramble the song titles from a post on her Instagram.
The cryptic clues and Easter eggs that Swift puts in every social media post and public appearance have led to a huge amount of fan theories and the immense growth of “Swiftok,” a community of Taylor Swift fans on Tik Tok sharing theories about the famous singer.
While the games may seem fun and innovative, in reality they have led to her life being further scrutinized by the media, and the insane fan theories distract from her music.
As a mega Taylor Swift fan, I quickly fell into Swiftok, and my for you page soon filled up with fan theories about which rerecord was going to be released next or how the tiniest detail in her latest Instagram post somehow meant that there was going to be a new album on a specific date.
The most popular theories currently are that there were two “lost” albums that Swift made but never released. The first was “Karma,” which was supposed to be released after 1989, and next was “Woodvale,” which was supposed to be released instead of “Folklore” and “Evermore.”
The theory behind “Karma” is that Swift was on a two year schedule for releasing albums. In 2014, she released 1989, so it was expected that she was going to release an album in 2016. But in 2016, the “cancel Taylor Swift” movement went viral on Twitter and sent Swift into hiding for a year. All of this led to the release of her sixth album, “Reputation.”
The reason that many fans believe that the album “Karma” exists is mainly because of the 2019 music video “The Man.” In one part of the video, Swift is standing in front of the 13th Street Station, and on the wall are all of her album names graffitied on the wall. In addition to the album names, the word karma is also graffitied on the wall in two spots.
The Karma theory has recently gained traction as Swift just announced that track 11 on Midnights will be called Karma. In addition to that, the Taylor Nation Instagram, the official Taylor Swift fan account, referenced “The Man” music video in an Instagram caption.
“13th street station recognizes Track 11,” was the Taylor Nation caption.
This is a rare victory for fans, as many theories have been consistently proven false. The most popular one was a theory that Swift was going to release 1989 (Taylor’s Version), and Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) on May 13. The only thing that happened on May 13 was a merchandise release. And the Woodvale theory, which is a theory that if the COVID-19 pandemic never occurred, she would have released “Woodvale” instead of her pandemic albums “Folklore” and “Evermore.” This theory has never panned out to anything substantial.
Even with Midnights Mayhem, many fans have been staying up until midnight every night just for the mere possibility that Swift could potentially release a song title. Often, fans are met with no social media presence from Swift.
Taylor Swift theorists have the ability to take the tiniest details and form them into the most complex theories. Fans can turn a number that is possibly in the background of an Instagram picture into what song she is releasing on what specific date.
But the time we spend decoding her every move takes away from the music she is making.
Swift’s music is iconic; her lyricism and artistry in songs is unmatched, and her songs can help anyone get through any emotion. But when we focus only on playing mind games with her, we take away from the value of her music, turning her life into a game that we all play.
Music should not be a game, and Swift’s life is not something we should be attempting to decode. Music should be music. It is so easy to get caught up in theories and be disappointed when they don’t work out that we forget why we love her in the first place.