Untangling 13 Taylor Swift Midnights Theories: Real or Our Wildest Dreams?

From song inspirations to what is going on with that upside down phone, here are 13 wild theories we have about Taylor Swift’s upcoming album, Midnights.

By Tierney Bricker Oct 14, 2022 10:00 AMTags
Watch: Taylor Swift Says Joe Alwyn Inspired Midnights Song

Break out your evidence boards and magnifying glasses because this meeting of the Midnights conspiracy club is now in session.

Taylor Swift releases her highly anticipated 10th studio album in just one week and recently unveiled the full track list, including a collaboration with Lana Del Rey. But, if you are a Swiftie who knows her penchant for dropping clues about her music, you might've suspected this team-up was coming. And that isn't the only sign fans have picked up on about Midnights.

Ahead of its Oct. 21 release, we've assembled a list of theories about the album, including the inspiration for songs like "Karma" and "Lavender Haze," as well as the result of our Easter egg hunt through her "Midnights Mayhem With Me" TikTok videos. Come on, did you really think we weren't going to see the way she held that red phone?

Fascinating Facts About Taylor Swift

Thirteen songs. Thirteen clues. Thirteen reasons we need to take a nap. Are you ready for these Midnights theories?  

Sister Album

When Taylor Swift released Lover in August 2019, she revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the record was originally titled "Daylight," the album's final track. She ultimately went with Lover because she felt it fit the "aesthetically very daytime" vibe compared to her previous album, Reputation, which was "all cityscape, darkness, full swamp witch."

Now, three years later, Swift's next album is titled "Midnights," which is, obviously, dark. And let's all reflect on Lover's closing line, shall we?

"I wanna be defined by the things that I love, not the things I hate. Not the things I'm afraid of, I'm afraid of or the things that haunt me in the middle of the night. I just think that you are what you love."


When it comes to the 11th song, fans are convinced all signs point in one direction: West. Yes, as in Kanye West.

"Karma is definitely about Kanye because it's definitely not a coincidence that it's Track 11," a fan wrote on Twitter. "When Innocent (her song forgiving Kanye for the 2009 incident originally), is Track 11 too."

Also, the date in which she posted the "Karma" TikTok is telling as well. 

"October 6, 2016, the original demo of Kanye's song Famous leaked with the full lyrics about Taylor," another Swiftie noted. "October 6, 2022, Taylor announces Karma. Coincidence? I think not."

Even More "Karma" Clues

A few other nuggets to add to the list of clues about "Karma" include the exact word being written on a wall in graffiti in the music video for "The Man" in 2019, which was three years ago, right? If you are questioning if Swift really have been plotting this song for that long, let us rewind to her appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in November 2021, in which she said, "Can I hint at something three years in advance?"

Well, as she sang in "Look What You Made Me Do," which was about her feud with West: "The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama. But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma."

"Lavender Haze"

Swift revealed that Midnights' first track was inspired by Mad Men, explaining she heard the phrase "Lavender Haze" in an episode of the AMC series. (It was said in season two's "The Mountain King," by the way.)

"I looked it up because I thought it sounded cool," Swift said. "And it turns out that it was a common phrase that was used in the '50s where they would just describe being in love." Or, as Swift put it, having this "all-encompassing love glow."

So, yes, we anticipate this track to be all about her now six-year romance with actor Joe Alwyn. "I guess, theoretically, when you're in the 'Lavender Haze,' you will do anything to stay there and not let people bring you down off of that cloud," she continued. "I think a lot of people have to deal with this now, not just 'public figures,' because we live in the era of social media and if the world finds out that you're in love with somebody, they're going to weigh in on it."

But she and Alywn have dealt with more than just casual onlookers. "We've had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it. And so this song is sort of about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff."

Okay, but is this the song in which Swift finally reveals the couple secretly got married?!

Heading to the Upside Down?

While revealing that track three's title is "Anti-Hero," Swift held the Midnights phone upside down, marking one of two times she did so. (The other one was "Vigilante Shit.") Obviously, as with anything Swift does, this faux pas was intentional, but what does it signify? Our best guess is that Swift, who cast Stranger Things star Sadie Sink in her music video for her "All Too Well" short film, wrote these in some kind of parallel universe a la the Netflix series' Upside Down, where she is a villainous figure. Hide your straws 'cause we're grasping at 'em! (One fan did theorize that this could be a clue that these will be the songs that get music videos.)

