Taylor Swift has reduced all her fans to “a crumbled up a piece of paper lying here” with her latest mind game. The part-time pop star, full-time puzzle master coded the songs from the vault she’s adding to her Red rerecording with a virtual word search that even has die-hard Swifties exhausted. “Level: casually cruel in the name of being honest,” Swift wrote along with a video clue, cackling “maniacally” and presumably petting a kitty. Written out, the gibberish appears to be more like a word search than anagrams, with the words “Phoebe” “Bridgers” clearly spelled out vertically and horizontally. Okay, fine, we’re in! “Luckily, I have no plans today,” another fan replied. There’s also “Ronan,” the name of her previously iTunes exclusive charity single, which Swift wrote during her Red era. The song honors Maya Thompson, the mother of a 4-year-old boy who died of cancer and is inspired by her blog “Rockstar Ronan.” (Thompson is even credited as a co-writer.) “Taylor has anchored you to this world so you will never be lost, and now she has ensured you will forever be safe in a new, permanent home,” Thompson wrote to her late son on her blog, announcing the re-release on July 30. “She is once again going to give a voice to the often voiceless, the bereaved parents of the world. ‘Red (Taylor’s version)’ will be out November 19th and on that album, there will be you.”
What else have fans have eyed? Well, “feat” twice, “Chris” and “Stapleton,” “Ed” and “Sheeran,” “All” “Too” “Well” (diagonally!) as well as “ten” “minute,” “version,” “winter,” “nights,” “you,” “forever,” and more. Are we messy for hoping it’s a ten minute Jake Gyllenhaal diss track? Unfortunately, there’s no Adele in the puzzle, but, hey, there’s no Antonoff either. Her song “Better Man” is both in the puzzle and heard playing backwards in the video of the vault. If one thing’s for sure, Swift will not let us suffer for long. Solve her little puzzle or wait right here for the update — we won’t judge! Loving her is absolutely like trying to solve a word search and realizing there’s no right answer.
Update, August 6, 10:30 a.m: Taylor Swift officially concluded her ruthless game on Friday morning, writing to her fans on social media, “I know some of you thought that would be like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer BUT … you played it good & right.” But, uh, the corny lyric references are our job, girly. Stick to the evocative songwriting. After leading fans to a website with even more clues (and an IG filter), Swift unveiled the whopping 30 tracks on Red (Taylor’s Version), including “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault).” Jake Gyllenhaal, log off now. You’re no longer safe.
The vault tracks also feature Mark Foster, Chris Stapleton on “I Bet You Think About Me,” Phoebe Bridgers on “Nothing New,” and Ed Sheeran on “Run,” the first song they “ever wrote together the first time we met in 2012,” Swift shared. She empties out the vault with “Better Man,” “Babe,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Forever Winter,” and “The Very First Night.” “I can’t wait til we can dust off our highest hopes and relive these memories together,” Swift wrote to her fans. “We’ll also be making a bunch of new ones too, since Red (Taylor’s Version) includes so many songs you haven’t heard yet. Til then, I’ll be counting down and picturing it all in my head. In burning red.”