Scrabble Boards And Paper Rings: The Sneakiest Easter Eggs In Taylor Swift’s ‘Lover’
Warning: This goes deep.
Last week, Taylor Swift dropped her seventh studio album, Lover. A musical love child of Red and 1989, the album swings from quiet, introspective musings on love and relationships to full-blown stadium anthems.
If you know anything about Swift, you’ll know she has an obsession with dropping clues all over the place for her fans to discover. This era has been no exception — she’s spent the last six months strategically laying down Easter eggs, a lot of which have finally been uncovered now we have listened to Lover.
There’s at least one clue for every song on the album, and here are some of the biggest ones we’ve found so far.
‘I Forgot That You Existed’
This album-opener (which is probably, maybe, definitely about Karlie Kloss) might have been hinted at back in October last year.
While she was in Australia, Taylor uploaded an Instagram of her playing Scrabble, wearing a shirt adorned with forget-me-not flowers. Captioned with “Let the games BEGIN”, she was essentially kicking off the first round of clues for ‘Lover’ before we even knew an album was coming.
She wore the same shirt later on in her fence holes photo.
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Back in May, Taylor was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly wearing a jacket covered in pins, which we were told contained some Easter eggs for the album. A badge featuring a photo of Drake sparked rumours of a collab between the two on the album.
While that didn’t end up being the case, Taylor does name-check him in ‘I Forgot That You Existed’: “In my feelings more than Drake, so yeah.”
In the ‘You Need To Calm Down’ video, the title of this track was revealed when we see Ellen DeGeneres getting “Cruel Summer” tattooed on her forearm.
The lyric “devils roll the dice” has been strongly hinted to as well — there are dice in Taylor’s trailer at the beginning of the ‘YNTCD’ video, and she later uploaded a photo of dice as part of her Lover countdown.
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The ‘ME!’ video, which was absolutely overflowing with clues, featured a scene with a band dressed as angels. You can see one angel rolling her eyes — a direct callout to the ‘Cruel Summer’ lyric “angels roll their eyes”.
That lyric, as well as “no rules in breakable heaven”, are both featured as board game titles in the ‘Lover’ music video which dropped last week:
The title track of this album was revealed to us in the ‘ME!’ video clip, with a neon sign in the background of one of the scenes.
The scene in French, with Brendon Urie at the beginning of the video, also contained quite a few Easter eggs. The Christmas tree in the corner hinted at the ‘Lover’ lyric “we can leave the Christmas lights up ‘til January.” At one point, Brendan calls her out for being dramatic, a reference to the line “swear to be overdramatic and true”.
In the ‘You Need To Calm Down’ video, there’s a scene where Taylor’s having a tea party with members of the Queer Eye cast. You can see an empty place setting, which foreshadows the ‘Lover’ lyric “at every table, I’ll save you a seat”.
This feminist anthem was hinted at in Taylor’s first two music videos of this era. In ‘ME!’, there’s a scene where she, and all her female dancers, are wearing suits and carrying briefcases. In the ‘YNTCD’ video, there’s a framed photo on her trailer wall of a Cher quote: “Mom, I am a rich man.”
Track five was also teased in the ‘YNTCD’ video, when singer Hayley Kiyoko acted as an archer, firing a bow into a giant target with a number five in the middle.
‘I Think He Knows’
There’s a line in this bop of a song — ”skipping down 16th Avenue” — which references the street where most recording studios are located in Nashville. In the ‘YNTCD’ video, you can just make out a street sign of the same name.
‘Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince’
This ‘You Belong With Me’ update references a pageant, similar to the one we saw at the end of the ‘YNTCD’ video. It also contains the lyric “the whole school is rolling fake dice”, which could also have been hinted at by the dice in the video and on her Instagram.
Always one to be sneaky, Taylor actually placed paper rings on the desk featured in the lyric video for ‘ME!’
And if that wasn’t enough, you can actually see the same ring in the background of the Instagram that Katy Perry uploaded when the two pop stars announced the end of their years-long feud.
