Your Expert Guide To Taylor Swift’s Eras (And What Defined Each One)

“What if I told you I’m a mastermind?”

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour took the world by storm, with fans scrambling for tickets and the opportunity to see their favourite singer. If you’re a new Swiftie, it might be worth a walk through each era of her career (so far).

Whether it’s the innocent days in Debut, her poignant song writing in Speak Now, her mic drop moments in Reputation or her break up anthems in Midnights, we cannot get enough of every stage of Swift’s epic storytelling.

We’ve also gained incredible insight into her life through her music. She’s been so open and vulnerable with fans about her romances, break downs, break ups and triumphs, and you can’t help but love her for it.

Whether you’re obsessed with country Taylor with curly locks, alternative Taylor with whimsical plaits, pop Taylor with a straight bob or rock tailor with a shaggy mane, we bet you love every era just as much as the last.

Taylor Swift/Debut Era (2006-2009)

Taylor Swift in her Debut era at the start of her career.
(Credit: Image: Getty)

We begin our introduction to Taylor Swift’s eras with her eponymous album Taylor Swift, also known as Debut. We naturally have a lot less context on this one as Swift was so young and as yet anonymous when the songs were written.

Released in 2006, when Swift was 16, it’s a country album that was released with five singles. ‘Tim McGraw’ is the most successful from this album, spending eight months on the Billboard country singles chart.

This was Swift’s era of tight curls, a classic smokey eye and nude lip, cowboy boots and floaty summer dresses. She almost always had her guitar on her while performing.

We know the song ‘Tim McGraw’ is about a high school relationship, when Taylor was a freshman and the boy she was dating was a senior. Swift was known for writing secret messages to give context on her songs, and this one was ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothin’’, which is the Tim McGraw song that inspired the track.

Another favourite is ‘Teardrops On My Guitar’, about a boy at school who she had a crush on but he couldn’t see it. The secret message was, “He will never know.” The song continues to refer to a boy named Drew’ which fans could believe could be about a boy from her school called Drew Hardwick.

Finally, we have ‘A Place In This World’, a song about Swift trying to carve out her own identity and not knowing what the future holds. She replayed this song during her 2024 Eras Tour, saying that she had never related to it more than at age 33, following her break up with Joe Alwyn.

Debut paved the way for the Swift that we see now, earning her the Country Music Award’s Best New Artist title for 2007.

All the secret messages are as follows:

  1. Tim McGraw: Can’t tell me nothin’.
  2. Picture to Burn: Date nice boys.
  3. Teardrops on My Guitar: He will never know.
  4. A Place in This World: I found it.
  5. Cold as You: Time to let go.
  6. The Outside: You are not alone.
  7. Tied Together with a Smile: You are loved.
  8. Stay Beautiful: Shake n bake.
  9. Should’ve Said No: Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam.
  10. Mary’s Song (Oh My My My): Sometimes, love is forever.
  11. Our Song: Live in love.

Fearless Era (2009-2010)

Taylor Swift in her Fearless era, which started in 2009.
(Credit: Image: Getty)

Fearless was Taylor Swift’s second studio album, released on November 11, 2009 when Swift was 18. In her second era, she veered to the border of country and pop. The album was a huge success and was number one on the Billboard 200 chart. It also won Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2010.

Like Debut, we don’t have a lot of context on who the songs were about, bar a few. We know that ‘Fifteen’ chronicled her high school friend Abigail Anderson Berard getting her heart broken for the first time, while ‘Fearless’ explored her idea of a perfect date.

‘Hey Stephen’ was written about Stephen Barker Liles in the band ‘Love and Theft’, who she played alongside. We know this because the secret message was “Love and Theft.”

There appeared to be some kind of cheating going on in this album with ‘You’re Not Sorry’ and ‘White Horse’ telling the story of a boy who treated her badly. The secret messages were, “She can have you” and “All I ever wanted was the truth” respectively, which is quite a lot of tea to spill at 18.

It’s possible that ‘Tell Me Why’ (where Swift begs an explanation to why a boy treats her so badly) and ‘The Way I Loved You’ (about being in a new and happy relationship but missing the passion and toxicity of an old one) also reference the same bad boy. The secret messages for these songs are “Guess I was fooled by your smile” and “We can’t go back,” respectively.

