Bestelling singer-songwriter Taylor Swift posted a mysterious clip of a series of jumbled up letters to her social media accounts Thursday morning, drumming up anticipation for an upcoming rerecording of her 2012 Red album and sending fans scrambling to decode what they believe is a puzzle hinting at details of the release.
Fans immediately went to work trying to decode the strange video, with a leading social media theory being that the letters make up a 13 x 13 crossword puzzle filled with references to her Red rerecording and possible bonus tracks.
The word salad appears to spell out the names of artists fans believe Swift could collaborate with, like Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, country crooner Chris Stapleton and bestselling singer Ed Sheeran, who worked with Swift on a Red track called “Everything Has Changed.”
When rearranged, the letters appear to spell out “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” which could indicate Swift will release a longer version of fan favorite “All Too Well” from Red, which Swift has said in interviews was originally written as a 10-minute song.
Others say they found “Better Man” spelled out, the name of a song she wrote that was recorded by country band Little Big Town in 2016, fueling speculation that Swift plans to release her own recording.
In the letters, fans also say they found the word “Ronan,” the title of a song Swift released in 2012 named for a four-year-old boy named Ronan Thompson, who died of cancer in 2011—all proceeds for the song, which named Thompson’s mother, Maya, as a co-writer, went to charity.
Swift is notorious for releasing “easter eggs” for her fans to find, such as in her 2020 music video for “The Man,” in which fans noticed the inclusion of a “no scooters” sign that many interpreted as a dig against celebrity record executive Scooter Braun, whom Swift has feuded with for years.
“I love that they like the cryptic hint-dropping. Because as long as they like it, I’ll keep doing it. It’s fun. It feels mischievous and playful,” Swift told Entertainment Weekly in 2019.
However, some fans are skeptical the letters mean anything coherent at all, pointing to a line from the title track on Red: “Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword, and realizing there’s no right answer.”
After Braun acquired Swift’s old label Big Red Machine in 2019, he also came into possession of Swift’s master recordings. In July 2019, she spoke out against Braun having ownership of her catalog, saying she had been blocked from using her earlier recordings during performances and in projects like her 2020 Miss Americana Netflix documentary, and in November 2020, she announced that she would be re-recording her past albums that were under her previous label before signing to Republic Records in 2018. Last April, Swift released Fearless (Taylor’s Version) — the re-recording of her Grammy-winning album — which included six unreleased songs. Prior to the release of her re-recorded project, she teased these songs in a cryptic message with the song titles coming out of a vault in a randomized fashion, which she recreated in the video posted to her social media channels Thursday. She announced in June that she will re-release her fourth studio album Red on November 19. Fans originally speculated that her 2014 LP 1989 be the next album to be repackaged after an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version),” a rerecording of a song on 1989, played in the trailer for the film Spirit Untamed.