The Grammy winner, 32, announced her 10th studio album in August at the MTV Video Music Awards while accepting the trophy for Video of the Year. “This is a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams,” the “Lover” songstress wrote via Instagram at the time. “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 12 … we’ll meet ourselves.”
Before the album’s Friday, October 21, release, Swift teased fans with plenty of videos and social media posts about her new music. In one Instagram post, the Pennsylvania native revealed that opening track “Lavender Haze” is about her romance with Joe Alwyn. The “Cruel Summer” musician and the Conversations With Friends alum, 31, have been dating since 2016.
Swift explained that she borrowed the phrase “lavender haze” from an episode of Mad Men, adding that the song’s lyrics are about trying to stay in a bubble of happiness in the face of adversity and invasive questions. “My relationship for six years, we’ve had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it,” she told followers earlier this month. “And so this song is sort of about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff.”
Shortly before the release of Midnights, the Amsterdam actress teased a “chaotic surprise” set to drop on Friday at 3 a.m., three hours after the album debuted on streaming services. Fans who stayed up late learned that Swift’s big reveal was seven additional songs.
“Surprise! I think of Midnights as a complete concept album, with those 13 songs forming a full picture of the intensities of that mystifying, mad hour,” the “Out of the Woods” artist wrote via Instagram on Friday. “However! There were other songs we wrote on our journey to find that magic 13. I’m calling them 3am tracks. Lately I’ve been loving the feeling of sharing more of our creative process with you, like we do with From The Vault tracks. So it’s 3am and I’m giving them to you now.”
One of those bonus tunes — “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” — immediately sparked fan speculation that it was about John Mayer, to whom Swift was briefly linked in 2009. “And I damn sure would’ve never danced with the devil / At 19, and the God’s honest truth is that the pain was heaven / And now that I’m grown, I’m scared of ghosts,” the Cats star sings in the track, which also includes the line: “Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first.”
After the song appeared online, Swift fans took to social media to share theories about the “New Light” singer, 45. “Something tells me john mayer just jumped out of his sleep with a gasp,” tweeted one listener. “I know he felt a shift.”
Keep scrolling for a full breakdown of each track on Midnights.