Naturally, ‘You Belong With Me’ is about a friend she fancied who fell for someone else and the secret message was, “Love was blind so you couldn’t see me.” ‘The Best Day’ is dedicated to her mother and the secret message is, “God bless Andrea Swift.”

Perhaps some of the most tea is ‘Change’, which was a thank you to her manager Scott Borchetta, CEO of Big Machine Records, the label that took a chance on a young Swift. Of course, we know he later betrayed her, selling her masters to Scooter Braun under her nose, so this one leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth these days.

Finally, we get to ‘Forever And Always’, our first song about a celebrity boyfriend. The song was written about Joe Jonas and was a last-minute addition to the album following their tumultuous break up in a 27 second phone call. The secret message was, “If we play these games we’re both going to lose,” while in the piano version it was “Still miss who I thought he was.” We know it’s about Joe as Swift confirmed it on The Ellen Show adding the detail about the short phone call.

We know Fearless era for its gold, sparkly fringe dresses, big Romeo and Juliet style ballgowns and Swift painting her lucky number 13 on the back of her hand. She performed with guitar in hand most of the time, and even had one completely covered in rhinestones. She often put her hands together in the shape of a heart in the concert (something she continued in the Fearless section of the Eras Tour).

The Fearless tour was international and started back in April 2009. She still had her signature curly hair, but we saw the introduction of a red lip that would become a go-to for the singer. The album was received well and in 2009 she won the Video Music Award for Best Female Video for ‘You Belong With Me’. Her speech was interrupted when rapper Kanye West jumped onto the stage and stole her microphone. The complication marked the start of a fraught relationship between Swift and West.

In April 2021, Swift released a re-recorded version of Fearless, so she could own her masters. She included a series of Vault tracks on the album including ‘Mr Perfectly Fine’, which is about Jonas.

All the secret messages are as follows:

  • Fearless : I loved you before I met you.
  • Fifteen : I cried while recording this.
  • Love Story : Someday I’ll find this.
  • Hey Stephen : Love and theft.
  • White Horse : All I ever wanted was the truth.
  • You Belong With Me : Love is blind, so you couldn’t see me.
  • Breathe : I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
  • Tell Me Why : Guess I was fooled by your smile.
  • You’re Not Sorry : She can have you.
  • The Way I Loved You : We can’t go back.
  • Forever & Always : If you play these games, we’re both going to lose.
  • The Best Day : God bless Andrea Swift.
  • Change : You made things change for me.
  • Jump Then Fall : Last summer was magical.
  • Untouchable : We always want what we can’t reach.
  • Forever & Always (Piano) : Still miss who I thought he was.
  • Come in with the Rain : Won’t admit that I wish you’d come back.
  • Superstar : I’ll never tell.
  • The Other Side of the Door : What I was really thinking when I slammed the door.

Speak Now Era (2010-2012)

Taylor Swift on stage in her Speak Now era.
(Credit: Image: Getty)

Speak Now was released on October 25, 2010, when Swift was 19. It is often considered her sophomore album but is actually her third studio album. Speak Now was created as a concept album covering all the moments in life when she wanted to say something, but didn’t. It was also the first album to cover numerous celebrity boyfriends. Swift notably dated John Mayer and Taylor Lautner during this era, but we still see some remnants of Joe Jonas as well. It also covers her initial reaction to the Kanye’s VMA interruption (which was one of complete forgiveness).

The album sold a million copies within the first week and was at number one on the Billboard 200 for the first six weeks. Speak Now is also an entirely self-written album, a feat Swift wanted to accomplish with her third output.

Running through the track listing, ‘Mine’ dreams about a relationship where her anxieties (born from her parent’s divorce) are beaten by a man who is steadfast by her side. The secret message was “Toby,” which fans think suggests she had a romantic interest in her music video co-star for ‘Mine’, Toby Hemingway. Then there’s ‘Enchanted’, a banger about locking eyes with someone across the room being caught up in them. This was about meeting Owl City lead singer Adam Young. In fact, Adam wrote a song for Swift in return to say he was enchanted to meet her too.

Then ‘Innocent’, suggesting that Kanye West was “still an innocent” when he interrupted her on stage. The iconic lyric is, “It’s ok, life is a tough crowd. 32 and still growing up now” in response to what he did. Pretty nice of her, all things considered.

