Ever since Taylor Swift surprise-released two albums in a row, I have not known peace. She is the only person whose Twitter notifications I have turned on aside from my best friend, and that is because I know she can announce a re-recorded album, a single, or literally an entirely new album at any moment — she’s done it before. Most recently on June 18, with a surprise announcement that had me overriding all of my app time limits for the day, Swift announced that she’ll be releasing Red (Taylor’s Version) in exactly 22 weeks (get it?) on November 19.
Because of Swift’s love to leave Easter eggs for fans to decipher, the TSCU (Taylor Swift Cinematic Universe, obviously) is filled with conspiracy theories. Swifties over-analyze every Instagram story, television show appearance, and tweet right down to emoji usage. After Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) announcement, fans, who were overwhelmingly convinced that 1989 would be the next album she re-recorded, looked back through the signs she gave us, and let me just say…it all makes sense now. Notably, it looks like Swift recruited superfan Olivia Rodrigo to help drop hints about Red (Taylor’s Version), and her involvement has people thinking that Rodrigo may even be featured on the album. And you know what? Not only am I convinced it’s happening, I think it’s also what needs to happen.
Here’s what happened: months ago, Rodrigo flashed a ring Swift had sent her as a gift in a Sirius XM interview. The ring is an exact replica of the one Swift wore when she wrote Red nine years earlier, which Rodrigo explained in the interview. What Rodrigo didn’t share, however, is that a version of this ring is featured on Swift’s cover art for Red (Taylor’s Version). This connection has many fans believing that Rodrigo is featured on the re-recording, most likely on a never-before-heard song or, as my favorite TikTok comment jokes, maybe she’ll be the voice that says “who’s Taylor Swift anyway?” on “22.”
Rodrigo would be the perfect feature on Red (Taylor’s Version). Like Red, her debut album, Sour is also a meditation on a single heartbreak. Red famously details Swift’s on-again-off-again relationship with indie-record-that’s-much-cooler-than-mine collector Jake Gyllenhaal, while Rodrigo’s Sour pulls back the curtain on Joshua Bassett’s traitorous behavior in their relationship. Both albums were written when the singers were young and have given fans heartbreaking songs that they can’t help but scream-sing in the car, and both albums have given me a personal vendetta against their muses. Rodrigo is highly influenced by Swift’s music which she has been outspoken about since her career began.
Rodrigo has also been living every Swiftie’s dream ever since Swift commented on her Instagram post saying she was “so proud” of Rodrigo’s successful single “drivers license,” which landed Rodrigo right below her idol on the iTunes charts. After that, Rodrigo helped Swift release snippets of re-recorded songs from Fearless, hung out with her at the Brit Awards, and even sampled one of Swift’s best songs “New Year’s Day” on Sour. She has come such a long way from uploading videos of herself singing Swift’s songs in the car, and a Swift-Rodrigo collab is only the natural progression of their relationship.
As a Swiftie, I’ve learned to never get my hopes up about fan theories because so many have been wrong (I’m talking about you, Woodvale theory), but this one just seems right. Only time will tell if Rodrigo is featured on the album, but I’m patiently awaiting the re-recorded singles and “from the vault” songs that we can expect over the next few months. Red is one of Swift’s defining albums and I can’t wait to see what subtle changes she makes to each song, especially the not-so-subtle changes on the 10-minute version of “All Too Well.” And to think, I was just starting to like Jake Gyllenhaal again.