Taylor Swift is on some new s***. The singer has returned with her eighth studio album Folklore
, which expertly combines the unparalleled storytelling and universally personal injections that has made the Grammy winner one of the biggest artists of all time. Swift may have broken away from her traditional multi-month album lead-up with Folklore,
released July 24, but she is continuing to give fans plenty of Easter eggs. New Taylor drops f-bombs with regularity, but she’s still the old Taylor.At the same time Swift released Folklore,
she also dropped the music video for “Cardigan,” which she wrote and directed during the pandemic with strict safety measures in place. The singer placed several Easter eggs throughout the video, including the clock on the wall set to 1:15 or 13, Swift’s favourite number, and a picture of her grandfather, who Swift said in a Twitter post
was an inspiration for some of the stories on the album. The video also includes a scene showing Swift in a rough body of water with her piano nearby. Fans on Twitter think this may be a response to Harry Styles’ video for “Falling
,” which is rumoured to be about Swift.[video_embed id='2001457']RELATED: Taylor Swift's new album 'Folklore' is already climbing the charts[/video_embed]Swift may have even teased her new music video in 2019’s “Lover” video, which included seven rooms to represent the singer’s seven album, plus a small sepia tinted room for Folklore
. Taylor Swift’s long game is no joke.
Like a comfy sweater, er, cardigan
Following the premiere of the “Cardigan” video, the singer answered fan questions on YouTube. “One thing I did purposely on this album was put Easter eggs in the lyrics, more than just the videos. I created character arcs and recurring themes that map out who is singing about who,” said Swift. “There's a collection of 3 songs I refer to as The Teenage Love Triangle. These 3 songs explore a love triangle from all 3 people's perspectives at different times in their lives."
“Cardigan” appears to be part of the teenager trilogy, which also includes “Betty” and possibly “August.” Both “Cardigan” and “Betty” refer to cardigan sweaters and cobblestone streets in the lyrics. The three songs appear to tell the story of an affair between James and Inez while James is dating Betty. Each song is told from a different character’s point of view, with Betty’s side told in “Cardigan,” James in “Betty” and Inez in “August.”
There’s a lot to unpack with the three songs. James and Inez just happened to be the names of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' oldest daughters. Swift is close with the family and James even appeared on the singer’s Lover
album for the track “Gorgeous”. Lively and Reynolds, who posted about Swift’s new album on Instagram Stories, have yet to reveal the name of their third daughter, who was born last year. Betty Reynolds? Maybe.
An old lover
Then there’s the other theory that's getting a lot of traction on social media and it includes a possible coming out by Swift and a reveal of a relationship with Karlie Kloss. By including the names Inez in the triangle, Swifties theorize that she may be pointing to the character of James being a teenage girl, not boy. Some fans believe this may be Swift announcing that she is bisexual and this isn't the first time fans have taken lyrics as clue to her sexuality
.As for Kloss’ involvement, the model’s middle name is Elizabeth, which can be shortened to Betty. Swift is also named after James Taylor, which could be another sign that the character James is a woman. The song “Invisible Thread” mentions Swift’s single “Bad Blood,” which included Kloss as one of its famous stars.Swift and Kloss had a very tight and very public friendship for years but have since drifted apart. Swift’s new album is causing speculation that maybe the pair were romantically involved. Kloss posted this picture
of herself yesterday smiling next to a tree and captioning it her ‘"happy place", which some are choosing to view as a response to Swift’s new album artwork. Or she just likes trees.[video_embed id='2000633']RELATED: Lennon Stella says putting out an album during quarantine is 'weirdly perfect'[/video_embed]On “August,” Swift sings about a couple, in this case likely James and Inez, sleeping together for the first time while surrounded by the salt air. Things end when half of the couple goes back to school. A connection can again be made to Kloss, who started at New York University's Gallatin School of Individual Study in 2015. The home on the beach could be Swift’s Rhode Island estate
, which was the location for her famous Fourth of July parties (the house was previously owned by Rebekah Harkness, who appears to be the inspiration for the new song “The Last Great American Dynasty” and possibly “Mad Woman”). The song may also have been inspired by Swift’s relationship with Connor Kennedy, which primarily took place beachside
near the Kennedy compound in Massachusetts before Kennedy returned to boarding school in Brazil
.As noted by one Twitter user, Harkness’ nickname is Betty, so the whole Karlie Kloss relationship/Lively and Reynolds baby name thing could simply be a case of Swift liking the name Inez. Nah. Taylor Swift does not do random.
Then there is the mysterious writing credit on Folklore
. In her Instagram thank you’s shared on Thursday, Swift credits one William Bowery with helping to write two of the songs. The best guesses for the identity of the mystery writer are Swift’s boyfriend Joe Alwyn or her brother Austin Swift. In May, Taylor shared a cover of her song “Look What You Made Me Do
,” which was featured in an episode of Killing Eve
. The song was credited to Jack Leopards & The Dolphin Club, which fans guessed was a pseudonym for Austin.As for Swift’s current relationship, it appears the singer has penned another beautiful love song for her boyfriend of four years. On “Invisible String,” Swift uses colours to chart the course of their relationship, having previously used the colour blue to describe her relationship with Alwyn in “Cruel Summer” and “Afterglow.” She also references a "dive bar," which was mentioned in her song “Delicate” about Alywn. Swift also sings about sending presents to her exes for their babies, which could be in reference to Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, who are expecting their first child this year.Folklore
is the first album released in Swift’s 30s and the new decade has brought a renewed sense of self for an artist who previously fought for a songwriting deal at 15. Finding the silence in pandemic isolation allowed new ideas, and a distinctly un-pop sound to flow, with Swift’s collection of 16 tracks showcasing an established artist who continues to take massive risks and succeed.[video_embed id='2001156']BEFORE YOU GO: One Direction mark a major milestone[/video_embed]