We also get ‘Back To December’ a ballad about regretting breaking up with Taylor Lautner (the secret message was ‘Tay’) and ‘Mean’, written about a critic who took his takedown too far.

There’s also ‘Sparks Fly’, which was originally written during Fearless era but the verses were re-written for Speak Now. Many think the new lyrics, which include “you’re the kind of reckless that should send me running but I kind of know that I won’t get far”, are about John Mayer. We also have ‘Ours’, another John Mayer song about their love (and everyone warning her he was bad news. See lyrics, “And any snide remarks from my father about your tattoos will be ignored.”) We also see her putting him on a pedestal in ‘Superman’, waiting for him to come back from tour and begging him not to be with someone new. Finally, ‘Dear John’, an open letter asking him whether he should have messed with her heart so young (he was 32, and she was 19).

We also see ‘Last Kiss’, dedicated to Joe Jonas. The introduction is 27 seconds long, the same time as the phone call where he broke up with her. The secret message is “Forever and Always,” which essentially confirms that that song is about him too.

Then we get controversial anthem ‘Better Than Revenge’ written about Jonas’ girlfriend after Swift, Camilla Bell. Arguably not Swift’s finest moment (read: “She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress”) but maybe we’re all a little naïve at 19?

Speak Now era saw Swift in vintage dresses, slightly looser curls, and a more glam approach to makeup. The Speak Now tour began in February 2011 and went around the world, with a lyric from Swift inscribed on her arm every night, alongside the 13 on her hand. She played the guitar, banjo and piano during this tour. Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) was released on July 7, 2023, with five new Vault tracks: ‘Electric Touch Ft. Fall Out Boy’, ‘Castles Crumbling Ft. Hayley Williams’, ‘When Emma Falls In Love’, ‘Foolish One’ and ‘Timeless’. It is believed that ‘When Emma Falls In Love’ was written about Emma Stone and her romance at the time with Spiderman actor Andrew Garfield.

The secret messages for Speak Now are:

  1. Mine: Toby
  2. Sparks Fly: Portland, Oregon.
  3. Back To December: Tay.
  4. Speak Now: You always regret what you don’t say.
  5. Dear John: Loved you from the very first day.
  6. Mean: I thought you got me.
  7. The Story of Us: CMT Music Awards.
  8. Never Grow Up: I moved out in July.
  9. Enchanted: Adam.
  10. Better Than Revenge: You thought I would forget.
  11. Innocent: Life is full of little interruptions.
  12. Haunted: Still to this day.
  13. Last Kiss : Forever and always.
  14. Long Live: For you.

Red Era (2012-2014)

Taylor Swift wearing a red dress during her era of the same name, around 2012.
(Credit: Image: Getty)

Red was released on October 22, 2012, when Swift was 22. It was a very pop-focused album, which caused some controversy amongst her country followers. The album spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard 200. Swift became the first female to have three consecutive albums spend six weeks at number one. The album mostly covers her relationships with Jake Gyllenhaal and Conor Kennedy.

We see the likes of ‘State of Grace’, which has the secret message “I love you doesn’t count after goodbye,” essentially backing up what we know from All Too Well (10 Minute Version), “I was thinkin’ on the drive down, ‘Any time now he’s gonna say it’s love’, you never called it what it was, ’til we were dead and gone and buried.”

We also see ‘Red’ with the secret message “SAG,” referring to the fact that Gyllenhaal is also a Sagittarius. There’s the original ‘All Too Well’ which has the secret message “Maple lattes,”, referring to the beverage they both ordered on Thanksgiving. The Gyllenhaal theme continues across ‘I Almost Do’ and ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’.

She wrote ’22’ for her friends with the secret message “Ashley Dianna Claire Selena” meaning Ashley Avignone, Dianna Agron, Claire Winter Kislinger and Selena Gomez. We also see ‘Begin Again’, likely inspired by her short relationship with Conor Kennedy after Gyllenhaal. Many fans believe ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ was written at the last minute for this album about Harry Styles, but this is not confirmed.

Swift naturally wore a lot of red in this era, leaning into vintage silhouettes, high waisted shorts and a bright red lip. She also had a fringe cut in, which has become a mainstay of her look.

