On Aug. 28, 2022, the music industry herself, Taylor Swift, went viral with her announcement at the MTV VMAs of a new album: “Midnights.” Following the news of her tenth studio album, fans of Swift, known as “Swifties,” went tirelessly looking for hidden clues they may have missed in the past weeks from the artist; Swift is known for hiding Easter eggs or fun hints alluding to her “next big thing” in everything she does. However, these clues may have started far earlier than Swifties anticipated, and there’s heavy evidence that “Midnights” was originally supposed to be Swift’s eighth studio album, not her 10th.
For context, on July 24, 2020, Swift surprise-announced on her social media platforms that she was releasing her eighth studio album, “folklore,” stating, “In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve.” A few months later, on Dec. 10, 2022, Swift announced her ninth studio album, “evermore,” again on her social media platforms, saying, “To put it plainly, we just couldn’t stop writing songs. To try and put it more poetically, it feels like we were standing on the edge of the folklorian woods and had a choice: to turn and go back or to travel further into the forest of this music. We chose to wander deeper in.”
Perhaps the most important piece of these two announcements in the hunt to prove that “Midnights” was supposed to be Swift’s eighth album is that the two sister albums—“folklore” and “evermore”—were not planned in advance. Swift’s acknowledgement that “folklore” was the result of isolation and “evermore” was an extension of “folklore” proves the albums’ spontaneity. Swift’s further acknowledgement that she has always moved on to the next era after an album release, with “folklore” being the exception, implies that she had something bigger planned beforehand.
Swift’s tendency to jump from era to era and plan years in advance is no joke either. In her 2020 Netflix documentary, “Miss Americana,” Swift said, “I kind of don’t really have the luxury of figuring stuff out because my life is planned, like, in like two years ahead of time. Like literally in two months they’ll come to me with the dates for the next tour.” The following year, in Nov. 2021, on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” Swift reiterated that everything was planned far in advance, including her Easter eggs saying, “All I started thinking of was, how do I hint at things? Like how far is too far in advance? Can I hint at something three years in advance? Can I even plan things out that far? I think I’m gonna try to do it.” It’s not just the statements that imply that “Midnights” was planned during her “Lover” era—it’s also the Easter eggs that may have been dropped during this time.
At the 2022 MTV VMA afterparty, Swift revealed the first outfit of the “Midnights” era, a royal-navy blue romper with a sweetheart neckline, and silver stars and diamonds descending down the front. This was not the first time that Swifties had seen this color combination, however. Previously, in her “Lover” era, Swift released a music video for her single, “You Need To Calm Down,” in which she can be seen wearing a pink bikini, a hot pink fur coat and sunglasses. Not just any sunglasses, though—specifically royal-navy blue sunglasses with diamonds lining the top. Could this have been a nod to the album that was supposed to be next? It’s hard to tell, but one thing is for sure: the concept of “Midnights” was planned before “folklore.”
After the release of “folklore,” Swift created several Spotify playlists, one of which was called, “folklore: the sleepless nights chapter.” The title of this chapter is extremely important to the theory that “Midnights” was planned as the eighth album because when Swift announced “Midnights” on her social media at 12 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2022, she framed the album as “Midnights, the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life.” This recurring theme of sleepless nights is no coincidence. Ms. Swift is far too intelligent.
With the abundance of evidence collected by Swifties across the world, there are many theories that “Midnights” was the lost album that got pushed back due to the pandemic. It’s entirely possible that Swifties are just reaching and none of this is true, but it’s also entirely possible that Swift has once again flaunted her talent of crafting hidden clues and surprises for her fans. Perhaps we will never know if “Midnights” was truly meant to be the eighth album. For now, we’re all just waiting for Oct. 21 to hear the next album from the woman who’s been with us since 2006.