The same lyric video with the paper ring could also have been a shout-out for ‘Cornelia Street’, and the lyric: “we were a fresh page on the desk, filling in the blanks as we go”.
We’ve been seeing cornelias since the beginning of this era, without even realising it. The ‘ME!’ cover art and promo photoshoot featured cornelia roses, and she even shared a photo of some in a vase in the leadup to ‘ME!’s’ release. The flowers were also featured on her sets for a few performances she’s done this era.
‘Death By A Thousand Cuts’
This song about the death of a relationship is reminiscent of the gravestone pin on Taylor’s jacket on the Entertainment Weekly cover which says “I Tried”. The song contains the lyric “trying to find a part of me that you didn’t touch”.
An ode to her British boyfriend Joe Alwyn, this song might have been hinted at in the “ME!” video, which was set in a city that looked suspiciously like London. You can spot St. Paul’s Cathedral and Big Ben in certain scenes.
Also, in the lyric video for ‘Lover’, a Union Jack in a love heart can be seen in the corner of the screen while she sings “my my my lover”.
‘Soon You’ll Get Better’ feat. Dixie Chicks
Fans have been expecting a Dixie Chicks collab ever since we saw a photo of them on the wall of Taylor’s apartment in the ‘ME!’ video.
But it goes deeper than that — there’s a pin of them on her jacket on the Entertainment Weekly cover. And in her Elle essay about pop music, Taylor mentions that listening to the Dixie Chicks reminds her of being 12 years old. And ‘Soon You’ll Get Better’ is — yep, you guessed it — track number 12.
Some lyrics from this song were revealed at the beginning of the ‘ME!’ video in the scene with Brendan. She tells him, “I can’t talk to you like this”, a direct line from ‘False God’.
Later on, we see him watching her out the window as she dances in the street, a reference to the lyric “staring out the window like I’m not your favourite town”.
‘You Need To Calm Down’
Also in the fight at the beginning of ‘ME!’, Brendan says to Taylor, “please calm down”. And if you look closely, you can see a “calm” pin on Taylor’s Easter egg-filled denim jacket.
In the ‘Lover’ music video, we can see a Scrabble game which spells out the title of ‘Afterglow’.
The song is about dumb fights that come up in relationships and apologising for being the one to overreact and blow things out of proportion. This idea is reminiscent of something she discussed in her “30 before 30” essay for Elle.
“Apologising when you have hurt someone who really matters to you takes nothing away from you,” she wrote. “Even if it was unintentional, it’s so easy to just apologize and move on.”
Fans have also pointed out that this theme of dumb fights is shown at the beginning of the ‘ME!’ video, where Taylor and Brendan are fighting while she’s being overdramatic.
‘ME!’ feat. Brendon Urie
While we never could have guessed that a collab with Panic! At The Disco frontman Brendon Urie was coming for us, the signs were there. In the Elle essay where she mentioned the Dixie Chicks, Taylor also said that listening to Panic! songs make her feel like she’s 16 again. Once again, this collab sits at track 16.
Taylor also very slightly hinted at the title of this single when she shared the Elle cover on Instagram, with the caption “ME”.
‘It’s Nice To Have A Friend’
The denim jacket covered in pins featured faces of the cast of the TV show Friends and fans had absolutely no idea what that could have meant. Turns out, it was just a nod to the title of this cute track.
The line “up on the roof / light pink sky” is mirrored in the ‘ME!’ video, when Taylor is sitting on a rooftop with a pink sky behind her.
Taylor’s Elle essay ended with the line “step into the daylight and let it go”. Fans have been using this quote as a caption for months, without even realising that it would also be the last lyric she sings on the album Lover.
Taylor said in an interview that she’s planted so many clues, some of them we won’t even discover until she starts her tour. Did we miss any major ones? Let us know in the comments.
Jemima Skelley is the former lifestyle editor of BuzzFeed Australia, and Australia’s chief Taylor Swift correspondent. She is on Twitter.