Swift toured Red from March 2013, with straight hair, a mix of piano and guitar and no 13 written on her hand. It was a clear sign that the more childish elements of Fearless and Speak Now were over, and that this was a serious popstar production.

Taylor released Red (Taylor’s Version) on November 12, 2021, featuring a 10-minute version of All Too Well alongside Vault tracks ‘I Bet You Think About Me’, ‘Nothing New’, ‘Run’, ‘Better Man’, ‘Forever Winter’, ‘The Very First Night’ and ‘Babe’.

The secret messages are:

  • State of Grace : I love you doesn’t count after goodbye.
  • Red : SAG.
  • Treacherous : Won’t stop till it’s over.
  • I Knew You Were Trouble : When you saw me dancing.
  • All Too Well : Maple Latte.
  • 22 : Ashley Dianna Claire Selena.
  • I Almost Do : Wrote this instead of calling.
  • We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together : When I stopped caring what you thought.
  • Stay Stay Stay : Daydreaming about real love.
  • The Last Time : LA on your break.
  • Holy Ground : When you came to the show in SD.
  • Sad Beautiful Tragic : While you were on a train.
  • The Lucky One : Wouldn’t you like to know?
  • Everything Has Changed : Hyannis Port.
  • Starlight : For Ethel.
  • Begin Again : I wear heels now.

1989 Era (2014-2017)

Swift on the red carpet for the Grammy's in 2016.
(Credit: Image: Getty)

1989, Taylor’s fifth studio album and era, was released on October 27, 2014 when she was 25. This continued the trend set by Fearless, Speak Now and Red, by spending a whopping 11 weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 chart. It also won Album of the Year at the Grammys, which made Swift the first female solo artist to win twice.

This album focused on Swift’s move to New York, her celebrity friendships, some of the more difficult elements of being famous and of course, Harry Styles.

While there are a lot of songs featuring romantic concepts in 1989, it’s also a little more obtuse, making it difficult to see which person each song is about. We know for sure that ‘Style’ is about Harry Styles, with the secret message, “Her heart belonged to someone who couldn’t stay.” That makes fans think that ‘Out Of The Woods’ and ‘All You Had To Do Was Stay’ are probably both about him, as they cover the anxiety of wondering if a relationship is the ‘real deal’ or will fall apart.

The songs ‘Bad Blood’, ‘Shake It Off’ and ‘I Know Places’ all cover some of the difficulties of being in the public spotlight. ‘Bad Blood’ is allegedly about a falling out with Katy Perry, ‘Shake It Off’ about trying to forget someone you dated in the public spotlight and ‘I Know Places’ about trying to date in secret.

We also see ‘Blank Space’, one of the most satirical songs on her discography, where Swift plays into all the misconceptions about her as a joke (not everyone got it, unfortunately). Finally, we have ‘Clean’, which took on a whole new meaning when Swift sang it at her Reputation tour, where she talked about winning a sexual assault case in court.

This album was full of pop anthems and brought Swift to a new level of fame. She cut her hair short, into a straight bob with a fringe and frequently wore crop tops and short skirts in fun colours. She also famously bleached her bob for the 2016 Met Gala. There was a lot of glitter and sparkle in this era, with Swift beginning her shimmering tour in May 2015. 

It’s important to note that at the end of 1989, Swift disappeared from the public due to scrutiny of her songs and the Kanye drama (the famous phone call regarding his derogatory lyrics in ‘Famous’, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/I made that b*tch famous.”)

Between 2016 and 2017, she wasn’t seen much. She deleted all of her social media on August 18, 2017, and fans thought this might mean the start of a new era.

1989 (Taylor’s Version) was released on 27 October 2023 and included five vault tracks: ‘Slut!’, ‘Say Don’t Go’, ‘Now That We Don’t Talk’, ‘Suburban Legends’ and ‘Is It Over Now?’. We’re pretty sure that ‘Is It Over Now?’ is about Styles as when she sang it live, she sung the bridge from ‘Out Of The Woods’ during the instrumental section of the song. She also sings of the snowmobile accident Styles had while they dated and a blue dress she wore on a boat when they were dating. 

