With Monday’s solar eclipse but a flickering memory, another star has reemerged to unite (or blind) us all.
The dawn of Taylor Swift’s next era is upon us: She announced the name of her highly anticipated sixth album, Reputation, and its release date, Nov. 10, Wednesday. The headline-making singer shared that the first single is due Thursday night, along with what appears to be the album’s cover art.
Taylor began what’s sure to be a prolonged album rollout last Friday, when all of her social media accounts were mysteriously scrubbed of all prior posts, profile pictures and cover photos, leading many fans to speculate that new music is imminent. (That it happened on Aug. 18, exactly three years to the date she released Shake It Off and announced 1989, only fueled people’s excitement). Sure enough, Taylor stealthily returned to social media Monday with a 10-second silent video of an animated snake, which she followed with slightly longer, more vivid clips Tuesday and Wednesday, revealing the reptile’s full body.
The plot thickened Monday when the website timeless.com appeared online, bearing only the words “Timeless Coming Soon.” Eagle-eyed fans noticed on lyric website Genius.com that a new song titled Timeless was apparently registered under Taylor’s name with ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), reinforcing the belief that it is indeed the name of her first TS6 single.
Taylor’s latest string of Instagram posts do not share the single’s title nor do they provide a specific time for its release Thursday night. Some suspect the song’s release will be accompanied by a music video à la Shake It Off, while others allege that she will actually premiere the video at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, hosted by her longtime rival (and purveyor of the most boring “beef” in recent pop history) Katy Perry.
Frankly, we stopped caring about Taylor and Katy’s drawn-out feud two years ago, so any resolution on the VMAs stage is bound to be the least interesting part about Reputation‘s album cycle. Instead, we’re much more interested in its cover art and title, as well as that somewhat laughable snake that’s slithered onto Taylor’s Instagram.
As we’ll dutifully recount for you here, country’s former It girl is embroiled once again in a feud with Kanye West, after he explicitly claimed in his song Famous that he’s the reason she’s successful. Taylor released a statement saying that she never approved those lyrics, only for Kim Kardashian West to show the receipts last summer by releasing alleged video of Kanye’s phone call with Taylor, in which she appears to give him the OK to call her a derogatory term in the song. Backlash against Taylor swiftly intensified, as people flooded her Instagram comments with snake emoji, and adjectives like “conniving” and “fake” were used to describe her in think pieces online.
Which brings us to the public’s intense scrutiny of how Taylor drops unsubtle references to her famous exes in songs, a criticism that has followed her with each and every new boyfriend. (Among them: Harry Styles, Jake Gyllenhaal and John Mayer.) Jabs at her professed “serial dating” reached critical mass last summer during her three-month romance with Tom Hiddleston, who was ruthlessly mocked on social media when he was photographed at her celebrity-studded Fourth of July bash wearing an “I Heart T.S.” tank.
That strained relationship with the media is clearly reflected in Reputation‘s defiant yet underwhelming cover art, whose on-the-nose newspaper clippings and headlines appear to have been cobbled together by a freshman graphic-design major. (Although as one savvy Twitter user noted, the font bears a striking resemblance to Kanye’s The Life of Pablo scrawl. Coincidence?)
But after almost a year of no appearances, save for a boss showing in court during her groping trial earlier this month, we can’t wait for what’s shaping up to be Taylor’s boldest statement to the haters yet.