It’s hard to calm down when Taylor Swift announces a new album.
The Grammy winner, 29, told fans all the need-to-know details about her seventh album, called Lover, on Instagram Live on June 13. And at midnight, she released the record’s second single, “You Need to Calm Down.”
The star-studded video came out a few days later, on June 17. “I wanted you to hear the song first and then see the video because the video is very worth the wait,” Swift said on Instagram Live of the song and its visuals. “There’s a lot going on in the video, and so I wanted that to be a separate discovery.”
On July 23, Swift released a third song, “The Archer.” She recently covered Vogue‘s September issue, letting even more details slip in a profile released online Aug. 8.
So far, fans have correctly put together many of the clues the pop star has been leaving leading up to the announcement.
When asked about her album title, Swift told The Independent, “I think you’ll hear it once and see it twice.”
Indeed: First single “ME!” includes the lyric “Baby doll, when it comes to a lover, I promise that you’ll never find another like me.” Both the lyric video and music video feature the word “lover” in the same cursive font as the album cover.
In an argument scene at the beginning of the “ME!” music video, featured singer Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco telling Swift, “You need to calm down!” in French. It’s subtitled in English in the video.
The “You Need to Calm Down” video foreshadowed “The Archer” when it showed pop singer Hayley Kiyoko shooting a bow and arrow at a target with a 5 in the center, which she confirmed was the songs track number on a second Instagram Live. It’s become a “tradition,” she added, for “honest, emotional and vulnerable” songs to go in that slot on past albums, like Reputation‘s “Delicate” and Red‘s “All too Well.”
“I’ve been so so so honored by your dedication to discovering Easter eggs and things like that,” Swift told fans on her announcement Instagram Live.
Here’s everything else we know so far.
Lover comes out Aug. 23.
And there’s a reason why. Swift’s favorite number is 13, and the numbers of the release date, 8/23, add up to 13.
It has 18 songs.
“That’s more songs than I’ve had on an album before,” Swift said on Instagram Live.
Red, her fifth album, holds the second-highest tally at 16.
“I was compiling ideas for a very long time,” Swift told Vogue. “When I started writing, I couldn’t stop.”
It’s romantic, but it’s not always happy.
“I think the idea of something being romantic, it doesn’t have to be a happy song,” Swift said on Instagram Live. “I think you can find romance in loneliness or sadness or going through a conflict or dealing with things in your life. I think it just kind of looks at those things with a very romantic gaze.”
Lover will make a political statement.
Swift has spent Pride Month advocating for the Equality Act, a bill that would amend the Civil Rights Act to protect sexual orientation and gender identity. Her petition has nearly half a million signatures as of Aug. 8.
“I definitely think there are political undertones in the new music I made,” Swift told German outlet DPA.
The lyric video for “You Need to Calm Down” — which was released on President Trump’s birthday — shouts out the LGBTQ media group GLAAD and the Equality act and alludes to LGBTQ Pride parades, in addition to featuring the lyric “shade never made anybody less gay.” The music video that followed featured dozens of cameos from almost exclusively LGBTQ celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, RuPaul and the Fab Five of Queer Eye.
Swift further explained her allyship to Vogue. “Rights are being stripped from basically everyone who isn’t a straight white cisgender male,” she said. “I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of.”
With that, Swift also told Vogue she declined to speak out on the 2016 presidential election because she saw Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton facing some of the same criticism she did during her July 2016 feud with Kim Kardashian, when she was being called a “snake” and “liar” on the internet.
“These are the same exact insults people were hurling at Hillary. Would I be an endorsement or would I be a liability?” she wondered. “Look, snakes of a feather flock together. Look, the two lying women. The two nasty women. Literally millions of people were telling me to disappear. So I disappeared. In many senses.”
“I’m going to do more to help,” Swift wrote in Elle in March of the next presidential election. “We have a big race coming up next year.”
Swift once again works with producer Jack Antonoff, among others.