The secret messages for 1989 are:

  • Welcome to New York : We begin our story in New York.
  • Blank Space : There once was a girl known by everyone and no one.
  • Style : Her heart belonged to someone who couldn’t stay.
  • Out of the Woods : They loved each other recklessly.
  • All You Had to Do Was Stay : They paid the price.
  • Shake It Off : She danced to forget him.
  • I Wish You Would : He drove past her street each night.
  • Bad Blood : She made friends and enemies.
  • Wildest Dreams : He only saw her in his dreams.
  • How You Get the Girl : Then one day he came back.
  • This Love : Timing is a funny thing.
  • I Know Places : And everyone was watching.
  • Clean : She lost him, but she found herself and somehow, that was everything.

Reputation Era (2017-2018)

Taylor Swift on stage in a black sequin outfit during her Reputation era in 2017-2018.
(Credit: Image: Getty)

Reputation was released on November 10, 2017, when Swift was 27. It was her sixth studio album and heralded her return to the public eye. It is widely known as a revenge album, covering her anger towards Kanye West’s betrayal, and recovery after being cancelled by the public, but those who know it well know it’s also a love album to her new boyfriend at the time, actor Joe Alwyn.

Swift had been dating Calvin Harris for a year and a half between 2015 and 2016, and then quickly moved on to Tom Hiddleston before dating Joe Alwyn. She never wrote a single song for Harris in Reputation, instead focusing on the Hiddleston drama and then Joe.

The rock-heavy album spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 charts. It also brought us a darker aesthetic, with deep lipsticks, a shaggy bob and snake motifs being key.

We also didn’t get any secret messages for Reputation, so all our clues are from her lyrics. There was ‘…Ready For It?’, clearly about wanting a man but it is debated whether it’s Alwyn or Styles, with the lyrics, “In the middle of the night, in my dreams (my dreams), you should see the things we do (we do), baby (baby, mmm, eh).”

‘End Game’, ‘Delicate’, ‘Gorgeous’, ‘King Of My Heart’, ‘Dress’, ‘Call It What You Want’ and ‘New Year’s Day’ appear to all be about her fledgling relationship with Alwyn. There’s an element of anxiety there about whether or not it would develop, with lyrics like, “’Cause I like you, is it cool that I said all that? Is it chill that you’re in my head?”

We also see the Tom Hiddleston blip show up in this album with ‘Getaway Car’ detailing her relationship with him, essentially escaping what she had with Harris but knowing that their exciting ride was never meant to go far. “You were drivin’ the getaway car, we were flyin’, but we’d never get far.”

We also get ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’, saying that Swift cannot have a friendly relationship with Kanye West because he always tears it to shreds. This lyric explains it well, “It was so nice being friends again, there I was giving you a second chance, but you stabbed me in the back while shaking my hand.”

The Reputation Stadium Tour started in May 2018 and was a lot darker than others with snake motifs and her famous wavy lob. Reputation was Swift’s final album under Big Machine Records and was part of the masters that were sold to producer Scooter Braun. Reputation (Taylor’s Version) has not yet been released.

Lover Era (2018-2020)

Taylor Swift in a lilac dress and pink lipstick.
(Credit: Image: Getty)

Taylor Swift’s seventh era and studio album Lover was released on August 23, 2018, when Swift was 28. The album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200, her sixth consecutive album to do so, and it was the best-selling album of the year. It was released through Republic Records and was never owned by Scooter Braun.

While many believe the album is all about love, it’s a lot less romantic overall than Reputation, covering other political themes from that time (sexism, Donald Trump, the LGBTQ+ rights movement and more).

The album opens with ‘I Forgot That You Existed’ the first song she’d written about Calvin Harris, featuring the lyrics, “I forgot that you existed, it isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference.” Slay, Taylor. Slay.

There’s also an element of excitement about the relationship with Joe Alwyn as it was getting serious with the likes of ‘Cruel Summer’, ‘I Think He Knows’ and ‘Cornelia Street’. We see Swift becoming more confident in the relationship with, ‘Lover’, ‘Paper Rings’, ‘London Boy’ and ‘Daylight’, with the latter reading, “I don’t wanna look at anything else now that I saw you, I don’t wanna think of anything else now that I thought of you.”

We see Swift explore sexism in ‘The Man’, “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man,” and LBGTQ+ anthem ‘Me!’. Swift told Good Morning America, “ME! is a song about embracing your individuality and really celebrating it and owning it.”

