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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bowling Green chapter.

The musical sensation of our generation Taylor Swift caused Google to crash Tuesday, September 19th all because of an unscrambling word game she hosted through the search engine to open her “1989 (Taylor’s Version) vault”.

Some backstory for those who don’t know: the first six of Swift’s masters for her albums were stolen and sold by musician executive Scooter Braun. In 2019 Swift was determined to own her work again by re-recording her first six albums with the trademark “Taylor’s Version” at the end of her albums and songs. So far she has released “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”, “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, and most recently “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)”, and come October 27th she will have released “1989 (Taylor’s Version)”. She also comes out with “vault songs” which are songs that she wrote during the time of the album that didn’t quite make the final album cut. She tags “From the Vault” at the end of the song titles. The amount of vault tracks varies depending on which ones she wants to put out. “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is coming out with five new vault tracks. She likes to put her Swifties to work to figure out the songs, and there is an animated vault to go with the vault idea (except for “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” because the vault tracks got leaked).

For “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” she decides to use what tried to take her down in the past: Google. In the past, when you decided to Google Taylor Swift, there was usually something about how many guys she dated, how she only writes her songs about guys, she has no personality, etc. This was especially problematic in 2016, with the drama between Kanye and Kim Kardashian West and the whole media calling her a snake and saying how she’s playing the victim in a situation she created, and yet again, sl*t-shaming her.

In the days leading to September 19th, for certain individuals, if they Googled Taylor Swift, a blue (the designated color for her album 1989) vault would drop to the bottom right corner of their screen, and when they clicked on it there would be an unscramble word puzzle for them to solve. The hint at the bottom was “My name is Taylor and I’m born in” then the answer would be “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” Swifties were instructed to type their answer in the search bar, which then a new vault would appear, but it was not ready to be opened. Swifties were confused as to what Swift was up to, since she is known for her puzzles and easter eggs. Then on September 19th, it was announced that if Swifties can solve 33 million collective puzzles, then the vault tracks will be released.

During the puzzle solving, Swift posted a vault that shot out letters and other characters such as quotation marks, an exclamation point, U,T,S, and L. This then led to a discourse between Swifties wondering if this was the first announced vault track, what it meant, and what it said. A few Swiftie theories included “Lust!” or, “Sl*t!” as a vault track, or maybe it said “LUTS!” which stands for “Look Up ‘Taylor Swift’” since searching her name started the puzzle frenzy. Some puzzles came with hints and some came without. This is genius because when you would look up Taylor Swift, you’d be greeted with her little blue vault instead of negative media. She shifted the focus from dating rumors to her puzzles and what she was doing was incredible and unique. Swift is making sure she is recognized for her accomplishments and her work instead of who her next possible muse is, or people figuring out which guy she wrote a song about. She even shows her power to make random things trend on Google that are usually not Taylor Swift related such as “pen click” which referenced the pen click sound effect in her 1989 single “Blank Space”, or “elevator buttons” which is how she hinted when she would release her soon-to-be hit single “Shake It Off”.

Taylor Swift from the vault puzzle
This is Swift’s way to use what almost ended her career, make it all about her next project, and put her name in a positive light. It’s known that she doesn’t Google herself, probably to avoid seeing the negative tabloids and that Google can be scary for big celebrities because of what the press could put out. Now she’s using that fear and obstacle and doing something very iconic; for the first time in Swift’s career, she encourages people to Google her because she knows the outcome, and she isn’t scared of what’s to come about since she has that control. She is using her power and her enormous fanbase to take back her name and reputation, that saying also has a double meaning because the last two re-records she has yet to release is her sixth studio album “Reputation (Taylor’s Version)”, and her self-titled debut album “Taylor Swift (Taylors Version)”. This game even toned down the fresh rumors of a potential romance between her and NFL star Travis Kelce. Finally, a man was no longer in the conversation when searching for Taylor Swift. This obviously is not the highlight of the amazing year she had in 2023, she completed the first leg of her massively successful Eras Tour, her tour was so successful just in the first leg that she is the highest-grossing tour of all time.

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Amber Orlandi

Bowling Green '27

I am a freshman majoring in Psychology. I love writing and pop culture. I also love shopping, music, and hanging out with friends. Some of my favorite artists include Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Sabrina Carpenter, Conan Gray, Gracie Abrams, and Reneé Rapp. My favorite colors are baby pink, sage green, and lavender.