The former fun. guitarist and Bleachers frontman, who’s produced for everyone from Lorde to Carly Rae Jepsen, returns after working on six Reputation tracks including “Look What You Made Me Do” and “Getaway Car.” He previously co-produced and -wrote “Out of the Woods” and “I Wish You Would” on 1989.
Swift chose to release “The Archer” early in part because she collaborated with Antonoff on the ballad. “I love this song so much,” she said on her second Instagram Live.
Antonoff also worked on the title track, Swift told Vogue. “This has one of my favorite bridges,” she said of the song. “I love a bridge, and I was really able to go to Bridge City.”
It includes the lyrics, “My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue / All’s well that ends well to end up with you.” Swift also posted them with a photo of her wearing a blue dress on Instagram.
The album’s first two singles featured production and writing by Lorde and Shawn Mendes collaborator Joel Little.
Another song will be called “The Man.”
Swift detailed the song during her Vogue interview. She wrote it about how her actions would be seen if she were a man.
“If I had made all the same choices, all the same mistakes, all the same accomplishments, how would it read?” Swift asked. The lyrics include, “I’d be a fearless leader / I’d be an alpha type / When everyone believes ya: / What’s that like?”
There will be four different deluxe versions at Target.
Each deluxe edition, a booklet marked by a different pastel sticker, will include 30 pages from diaries Swift has kept since she was 13 — also marking her 13th year of making music.
“I’ve written about pretty much everything that’s happened to me. I’ve written my original lyrics in those diaries, just feelings,” she said on her second Instagram Live. “It’s everything from pictures drawn, photos of that time in my life, I used to like tape stuff in my diaries.”
“It’s a whole thing,” Swift said on her previous Instagram Live. “I need a whole other live stream to explain to you what is in these, but I’m really excited about it.”
The deluxe editions will include audio recordings providing behind-the-scenes access to how Swift writes her songs and trace the development of two of the songs in the studio.
“Usually when I’m writing songs, I like to just record everything that’s happening,” Swift added in the first video.
The album release will include a collaboration with designer Stella McCartney.
Swift has been wearing the designer recently, and she’s already shared the album with her.
“She’s been a friend for a long time and also just a woman that I respect so much,” Swift said on her first Instagram Live of the Lover-inspired fashion collab. “There’s so much whimsy and imagination and romance to the clothing that she designs.”
The two became fast friends, McCartney added to Vogue.
“We met at one of her shows, and then we had a girls’ night and kind of jumped straight in,” McCartney said. “In London we’ll go on walks and talk about everything — life and love.”
Yet Swift doesn’t plan to make fashion a primary pursuit yet, telling Vogue her “focus is on music.”
It could be her favorite album yet.
Swift admitted to Vogue that after her darker era for Reputation, she welcomed the freshness of Lover.
“There are so many ways in which this album feels like a new beginning,” she said. “This album is really a love letter to love, in all of its maddening, passionate, exciting, enchanting, horrific, tragic, wonderful glory.”
There are many more clues out there.
On the cover of Entertainment Weekly, Swift wore a denim jacket adorned with dozens of pins and buttons. EW said the magazine worked with Swift to choose pins that represented some career milestones, along with some hints about the upcoming project.
The singer told Capital FM that the video for “ME!” also features “dozens” of Easter eggs, including ones some fans can’t crack. The “You Need to Calm Down” video included even more, from a tattoo of a possible song title (“Cruel Summer”) to hints at potential collaborations with the Dixie Chicks (a photo of the country stars hangs in a trailer) and Cher (there’s also a framed quote by the pop icon: “Mom, I am a rich man).
Vogue‘s profile noted more hints. For one, Swift made specific reference to a dollhouse in the interview, comparing it to online-era fame. “The metaphor was precise and vivid and, well, a little too intricately rendered to be off the cuff,” writer Abby Aguirre observed, adding that it corresponds with the “baby doll” lyric in “ME!” And as Swift sat for her interview on her roof, a golden 7-shaped balloon floated by.