It’s believed that ‘Miss Americana And The Heartbreak Prince’ refers to Donald Trump’s hold on America during that period, placing Swift as a celebrator of American glory while Trump the ‘Heartbreak Prince’ makes everyone so sad they paint the town blue (also interesting that blue is so synonymous with the Democratic party). We also see Swift get vulnerable on this album, with ‘Soon You’ll Get Better’ dedicated to her mum Andrea Swift, regarding her battle with cancer.

This era was hallmarked by pastel pinks, blues, yellows and purples, signalling a lighter era of rebirth and light following the dark of Reputation. Swift also died the ends of her hair pink during this era. The Lover Tour was unfortunately cancelled due to Covid-19, although she did perform on September 9, 2019 in Paris in the famed ‘City of Lover’ concert, which is one of our only live performances from this era.

Folklore Era (2020-2022)

Taylor Swift performing in an intimate space during her Folklore era between 2020-2022.
(Credit: Image: Getty)

Folklore was released as a surprise album on July 24, 2020, in the middle of the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Taylor was 30 at the time. Many fans were still at home in lockdown, and Folklore saw a return to a folky, alternative country sound and featured a lot of strong storytelling and lyricism. Folklore debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and earned her another Album of the Year at the Grammys. It also outsold every other album released that year.

There is a lot of storytelling on this album, which is not based on her life. It’s the first time she’d really done that since the early days of Fearless and Debut, coming up with one of the most iconic teenage love triangles of all time ‘Betty’, ‘James’ and ‘Augustine’. Their story is covered from three sides in the songs ‘Betty’ from James’ point of view, ‘Cardigan’ from Betty’s point of view and ‘August’ from the other woman, fan-named ‘Augustine’s’ point of view.

Swift flexed her songwriting prowess in ‘The Last Great American Dynasty’, about the woman who used to own her Rhode Island house, Rebekah Harkness, and their similarities. We see Swift get introspective about her need for love in ‘Mirrorball’ and the thrill and heartbreak of cheating in ‘Illict Affairs’.

We also get more personal songs, namely track five ‘My Tears Ricochet’ about having her masters stolen with the permission of someone she once looked up to, CEO of Big Machine Records, Scott Borchetta. “You know I didn’t want to have to haunt you, but what a ghostly scene. You wear the same jewels that I gave you, as you bury me,” she writes with the jewels an allegory for her albums.

Without a doubt there are songs in there about loving Joe, including ‘Invisible String’ and ‘Peace’, with the latter exploring her fear that she could never give him peace in the chaos of her life in the spotlight.

Folklore was hallmarked by a greyscale colour palette and cottagecore energy, think cottages, spindly wooded glades and cosy knits. Swift wore her fringe wild and curly, and her hair in a bun for a lot of this era. Despite the greyscale, Folklore has a summery feeling.

Evermore Era (2020-2022)

Taylor Swift in a brown coat, with a single braid for Evermore, released in December 2020.
(Credit: Image: Getty)

Evermore was released on December 11, 2020, two days before Swift turned 31. It was another surprise album like Folklore and featured the extra writing she had done during her time in lockdown, which was highly charged with creativity. It is Swift’s ninth studio album and era and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. It was 2021’s best-selling alternative album in the US.

Evermore leans even more heavily into storytelling, with the likes of ‘Champagne Problems’ a song about leaving a man as he proposes, ‘Tis The Damn Season’ about striking up an old romance when home for Christmas and ‘No Body, No Crime Ft. HAIM’, which is about a woman being murdered by her husband and then avenged by her best friend.

However, we also saw some more introspective songs. There was ‘Willow’ about Alwyn (who can forget her repetitive ‘That’s my man’ lines), and ‘Marjorie’ dedicated to her grandmother who was also a singer. In fact, she interpolated a section of her grandmother singing opera into the song when she says the line, “And if I didn’t know better I’d think you were singing to me now.”

We also see lyrics directly aimed at Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun regarding her stolen masters, including ‘It’s Time To Go’, “He’s got my past frozen behind glass, but I’ve got me.” Swift also addresses them and Kanye in the ‘Long Story Short’ lyric, “Your nemeses will defeat themselves before you get the chance to swing.”

