How Taylor Swift’s Easter Eggs Brought Us Midnights

Only Taylor Swift could create palpable excitement in both fans and peripheral listeners when re-releasing Red— an album we first heard almost ten years ago. The 32-year-old singer-songwriter is notorious for leaving “easter eggs” before she makes an official album announcement or release.

Dictionary.com defines easter eggs as “a hidden message, cryptic reference, iconic image, or inside joke that fans are intended to discover in a television show or movie.” Historically, Swift has used easter eggs in her music videos and social media posts. For example, before announcing the re-release of Red, she posted pictures on Instagram that looked strikingly similar to the photos used in the Red’s CD cover. From the way she wore her hair, right down to the filters, fans were quick to point out the similarities.

Swift has had a habit of leaving easter eggs years before a project comes out. In a video from 2019 with Entertainment Weekly, she pointed out two easter eggs in particular. The first one was when she wore a T-shirt during her Red era, with a unicorn saying “haters gonna hate,” which was in obvious reference to her mega-hit “Shake It Off”; the song appeared in her album 1989, the first album to follow Red. The other was a Spotify vertical video for her song “Delicate,” off her 2017 release Reputation. In the video, she had her nails painted a light blue and pink, foreshadowing the color scheme of her next release Lover, which came out two years after Reputation.

On Aug. 29 of this year, Swift announced her tenth studio album, Midnights, at the MTV Video Music Awards. Nonetheless, in Swift-fashion, she cautioned viewers that the name of the album is set to release on Oct. 21. In the Instagram post for Midnights, the caption reads, “Midnights, the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life, will be out Oct. 21. Meet me at midnight.”

The cover of the album is posted, but noticeably the track numbers don’t have names; instead, they are numbered chronologically as “Track One,” “Track Two,” and so on. This ambiguity leaves fans wanting to know more, wondering what genre the album will fall under and the titles of the songs.

In a YouTube video from Nena Shelby, she discussed possible easter eggs fans may have missed leading up to the announcement of Midnights. Swift posted about the re-release of her single “This Love” via Instagram; her caption noted that the single would be out at midnight, but put emphasis on the word by writing it like “m i d n i g h t.”

Another hidden clue was delivered by her collaborator Aaron Dessner, who re-posted on his story the announcement of her song “Carolina” for the film Where the Crawdads Sing. He wrote that the song would be out at midnight, followed by ten exclamation points. Finally, Swift recently came out with merchandise labeled “Midnight Blue,” suspiciously similar to the dress she wore at the VMA afterparty.

Swift also started a TikTok series called, “Midnights Mayhem with Me,” where in each short video she spins a lottery wheel that spits out balls onto random numbers. Whichever number the ball falls on, Swift reveals the name of the song for that track number. By revealing the names of different songs, fans speculate what each song will sound like or be about.

Taylor Swift is a mastermind at maximizing the most amount of hype for her releases, knowing exactly what will wet her fans’ appetite. She is intentional in pursuing a distinct aesthetic for each of her albums, which is perfect for dropping easter eggs that are noticeable yet discreet. Swift shows new artists how to surprise-drop albums and keep fans questioning, intrigued, and, ultimately, excited.