What’s next for Taylor Swift?


Maddy Maes

Third year student Jessica Forristall shares how her collection of Taylor Swift albums and merchandise has grown over the years.

Taylor Swift, winner of 11 Grammys, holder of eight number one songs, and one of the best-selling female music artists of the decade, is the queen of pop, but is also the queen of surprises. Swift released her 8th studio album, “Folklore,” with only 24 hours’ notice to fans in the middle of the pandemic. But that’s not the only surprise Swift has had up her sleeve recently. Swift is in the process of releasing new versions of her first six albums and is a closely held secret as to which she is going to release next.

Swift is systematically re-releasing new versions of her prior albums to escape Scooter Braun. When Braun’s Ithaca Holdings LLC acquired all of Big Machine’s music assets, this included the rights to Taylor Swift’s music which meant he was receiving all of the royalties every time a Swift song played. Braun owns her first six albums which include “Fearless,” “Red,” “Speak Now,” “1989,” and “Reputation.” Swift offered to buy back the master recordings for her albums, but Braun refused. The only albums she owns are “Lover”, “Folklore,” and “Evermore.” Her most recent re-release was “Red (Taylor’s Version)” in November, and now fans are speculating which album she is to re-record next.

Swifties, or Taylor Swift fans, have an interesting theory that the music video for “Lover” holds the clue to the order Swift is going to release her next re-recording. The “Lover” video portrays Swift in a house with different colored rooms which fans feel represents her albums. She released “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” first which corresponds to the color yellow, then “Red (Taylor’s Version)” which corresponds to the color red, and according to the fan theories, “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” is next which corresponds with the color purple.

Originally, fans thought “1989” was next with the release of “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version),” which premiered in the animated movie “Spirit Untamed.” But many Swifties still hold out hope for “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” even if the clues may be pointing toward “1989 (Taylor’s Version).”

Avid Swiftie and DePaul sophomore Evan Mueller offered his two cents. “A lot of people have been saying ‘1989,’” said Mueller, “but I feel like that album fits better with the summer and ‘Speak Now’ fits better with the winter.”

Similarly, DePaul freshman Claire Rooney, another self-proclaimed Swiftie, agrees. “Personally, I think Speak Now is coming next,” she said, “because [Taylor] made an Instagram story with a lyric from ‘Speak Now’ a while ago, and I think it makes the most sense with the albums that are left to re-record.”

Swift trolled her fans with clues that “Speak Now” was to be released this January. First, the Empire State Building TikTok account posted a video on Dec. 29 featuring her song “22” off of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” album. This would be fine normally, but the top of the Empire State Building was purple, the main color of the Speak Now album. Then, TikTok creator @mrperfectlyfine13 noticed that the release date of “Speak Now” had been changed on Apple Music and Spotify from its original date of Oct. 25, 2010 to Jan. 1, 2010. Finally, creator @thethriftyswiftie noticed the images on Spotify for her albums were changed to confetti dropping, causing everyone to believe that Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) was going to be a New Year’s present.

January 1, 2022 came and passed with no “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” and fans were surprised. DePaul junior Holly Dodd, however, was not.

“She’s not known to drop holiday albums or songs, except for her 2019 Christmas song. It just felt like people were hopeful and convinced themselves that it was going to happen without enough evidence,” Dodd said.

However, people still believe that the album will be coming in 2022 because there are still other clues that point to “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).” In her song “Innocent,” off of the “Speak Now” album, Swift sings the lyric “32” and still growing up now” — an interesting coincidence, given that she turns 32 this year. Next, @TaylorNation, an official account with inside knowledge run by Swift’s public relations and marketing teams, posted a boomerang of Taylor Swift drinking Starbucks. TikTok creator @flighthouse believes Swift is trying to trick her fans into believing “1989” is next with this video because fans thought the lyric “got a long list of ex-lovers” was actually “got a long list of Starbucks lovers” from her “1989” song “Blank Space.” She pointed out three G’s at the bottom of Taylor’s Starbucks cup and said: ”Wanna know what song starts with three G chords? It’s ‘Speak Now.’ And you wanna know what her third album was? It’s ‘Speak Now.’” Additionally, the song “Begin Again” from “Red (Taylor’s Version)” was playing in the video, and @flighthouse believes this is hinting at the beginning of the “Speak Now” era.

“Not only has Taylor Swift been leaving clues throughout her entire career,” said DePaul junior Jessica Forristall, “but from a marketing perspective it also gives her more attention and buzz. I think she has a good amount of agency and creativity with it, and her team is probably even planning clues for us to decipher right now.”

Now that fans believe “Speak Now” is coming, the question is: When is it coming? The @flighthouse administrator has a theory that the album is dropping on Feb. 22, because Swift had been posting videos about her song “22″ for the entire month of December. This could of course be because the year 2022 was coming up, but Swifties like to believe she did it for a reason. Feb. 22 is a Wednesday, and is also the same day of the week Swift posted the “Fearless” and “Red” vault tracks. It also happens that @TaylorNation posted a TikTok with the caption “Wednesday Mood.”

Some of these theories may be a stretch, but Taylor Swift is a master planner and knows how to fake people out, so fans will always be suspicious of what she posts on social media.

“Taylor has always been sneaky about music releases, so as a Swiftie, I always read between the lines of her social media,” Rooney said.

While there are many clues as to what Swift’s next re-release will be, only the queen of surprises herself knows what’s next.