Three years, four albums.
Does the prolific nature of Taylor Swift ever abate?
The country-turned-pop-turned-folk-turned-whatever-she-wants to tackle next luminary announced her new album, “Midnights,” in August while scooping up video of the year honors for “All Too Well” at MTV’s Video Music Awards.
She promptly broke the internet with the news of her impending 10th studio album, arriving Oct. 21 and co-produced with her longtime working partner Jack Antonoff.
It’s a concept album with dusky overtones, dedicated to “all of us who have tossed and turned and decided to keep the lanterns lit and go searching,” as she said in a statement illustrating the backstory of the album.
While there are still many blank spaces to be filled in, here’s what we know so far about Swift’s upcoming creation.
What is Taylor Swift's new 'Midnights' album about?
Appealing to the anxiety-ridden insomniac in all of us, Swift has crafted 13 songs (her signature number) that she says are “stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life.”
Musically, we don’t know if she’ll lean toward the rootsier introspection found on her past two albums, “Folklore” and “Evermore,” or the candy-coated barbed lyricism found on 2019’s “Lover.” But Swift, 32, has indicated there are some deep thoughts coloring her upcoming work.
In her social media post announcing the arrival of “Midnights,” she called the songs “a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams” with references to how we might “twist in our self-made cages and pray that we aren’t – right this minute – about to make some fateful life-altering mistake.”
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Taylor Swift reveals song titles on TikTok
Poking fun at her habit of releasing “cryptic” clues and Easter eggs throughout not only her lyrics and videos but also in the meticulously crafted run-ups to every new album, Swift appeared on TikTok at midnight (naturally) on Sept. 21 to announce the title of one of the new songs.
Cranking a lottery ball machine with 13 white, numbered spheres to indicate the 13 songs on “Midnights,” Swift said she was leaving it “up to fate” to determine which title to initially divulge.
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The first ball selected? Track No. 13 (“But of course,” Swift said with a smile). The song is called “Mastermind” and the unveiling was the first in a series she dubbed “Midnights Mayhem With Me.”
Other TikTok installments have arrived sporadically (Swift loves to surprise), but Thursday she released the remaining track names that will fill her next project.
Taylor Swift's 'Midnights' tracklist
"Snow on the Beach"
"You're On Your Own, Kid"
Swift's 'behind the song' series
With the announcement of "Anti-Hero," Swift also posted a "behind the song" video on Instagram, sharing with fans that it's one of her favorite songs she's ever written because of how it delves into her insecurities.
“This song really is a real guided tour throughout all of the things I tend to hate about myself. We all hate things about ourselves. 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. I think it’s really honest," Swift said.
She gave fans additional insight into "Lavender Haze" as well, explaining in an Instagram video that she learned via "Mad Men" that the '50s-era phrase meant "you were in an all-encompassing love glow."
Swift also made a rare comment about her own romantic life, noting that "during my six-year relationship, we've had to dodge weird rumors and tabloid stuff and we just ignore it. ... The song is about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff."
With a little more than a week until the release of "Midnights," Swift hit Instagram again to share the backstory of "Snow on the Beach," which features Lana Del Rey, whom Swift calls "one of the best musical artists ever."
The song, she says, is about two people falling in love simultaneously, a "cataclysmic, fated moment" that might make you think, "is this really happening?" Swift equates the feeling to the anomaly of seeing snow falling on a beach, while noting her excitement about Del Rey's appearance on the song.
"The fact that I get to exist at the same time as her is an honor and privilege," Swift says.
The album's visuals suggest Taylor Swift is going retro. Maybe?
“Midnights” will arrive with four different album covers depicting Swift in visuals that evoke a potent ’70s vibe, including wood-paneled walls, a black push-button phone (the kind with a cord, kids!) and a sans serif font for the album title that immediately spawned a cluster of memes.
Four vinyl versions of “Midnights” will be offered in limited-edition color variants: jade green, mahogany, moonstone blue and “blood moon” (aka orange marbled).
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The back of each album cover includes a sector of a dial which, when arranged in a square, forms a clock.
Her decision to release the album in four vinyl editions, four CD editions and a cassette (and don’t forget the Target-exclusive CD with three bonus tracks and lavender edition vinyl) is a canny, Swiftian move. The dedication of her obsessive fans ready to splurge on multiple versions of the physical product will surely result in mega-sales, likely catapulting her to the biggest release of 2022.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Taylor Swift's 'Midnights' album is out Oct. 21: What we know so far