Being a Taylor Swift fan can often feel like working a second job as a private investigator. Swift’s got a, well, reputation for dropping easter eggs in music videos, Instagram posts, and even outfits to clue fans in about her next steps. Her cryptic hints have gone into overdrive during the Lover era, with fans counting palm trees and jacket pins to decode her seventh album—and the list of potential hidden meanings got even longer when Swift released the Lover tracklist.
Swift posted three back-to-back Instagram posts revealing the official tracklist for Lover on Friday, August 16. In a series of posts with her new era’s cotton-candy aesthetic, Swift listed all 18 track titles for the upcoming album, her longest record to date. Naturally, the information embedded in the song titles sent fans spinning—once they could read what the faint title fonts actually said.
Some of the song titles confirmed theories fans have discussed since the first single of the Lover era, “ME!”, dropped in April. “ME!” includes the lyric, “There’s a lot of cool chicks out there.” In the music video, the camera pans to a wall hung with paintings of baby chicks surrounding a painting of iconic country band the Dixie Chicks. Fans took it as a sign that the Dixie Chicks would appear on the album; the Dixie Chicks and Taylor Swift further fueled the fire by sending cryptic tweets to one another after the video premiered.
The Lover tracklist granted that wish: “Soon You’ll Get Better,” track 12 on the album, features the Dixie Chicks.
Another upcoming track on the album had been hinted at in the “You Need to Calm Down” music video. In one scene from it, Ellen DeGeneres gets an arm tattoo spelling out “Cruel Summer,” which fans speculated could become a song title. Sure enough, the phrase appeared again as the second track on the album.
Swift’s Instagram drop also set fans off on entirely new theories about the songs we haven’t heard yet. Fans on Twitter are buzzing about “Cornelia Street,” the title of track nine and the street where Swift reportedly lived when she began dating Joe Alwyn. Fans also realized that “Cornelia Street” was referenced in the “ME!” music video, in a scene where Swift dances on a dark street with two bikes parked on the sidewalk—the bikes referencing the bike rides she and Alwyn took through the neighborhood.
Cornelia isn’t just a name; it’s also a type of flower. Another fan pointed out that the song title was hinted at in Swift’s cover art for “ME!” and in her Wango Tango stage set design, where cornelia flowers decorated the stage.
Fans also noted that another track title, and lyric, may have been hiding in plain sight for months. When Swift was interviewed by Elle UK last spring, she Instagrammed a picture from the photoshoot with the caption “step into the daylight and let it go.” “Daylight” is the title of Lover‘s final track. A fan noted that another song is called “Afterglow,” and Swift’s album art reflects the colors of that time of day.
The most dedicated fans pointed out that the tracklist wasn’t that much of a surprise. The romantic title track, “Lover,” appeared as a sign in the “ME!” music video, and “The Archer” was hinted at in the “You Need to Calm Down” music video. And there was that little incident when the entire tracklist, plus descriptions of each of the songs, was leaked to Perez Hilton earlier this summer. That unofficial sneak peek definitely didn’t dull fans excitement at seeing the verified list, however.
Lover starts streaming August 23.
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