The spark was first lit when Taylor Swift took to Instagram to announce that her re-recording of “Red” was slated to be released a week before scheduled. The sudden announcement took her fanbase, or Swifties, by surprise and prompted them to delve deeper to see if they could figure out what Taylor was up to, as the three-time Album of the Year winner is no stranger to leaving Easter eggs for her fans to decode.
The new release date for “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is Nov. 12 — funnily enough, this is also National Pizza With the Works (Except Anchovies) Day. This revelation inspired Swifties to backtrack and reassess some social media interactions Swift had prior to making the announcement. Interestingly, all signs pointed to pizza.
Back in April, to promote “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” Swift appeared on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” Her segment involved the show’s host claiming that the song “Hey Stephen” was about him, which Swift countered with, “Good songs just make it feel like it’s about you.”
To further prove her point, she shows him the mood board that she had made back when she wrote the song to get back in the song’s headspace to ensure the re-recording felt authentic. Of course, this mood board story was a part of the act. When she pulls it out, it only has pictures of Stephen Colbert and a singular slice of pizza, which she even points out. Loyal and understanding as always, Swifties realized that this could not have been an empty indication.
For months afterward, there seemed to be no other obvious pizza crumbs left by Swift. To find the next piece of the puzzle, Swifties had to dig further into her online presence, which led them to her TikTok. On Sept. 29, Nick Jonas made a video response to a comment on one of his previous videos asking him who edited it. This 15-second clip was set to “ME!” by Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie, and it consisted of him eating a slice of pizza. The cherry on top — or, if you will, the pepperoni on the pizza — was a comment by Swift that stated, “iconic [pizza emoji].”
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The rabbit hole then became easy to follow. The video that this pizza TikTok responded to was, in fact, poorly edited. At 27 seconds — the length of the infamous phone call during which Joe Jonas broke up with her in 2008, the length intro of “Last Kiss” and the number of times Mr. is repeated in “Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor’s Version)” — there was a glitch in the clip reminiscent of a glitch in one of Swift’s TikToks in which she revealed and explained the early release of “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)” on Sept. 17. This glitch was also similar to the one in the “Bad Blood” music video.
To complicate matters further, Swift made another TikTok on Sept. 22 honoring Shania Twain, which she appeared to film from Jack Antonoff’s studio in New York. Of course, Antonoff, often hailed as a secret weapon for many pop icons, was critical to the production and success of “1989.”
Swifties then turned to the activity of another Jonas brother, the one who had a closer tie to Taylor in the past: Joe. On Sept. 30, Joe made a post from New York City captioned, “Looking for [pizza emoji].” That same day, he posted on his Instagram story to the tune of “Welcome to New York” — a song by Swift off the album “1989.”
The use of pizza emojis, matching TikTok glitches and Jonas and Swift being in New York around the same time seemed to hint to a future Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift collaboration, probably on “1989 (Taylor’s Version).” It makes sense that Swift would work with the Jonas Brothers despite their rocky past. If the lyrics of “invisible string” are any indication, it seems that their relationship has been patched up: “Cold was the steel of my axe to grind for the boys who broke my heart / Now I send their babies presents.” Many believe these lyrics to be a reference to a gift that Swift sent Joe and his wife, Sophie Turner, for their child.
As self-proclaimed Swift-Tok began to see these pieces fall into place like autumn leaves, Nick Jonas decided to add his own reaction to these rumors in a seemingly innocent TikTok. In the clip, he plays around with some of the app’s new video effects, including Green Screen Flip and Green Screen Pin, but the picture he uses for this trial run is a screenshot of a story from gossip Instagram account @deuxmoi that also indicates an upcoming collaboration between the two artists. Jonas captioned the TikTok, “what’s this collab rumor all about? For the record… here for it.”
To end this article, I would like to add a little disclaimer: It is absolutely possible that this well-laid-out theory is just a theory. Although everything makes sense to me and the thousands of other Swifties out there, no one really knows what Blondie herself is up to. While I would like to think I could just sit back and passively enjoy the ride, finding potential clues and working them out is part of the fun of being a Swiftie. And it is extremely good marketing on Swift’s part. What’s better than a promotion that gets your fans “happy, free, confused, and excited” at the same time, in addition to being fun to develop?
At the end of the day, no matter who she collaborates with or what albums she surprise-releases, I will continue to try to guess what’s going on — although at this point, I’d call it more of an educated hypothesis. I guess what I am trying to say is, whatever Swift’s next move may be, I am ready for it.