Anyway, Swift later revealed that "Anti-Hero" is one of her favorite tracks she's ever written. 

"I struggle a lot with the idea that my life has become unmanageably sized. Not to sound too dark, but I struggle with the idea of not feeling like a person," she explained. "Don't feel bad for me, you don't need to. This song is a real guided tour throughout all the things I tend to hate about myself. We all hate things about ourselves, and it's all of those aspects of the things we dislike and like about ourselves that we have to come to terms with if we're going to be this person."

The Possible Connection Behind "Bejeweled"

Given that Swift was wearing a strikingly similar sweater to the one Sadie Sink wore in the short film and the iconic "Red" ring while announcing the name of track nine, many fans are speculating that "Bejeweled" is connected to "All Too Well" in some way. Fortifying that theory is the fact that verse four of the 10-minute version includes the following lyric: "A never-needy, ever-lovely jewel whose shine reflects on you."

Winter Is Coming

Swift's only collaboration on the album is track four, which finds her partnering up with Lana Del Rey for the first time. 

"'Snow on the Beach' is about falling in love with someone at the same time they're falling in love with you," Swift explained on Instagram. "Sort of in this sort of cataclysmic, fated moment where you realize someone feels exactly the same way that you feel."

Swift and Del Rey's team-up is likely due to their respective relationships with producer Jack Antonoff and fans are speculating the Bleachers singer produced "Snow on the Beach."

Who is Niceboy Ed?

We think we can all agree Niceboy Ed, the artist behind the song "Life You Lead," which is featured in the making-of-Midnights TikTok video, is definitely a pseudonym. But for who? 

One candidate is Joe Alwyn, who was credited as William Bowery for the songs he helped pen on Folklore and Evermore and was one of the first people Niceboy Ed followed on social media. 

The other suspect is Ed Sheeran, one of Swift's closest friends and collaborators. Like, his name is Ed and he seems nice!

Getting Lit

In a high-concept theory that truly made us wish we had paid more attention in our Greek mythology class in college, one Swiftie shared their belief that track ten, "Labyrinth" is the "evil twin" to "Invisible String" on 2020's Folklore.  

Invisible String is based on the Chinese folktale The Red String of Fate - basically destined lovers...And in Greek Mythology, Ariadne gave Theseus a ball of red string," the fan wrote. "so that he could find his way back out of the Labyrinth after slaying the Minotaur. But when he came out, he betrayed her, resulting in either (the legend diverges) her death or abandonment and then rescue and marriage to the god Dionysus."

They continued, "While invisible string is about fated love, Labyrinth could be about the deepest betrayal after running through the most complex obstacles for a person who never loved you."

Coded Color

One fan on Twitter posited a compelling theory about "Maroon" detailing about Swift's disappointment when Red didn't win Album of the Year at the 2014 Grammys. 

Because when Swift announced "Midnights," she explained the songs were "the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life." So, shared the Swiftie, "Is Maroon about the sleepless night we know she had after Red didn't win the Grammy?" Forget Seattle, Swift is totally Sleepless in Sadness. We will see ourselves out now.


In a TikTok video, one fan theorized that the four special edition vinyl records Swift is releasing for Midnights—that come together to form a clock—feature different colors that could correspond with various eras of her career.

A New Sound

One simple, straightforward and strong theory is that Midnights will be Swift's first pop-rock album. 

"You know what rhymes with clock??? Rock," a fan wrote on Twitter. "Rock rhymes with clock. Midnights is a rock album."

A Surprise Drop

After all of the track names for "Midnights" were released, Swift's official fan account tweeted about the buying the album, writing, "For the very first time, you can pre-order and know exactly what you're getting… we think."

Of course, the tacked on "we think" caused a wave of mayhem, with one fan on TikTok predicting Swift will drop another album at the same time, one that also includes 13 songs. Why? Because the wedding cake in the "I Bet You Think About Me" music video had a "26" written on it. 

Midnights drops Friday, Oct. 21 at midnight.