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A Timeline of Clues, Theories and Conspiracies Leading into the New Era of Taylor Swift

Unless you’re living under a literal rock, you’re likely aware that on April 13, Taylor Swift added a 13-day countdown to her Instagram story, website, and digital billboards in cities around the world. Nobody but Taylor and her closest confidants know for sure what’s coming at midnight on April 26, but that won’t stop me from thinking of what it could be. Honestly, I’m so close to the edge of my seat, I’m about to fall flat on my face. Whether it’s a single, a music video, or something else entirely, I am, dare I say, ready for it. We’ve officially exited the Reputation era and are so close to putting a name to TS7 — let’s take a close look at all of the possibilities. 

October 2018: Let the games theories begin

Theories about the new era began to bubble when Taylor posted this photo of her scrabble game, aptly captioned, “Let the games BEGIN.” The letters displayed in the photo are B, I, O, I and E, the point values adding up to 7. That was all it took — Swifties around the world went wild for it, and the new era was softly launched.



Let the games BEGIN.

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Late 2018: The calendar  

This Tumblr post went up, noting a handful of wax seals on Taylor’s 2019 wall calendar. The same stamp adorns the thirteenth  days of April, May, July, August and December (Taylor’s thirtieth birthday), but there’s also a star-embellished seal on October 3, noting it as a day of even more significance. Rumors of release dates for singles, albums and tours began to fly.


January 1, 2019: 115 rainbows

Taylor Nation tweeted this out – making no sense at the time. There are 115 rainbows. Do you know what day comes 115 days after the 1st? If not, you will in a moment.

February 10, 2019: #NewFilter

The color scheme of Taylor’s Instagram flipped over to a definitive pattern of pastels, showcasing dreamy filters and bright colors – a clear juxtaposition to, yet mirrored pattern of, the beginning of the Reputation era.

February 23, 2019: Eight buttons

The first photo of what many Swifties assumed to be a countdown went up – an ottoman featuring eight buttons. The next day, seven palm trees. The same day, six stairs above her and the day after, five fence holes. This picture appears to have been taken on the same day as the scrabble photo – the same flowery applique on the shirt from that day peeks through the fence. A similar flower marks the second of March on the calendar, and fans were sure it meant something big.

It didn’t.

March 6, 2019: 30 things

Elle published Taylor’s list of 30 things she learned before she turned 30. For number 26, she told us how she makes countdowns for things she’s excited for.

April 13, 2019: The countdown 

True to the calendar’s first stamp, a countdown to the twenty-sixth began (on National Scrabble Day, btw). The same day, she posted the below photo, captioned with the date the countdown ends.




A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

April 14, 2019: April Heart

Someone discovered this journal on Amazon. The background matches Taylor’s current Instagram aesthetic, and the phrase, “step into the daylight and let it go,” was her final piece of advice in her list for Elle. The weirdest part? The notebook was published back in November, by a user named “April Heart”.

April 17, 2019

Fans noticed that the background of all of her songs on Spotify had changed to announce April 26 at midnight EST, and the floating clouds behind the date match the background on the notebook’s cover exactly. At first, The Story of Us seemed to be the only song that didn’t have the background. Fans will remember that The Story of Us transitions from one chorus to the next verse with the phrase “nex chapter,” which she used when she accepted an award at the AMAs last October, telling fans that while she loved how much we loved Reputation, “I’m even more excited about the next chapter.” The song also happens to be the seventh track on “Speak Now,” as well as four minutes and twenty-six seconds long (however, the song does now display the same background as the rest of them).


Whatever is happening at midnight on April 26, it’s clear that Taylor has been plotting it for quite some time. It seems most likely to be the drop of a new single (based on the fact that her record label is also hyping up the countdown) or a music video (based on the strangely cropped photos that have popped up on Instagram since the countdown began). Or, dare I dream, a visual album?

In spite of the aforementioned logical evidence, I will continue to hope that my reach of Taylor taking over the role of Glinda in Wicked could be the big announcement. Tell me that what I assume is this dress doesn’t remind you of Popular!




A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on



And, if the countdown wasn’t overwhelming enough, this beautiful monstrosity written by Shawn Mendes also dropped the morning of April 17. You could’ve caught me crying at my desk all day long because Shawn Mendes is in my head. I’ve never had the fortune of meeting Taylor, but I still know what a wonderful person she is. She’s gifted dinner money to fans on their birthdays, she’s assisted in paying of student loans, she’s donated money to LGBTQ+ organizations, she’s donated concert tickets to mourning police forces, and more. She invites fans into her home to preview music, and her mother hand-selects them to meet her after her shows. Who else would ever?

Shawn noted how easy Taylor makes her job look, but how many hours do you think she spent plotting out all of these hints? How many months ago did she sit down and draw out this plan? How long do you think she agonizes over a lyric like, “and you call me up again just to break me like a promise, so casually cruel in the name of being honest?”

Mendes continued, “It all comes from her—her belief in magic and love, and her ability to be as honest and raw as possible. …the magic of Taylor Swift doesn’t come from the lights, dancers or fireworks (although all of that is incredible) but from the electrifying connection that she has with the people who are there to see her.” I can attest to that. 

The photos that have introduced this era alone are magical, and April 26 will never arrive quickly enough. I can’t wait to see what else she has in store, and I can’t wait to experience the electrifying magic of another stadium show. 

Sammi is the Lifestyle Editor at HerCampus.com, assisting with content strategy across sections. She's been a member of Her Campus since her Social Media Manager and Senior Editor days at Her Campus at Siena, where she graduated with a degree in Biology of all things. She moonlights as an EMT, and in her free time, she can be found playing post-apocalyptic video games, organizing her unreasonably large lipstick collection, learning "All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)" on her guitar, or planning her next trip to Broadway.