Taylor Swift's upcoming sixth album, Lover, is due out later this month, but a few lucky fans have already heard it. In keeping with tradition, Swift invited a few of her biggest supporters to preview the album at a "listening party," which she also attends. What's said and heard during these parties is supposed to be confidential, but of course, something always leaks. Throw in Swift's penchant for clues, puzzles, hidden messages and secrecy, and the theories basically write themselves. Here's everything we sort-of know and have kinda-heard about what might be in store when Lover drops on August 23.
London "Secret sessions" participants took to Reddit to share their thoughts on the new music, which seems to be meeting fans' high expectations. "The album was AMAZING," wrote Reddit user Nadianiffi, according to USA Today. "So many amazing bops and also some true tearjerkers (archer who?????) I believe there’s something for everyone on that album. There’s some really stripped down stuff and some hardcore bops." Redditors also confirmed that the heart-shaped Rice Krispies treats seen on Swift's Instagram were served at the listening party.
The biggest news, musically, is that the new album could include a collaboration with fellow pop stars Katy Perry and Selena Gomez. It's about “women empowerment," according to a Taylor Swift fan Twitter. However, another Twitter user who claims to have been at the listening sessions says this is untrue. So honestly, could go either way on this one.
Turning away from music for a moment, we also have speculation about Swift's current political leanings. Over the past couple of years, the singer-songwriter has gradually become more vocal, supporting Democratic candidates like Phil Bredesen and liberal causes like LGBTQ+ rights. And while she's careful not to be antagonistic to the "other side," she apparently feels that "we're living in a hellscape." According to a Tumblr post from a listening party guest, she spoke with a fan about "overall stuff and the political environment of the U.S. and also just the world in general and like yeah, we were every much on the same page," reports Elle.
Then there's the possibility of a surprise television appearance. Several of the late-night talk shows have an unknown "special guest" slated to appear, which led the Internet to speculate about which star has the clout to command multiple appearances on competing networks at the same time. Pop Crave says that it'll be a "big female pop star" making a "comeback," which the team at i-D narrowed down to Gaga, Rihanna or Adele, though Swift is still in the mix. However, a source at a late night show revealed exclusively to W that the surprise guest is actually Will Ferrell in pre-recorded videos promoting his new podcast.
These are but the first overtures in what is sure to be a long symphony of Taylor media bites. After the album will be the videos, and after the videos will be the awards, and after the awards, the whole thing starts up again with the press tour for Cats.