Evermore is famed for its warmer aesthetic, rusty browns and more wintery energy. Swift kept her fringe curly, but instead favoured a single braid at the back of her head during this era. It is often referred to as Folklore’s sister album due to the similar style of writing and production and short amount of time between their launches. With Folklore being the more successful of the two, hardcore Swift fans are incredibly protective of this album and making sure it gets the credit it deserves.

Midnights Era (2022-Present)

Taylor Swift in a dark blue sequin set during her current Midnights era.
(Credit: Image: Getty)

Midnights was released on October 21, 2022 when Swift was 32. It is a concept album covering midnights in her life when she was up (either happily in love or haunted by the ghosts of her past). It’s her tenth studio album and was also released under Republic Records. It was released originally in a 13-track album but has been released in multiple versions since then, including the ‘3am Tracks’ and ‘Til Dawn Edition’.

It’s a pop album with a slightly alternative feel in the 3am tracks, thanks to her producer on those, The Nationals’ Aaron Dessner. The album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 and was the best-selling album in 2022.

As an album that recounts nights throughout her life, it’s fair to say that it covers a lot of the boyfriends, dramas, and controversies she’s gone through over the years.

Tracks like ‘Maroon’ outline a darker more mature ‘Red’. Some think this is her processing the Gyllenhaal relationship years later, while others think it has to do with her split from Alwyn. We also see ‘Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve’ referencing John Mayer with the line, “I damn sure never would have danced with the devil at 19,” the age she was when they dated.

Swift also takes the opportunity to explore her own demons that haunt her in the evenings, on tracks like ‘Anti-Hero’ and ‘Mastermind’.

Now that we know Swift has split with Joe Alwyn, many believe ‘The Great War’, ‘You’re On Your Own Kid’ and ‘Bigger Than The Whole Sky’ are about losing him. The latter has also been widely rumoured to be about miscarriage but has never been proven. Many see Midnights as a breakup album, although we didn’t have that context when it was announced.

There are other songs on the album that are more positive about Joe, including ‘Lavender Haze’ and ‘Sweet Nothing’.

Many believe that ‘Midnight Rain’ could be about either Tom Hiddleston or Taylor Lautner with lyrics like, “He was sunshine, I was midnight rain.” We also see the song ‘Question…?’, which interpolates the backing track of ‘Out Of The Woods’, making it clear that it’s a reprisal of her situation with Harry Styles. It goes, “Did you wish you’d put up more of a fight, oh, when she said it was too much? Do you wish you could still touch her? It’s just a question.”

Finally, ‘Vigilante Shit’ dishes the dirt on Scooter Braun, his ‘white lies’ being found out by the FBI and his split with his wife, “She looks so pretty, driving in your Benz”. We also get the song ‘Bejeweled’ which has a double meaning, partly that she’s shining now more than ever despite the people that tried to bring her down, but also that she has all her ‘jewels’ back, referring to her lost masters that she has now re-recorded.

There are three more tracks to know on Midnights. ‘High Infidelity’ is the second song thought to be written about Calvin Harris, elaborating on what went on towards the end of the relationship. Some key lyrics include, “Put on your headphones and burn my city, your picket fence is sharp as knives, I was dancing around, dancing around it,” and “You know there’s many different ways that you can kill the one you love, the slowest way is never loving them enough.”

After the release of Midnights, Swift released two further songs that we can only assume are more recent. ‘Hits Different’, a song about a breakup hurting more because the person you’re splitting from was so important to you, and ‘You’re Losing Me’ a song about a slow break up where one partner stops fighting to keep the love going.

It is now believed, in the context of her split with Alwyn, that both are about him. One of the hard-hitting lyrics in the latter song is, “I wouldn’t marry me either, a pathological people pleaser,” suggesting that Swift had wanted to get engaged to Alwyn but he resisted.

For Midnights, Swift returned to her dark colour palette, in midnight blues, purples and many sparkles and jewels. She’s been wearing her hair long and straight, with a fringe, and her classic red lip.

…And that’s a wrap on explaining all the tea in each of Taylor Swift’s eras. If you read to the end, you sure deserved those Eras tickets. And now you can re-live it all by streaming the Eras Tour movie on Disney+.

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