Out of countless conspiracy theories, fan predictions, and breadcrumbs sprinkled by the singer herself, Taylor Swift's new song "ME!" featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco was released at midnight, on April 26. It's a release Swift has been teasing for fans for the past few months. There was plenty of speculation beforehand about what the singer was hinting towards or if an entire album was coming. But either way, Swifties now know what they'll be listening to for the rest of the weekend.
“ME!” begins with a slithering snake giving way to a pack full of fluttering butterflies, signaling quite the sea change (hello, symbolism). But the video and song also feel reminiscent of some 1989 era Tay. The beginning of the video has a "Blank Space" vibe, with lyrics about being seen as someone who "never thinks before she jumps" and then it quickly becomes a "Shake It Off"-reminiscent ode to owning it — flaws and all.
Swift officially announced her new track at the NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee, hours before the song hit and she also confirmed that a music video to accompany the song would be dropping as well. As the first release with her first with her new label, Republic Records, it's definitely a departure from Swift's Reputation era, which followed the release of her sixth album in November 2017 and her worldwide tour during 2018. With its poppy colors, upbeat message, and theme of self-empowerment as the title would suggest, Swift has returned with something else to say and the vibe is decidedly different. Not that fans couldn't already have guessed that based on the clues that Swift provided leading up to the song's release.
Swift told Robin Roberts at the NFL Draft that her song is all about self-love and owning who you are as a person. “‘ME!’ is about embracing your individuality and really celebrating it and owning it,” Swift revealed. “And, you know, I think that with a pop song we have the ability to get a melody stuck in people’s heads and I just want it to be one that makes them feel better about themselves, not worse.”
Swift's new aesthetic has been the talk of the Internet ever since February 24 when the artist posted an Instagram of seven palm trees captioned with seven palm tree emojis. Immediately, the number caused everyone to spiral with stirrings of a seventh studio album. Swift certainly leaned into the buzz seemingly posting every week, then every day about what her new sound might be like. Rumors really started to ramp up when Swift began captioning photos with the butterfly emoji in March. She wrote on March 14, "Due to the butterfly migration in Southern California maybe I'll just stay outside until I head indoors for @iheartradio awards." She then headed to the iHeartRadio awards later that day, with some butterfly-themed footwear. Major hint right there.
Soon, everything from her birthday present for pal Todrick Hall to her Instagram Story countdown read as tea leaves for her new music. On April 13, she posted an Insta photo of a pink rhinestone heart with the caption, "4.26." There was officially a deadline for the madness. From that point on, Swift's feed morphed from the moody, snake-filled collage of Reputation to a kaleidoscope of pink tulle, sequins, a turquoise-colored bike, some portraits of chickens in sunglasses?! As it turns out, some chick puns were incorporated into the song and her cats do make a cameo in the music video.
But Swift told Roberts at the Draft that she sees the fan theories, and she is here for them. “The fans are amazing,” Swift said. “I cannot believe how dedicated they are, how thoughtful. I can’t believe how much they care. So it makes it more fun for me to create music, to create music videos knowing that they’ll care about little Easter eggs or clues or hints. Like, you have no idea how much fun that is to make stuff for people who care about it that much.”
But now that fans finally have a photo of the full puzzle, a new mystery is sure to emerge — like will there be an album coming soon?