In a 15-minute Instagram live video with Urie that streamed Friday (April 26), Swift further teased: "The biggest Easter egg of this entire thing has been missed. But the whole thing ... it's literally the most obvious one I put in the video and nobody has guessed it yet."
Later that night, she shook things up with a bigger bombshell: "So... the new album title is actually revealed somewhere in the video AND so is the title of the second single, but I haven’t seen people finding them yet."
Has the case been cracked as of Saturday? Have any fan theories from this weekend actually guessed the title of her new album or next single? Swift hasn't said, so get ready to press pause more times than you can count as you ruminate the meaning behind the Easter eggs below, presented (mostly) in chronological order of their appearance in the "ME!" video.
The Sidewalk Chalk-Colored Pavement
Swift's countdown to "ME!" ended up being a series of subtle nods to the video itself, and one of those previews zoomed in on the pastel pavement first seen in the opening snake-bursts-into-butterflies scene.
The pale pinks, blues, yellows and greens are pretty, going along with the overall breezy aesthetic of this era of Swift -- but more significantly, this could be a reference to Swift's "Why She Disappeared" poem, printed in one of the magazines she released alongside Reputation and recited as an interlude between songs on her Reputation Tour. The poem's opening reads: "When she fell, she fell apart/ Cracked her bones on the pavement/ She once decorated/ As a child with sidewalk chalk." (On a possibly related note, on July 13, 2018, Swift posted a photo of herself on Instagram with the caption "Take me home." In the snapshot, she's seen holding a photo album depicting herself as a child surrounded by her sidewalk chalk drawings.)
That Christmas Tree: Strategically Placed, Or Just Another Set Prop?
Riding on the nostalgia train, a silvery Christmas tree stands innocently in the corner of Swift and Urie's apartment in "ME!" The thing is, no one in this music video is dressed for winter weather, things look awfully bright and summery outside and there's no other indication that the duo is in the midst of celebrating the holiday season. Swift has said she was a raised on a Christmas tree farm, so could this be a token of her past? Or, fans wonder, is she hinting at the ultimate gift coming this summer: her new album?
The Dixie Chicks Are the Centerpiece of All the "Cool Chicks"
A collection of quirky art depicting chicks in sunglasses adorn one of the walls in "ME!" -- a detail that made a little more sense when paired with the single's "And there's a lot of cool chicks out there" lyric. In the middle of them all hangs what seems to be a painting of the Dixie Chicks themselves -- the ladies even nodded at their apparent cameo with a tweet to Swift -- and they're conveniently front and center just after she name-dropped them in a recent essay she penned for Elle.
"To this day, when I hear 'Cowboy Take Me Away' by the Dixie Chicks, I instantly recall the feeling of being twelve years old, sitting in a little wood paneled room in my family home in Pennsylvania," she wrote in the piece, which also happened to mention Panic! at the Disco.
One of These Books Is Not Like the Others
Below the Chicks lies a stack of three red books. Two of them have no visible text, but one of them definitely has a title. Hit pause, zoom in, squint really hard and you might see the title on the spine matches that of a published book called Cartier in the 20th Century. The point of this is murky, but it turns out that the Cartier book has seven chapters, and this upcoming album is Swift's seventh. For what it's worth, chapter seven is -- according to a U.K. Amazon listing -- Icons of Style. Swift's own "Style," a song on her 1989 album with which she inexplicably opened her short set at the TIME 100 gala this week, features the repeated lyric "Take me home." Could this be another hint to the album's theme?
Is That a Speak Now-Era Shadow of Taylor?
"There was a huge shout-out out the window in the first hallway scene of me walking. Just gonna leave it there," Swift teased in her Instagram live video this week. Out the window you can see palm trees, but on the opposite wall is Swift's shadow as she struts down the hall. And in one millisecond of a frame, as some skilled sleuths captured, you can supposedly see the outline of a version of Swift that has much longer, curly hair, reminiscent of her old style.
The Numbers Game: Briefcases & Clouds
"We do a lot of numerology around here," Swift also said during her live stream on Instagram. "Maybe make a point to count the briefcases circling around my head in the briefcase scene. Maybe make a point to count the clouds in the lobby/thunderstorm scene."
That's seven briefcases and 13 clouds, which has many guessing that something big could happen on July 13, but who's counting? (Just kidding, who isn't?)
A Clock Set to 8:30
Speaking of numbers: Swift doesn't seem to do anything unintentionally, and it's clear that a small clock on the "ME!" video set is set to 8:30. Might this indicate another date to pencil in, or could it be the length of an extended version of a certain song?
The Cat Outside the Door
Swift really loves cats (spoiler: she has three of her own now!), so the hanging of cat paintings on her walls is probably not the most revelatory thing -- but it does seem a bit peculiar that two different paintings depict a cat facing a closed door.
A Neon 'Lover' Sign
One of the most obvious Easter eggs in the entire "ME!" video is a bright pink "Lover" sign, with a heart in the place of the "O." Considering Swift actually said the title of both her album and the next single can be found somewhere in this video, an obvious possibility for one of them is "Lover." (Of course, she also uses the word "lover" in a lyric of "ME!")
Meet Benjamin Button
It's less of an Easter egg and more of an introduction to the newest member of her family, but Swift kept it under wraps that she'd adopted a cat until his debut in her new video, where Urie's character offers her the pet as a token of his love. As she explained in her Instagram live video, "He just starts purring, and he looks at me like, 'You're my mom and we're gonna live together.'"
The kitten, named Benjamin Button, joins big feline sisters Meredith and Olivia.
'Kaleidoscope of Loud Heartbeats Under Coats' Makes a Comeback
In one especially cool scene of the "ME!" video, a "Welcome to New York" lyric sees the light of day: "We did the kind of reflecting back on an old lyric when he [Urie] opens up this heart door in his chest," she said in her live chat. "I have a lyric on an an earlier song that says 'kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats under coats,' so he pulls his coat to the side, there's a heart and it goes through a kaleidoscope."
This scene happens to fall at the 2:14 point in the video. If you're really falling down the TS7 theory rabbit hole, two plus one plus four does equal seven. (Numerology is fun, right Taylor?)
Cowboy Boots -- Enough Said
Will Swift make a return to form on her new album? Between the Dixie Chicks shout-out and this pair of white cowboy boots -- a departure from her personal style over the past several years -- many are speculating that the new album could feature at least some of her country roots.
Hearts ... All the Hearts
Sometimes, the writing's on the wall. "ME!" has the heart in the neon "Lover" sign, Urie's "kaleidoscope" of hearts, heart earrings, a sequinned heart minidress, a band of winged members (Cupids?) with hearts on their drums and cymbals and what kind of looks like a heart-shaped guitar. Also of note: Swift's new merch is being shipped with heart-shaped confetti.