Taylor Swift's new music: All the facts, theories and insane rumors we know

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 appears to be upon us, if a slew of reptilian teasers released this week are to be believed. Yes, after a year of almost no public appearances and definitely not being carried around in a suitcase, our prodigal pop star is seemingly ready to release her highly anticipated sixth album (or at the very least, a new single). 

Let’s break down the evidence:   

On Friday, all of Taylor’s 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 its 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. 

Now here’s where things get dicier. Us Weekly and Variety have since reported that according to multiple unnamed sources, Taylor’s new single is set to be released on Friday and could “(overhaul) her image” with an “unusual” new sound. While some suspect the song will arrive with a music video à la Shake It Off, 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. 

Adding slight intrigue to the latter theory, Katy released a teaser over the weekend for her basketball-themed music video Swish Swish, which many have taken to be a not-so-subtle diss track at Taylor. She captioned the clip “COUNTDOWN TO CATASTROPHE” — the name of Taylor’s alter ego in her video for Bad Blood, an alleged Katy smackdown. Is your head spinning yet? Yeah, ours are, too. But for both their sakes, let’s hope this all isn’t just leading to a publicity stunt for a skirmish that everyone stopped caring about two years ago. 

Instead, we’re more interested in the meaning of the snake in Taylor’s teaser clips. 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, in an apparent nod to her seeming conniving and deceitful. So is Taylor’s comeback single a direct (albeit on-the-nose) response to those criticisms? Will we see more of that boss attitude that she admirably displayed in court during her groping trial earlier this month? And is there a chance the 10-time Grammy winner will break from her usual October and November album releases and just drop the whole thing this weekend? (The eligibility period for the 2018 awards is Sept. 30.) 

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that this almost certainly has nothing to do with Game of Thrones