Shutterstock

Taylor Swift has announced that her new album will probably make you cry

New sob songs are on the way.

10 May 2019

Taylor Swift has become something of a famous recluse in the past few years. She says that, for a time, if she read her own name in print, she'd throw her phone across the room to avoid reading what was written about her. She's been conspicuously coy about her personal life, particularly her current relationship with Joe Alwyn (a departure from her previous publicity strategy, which included staged photo shoots on the beach with Tom Hiddleston and that infamous "I love Taylor" tank top).

Then, of course, there was that wild rumour that she left her apartment hidden inside an actual suitcase. She's tried to preserve a little privacy of her own, despite being one of the most recognisable pop stars on the planet, and as a result she seems to be doing fame on her own terms. Taylor hasn't sat down for a proper magazine interview in three full years, which is peculiar behaviour for a celebrity. She probably got away with it because she interacts with her fans directly and in her own way, through social media and with the trail of clues she leaves for them to solve.

It's precisely this scattering of clues that Taylor chose to discuss in the interview she just gave Entertainment Weekly journalist Alex Suskind, which has just come out. She appears on their cover in double denim, covered in little pins that pay tribute to her pop culture obsessions: Friends, Killing Eve and The Dixie Chicks among them. In this shoot, she is literally wearing little tokens of fandom, which is possibly yet another shoutout to the people who scour her every move for hints about her music, her sexuality, her cats and her collaborators.

“I’ve trained them to be that way,” she says of her fans. “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.”

The lead-up mischief for her upcoming seventh studio album, temporarily known as "TS7", began back in February. She posted an Instagram photo of seven palm trees set against a pastel background, interspersed with stars. One fan counted 61 stars, which was the number of days then left until Friday, 26th April, which is precisely when Taylor released her new single, Me! Another pointed out that there were four palm trees on the left to signify her four country-inspired albums and two to the right, which stood for her pop albums. The large palm tree in the middle said to anyone looking: new music is coming, be patient. And so it will... we are currently awaiting the full album drop.

In her interview with Entertainment Weekly, Taylor gave us a few hints about what to expect from it. "You get some joyful songs and you get the bops, as they say,” she said. "There’s also some really, really, really, really sad songs... not enough to where you need to worry about me.” She hasn't revealed who her collaborators might be or whether there'll be a country twang to any of her bops, but no doubt we can expect further cryptic clues as we get closer to the release.

Taylor says that she's learned and grown since her reputation album, promising even more emotional honesty and candour. “This time around I feel more comfortable being brave enough to be vulnerable, because my fans are brave enough to be vulnerable with me."

While we're on the subject of reputation, Taylor also revealed that some of that album's rage-fuelled songs were inspired by her 2016 binge-watch of Game of Thrones. “So much of my imagination was spent on Game of Thrones,” she says. “At the time, I was making reputation and I didn’t talk about it in interviews, so I didn’t reveal that a lot of the songs were influenced by the show.”

"Look What You Made Me Do" was inspired by Arya Stark's kill list. "King of My Heart" was dedicated to Khal Drogo and Daenerys and "I Did Something Bad" was written just after Arya and Sansa Stark plot to kill Littlefinger. We'll have to wait a while to find out if the latest season of GOT has inspired anything else from Taylor. An Arya Vs The Night King ballad wouldn't go astray, if you ask me.

Until then, the scavenger hunt for clues online continues.