Welcome to the new, pastel-colored era of Taylor Swift. On Friday, April 26, the singer dropped her newest single, "ME!," featuring Brendan Urie of Panic! At the Disco, and while fans are busy decoding her new music video for clues, there's still one major mystery the singer has been teasing: When will Taylor Swift's new album be released?
After keeping fans guessing with a 13-day social media countdown leading up to the release of "ME!", Swift unveiled her new merch and candy-colored aesthetic for her new music online, along with a teasing link to pre-order her 7th studio album. Following the release of her new single, Swift also told fans on Tumblr that her full album would be available "soon" after one user wondered what it was called. "i haATE HER WHAT’S IT CALLED," Tumblr user lockingthegate wrote alongside a screenshot of the digital download on her merch site, to which the singer responded, "SOON MY LOVE SOOOOOOON."
While Swift hasn't explicitly said anything more concrete about the release date for "TS7," as fans are calling it, Swifties everywhere have been scouring the "ME!" music video for clues, as she's famous for including easter eggs in all of her videos. In addition to noticing the word "Lover" prominently displayed as a neon sign above the rooftops about two minutes into the clip — which some speculated could be a clue about an upcoming single or even the album title — some Twitter users noted that the time on the clocks could reveal an important hint about the album's release date.
"The clock is set to 8:30, August 30th is a Friday. Album release date???!!!!" @ASwiftie87 wrote, alongside a still from the beginning of the video, where Urie is standing next to an alarm clock set to the specific time. Considering Swift began teasing the release of her single with countdown clocks on her Instagram — and she cleverly worked in the number "26" to many of her social media posts in order to drop hints about the "ME!" release date — it wouldn't be absurd for Swift to leave the clock set to that specific time in order to let Swifties know when they can expect new music.
In addition to using her new, butterfly and rainbow-filled aesthetic to signal the "next chapter" in her musical career, some fans noted that the singer has been teasing her new look and era as far back as 2017, in the "Look What You Made Me Do" music video. At the end of that clip, a version of Swift that fans hadn't seen before, rocking colorful hair and a tropical top that would fit more in her current style than her black, edgy reputation-era look is seen on the wing of a plane, spray painting the word "reputation" onto the vehicle.
"The Taylor on the wing of the LWYMMD MV is TS7 Taylor. She planned this next era from the beginning," Twitter user @TS7Track3 wrote back in February. "That’s why she’s in the background, waiting, she addressed her reputation, took control of her narrative and is ready for the Next Chapter in her life."
While there are still plenty of questions about what fans can expect from Swift's seventh album, along with plenty of clues and Easter eggs still worth dissecting in the "ME!" video, one thing that all Swifties can agree on is the fact that "TS7" will be all about the singer's metamorphosis.
In March, Swift attended the iHeartRadio Music Awards rocking a pair of Sophia Webster butterfly heels, just a few hours after posting about the butterfly migration in Southern California. The singer also shared plenty of posts in her countdown to "ME!" that featured butterfly imagery and emojis, and the video itself opens with a rainbow butterfly hovering outside of Swift's window. And, of course, there's the fact that she unveiled "ME!" on Thursday afternoon with an elaborate butterfly mural in Nashville, which seemed to signal that Swift's new album is all about transformation. "Taylor swift just posted tWO photos in a row on Instagram with the same emoji twice I can’t breathe what do you think it means butterflies signify a complete metamorphosis right ????" PopSugar editor Kristin Harris theorized in March.
While most people noticed that the "ME!" video featured British landmarks (possibly as a shoutout to her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn) some also called out the fact that the entire clip takes place inside a chrysalis, seemingly confirming the idea that, now that she's addressed her reputation, she's ready to transform into her new, true self. As for what that transformation sounds like, fans will have to wait until the candy-colored new album is released — hopefully, sometime before August.