The release of Taylor Swift‘s upcoming sixth studio album Reputation is approaching quickly, and everyone still has so, so many questions about the new set. The pop singer has been less-than-direct with the entire album rollout, from her enacting a social-media blackout (announced with flickering snake gifs), to her dropping tracks left and right with no warning.
Since Reputation‘s Nov. 10 release is just a week away, Billboard has compiled eight questions still up in the air regarding the album.
1. What the new album’s overall sound will be.
Based off the four tracks fans have to listen to right now, it’s not super clear what sonic direction Reputation is heading in. The sparkling “Gorgeous” is the first track that seems properly tailored to radio, but Swift saw massive success with the bass-heavy “Look What You Made Me Do,” which interpolated the Right Said Fred classic “I’m Too Sexy.” Are fans going to be treated to any great emotional ballads, like “Wildest Dreams” Grammy-Museum perfection and Red-era tear-jerker “All Too Well,” or just see Swift drift further towards different new pop directions?
2. Whether or not Swift actually spent time running through the Six with Drake, or getting back to country routes with Kesha in Nashville.
While it may only exist as tabloid-type buzz, there’s much to be said about the rumored collaborations that may appear in the still unreleased tracks on Reputation. Swift was spotted partying with Drake last year, and there’s definitely verified Instagram evidence. Tabloids were quick to report various sources claiming the two had been making music in the studio together, amongst other boring rumors that the two had dated.
At the same time that Swift was reportedly recording for several months in Nashville, Kesha had posted to Instagram about a secret collaboration. Though now we know that Kesha’s Rainbow album did feature some huge names that could have been the subject of the post, the verdict is still out on whether Taylor — who the singer/songwriter said helped donate funds towards her legal expenses, according to Rolling Stone — was the true hidden collaborator, until we see the new album on Nov. 10.
3. Who Swift currently has bad blood with.
It’s easy to guess who the drama could be about — she and Kim Kardashian have definitely not been on the best terms, but the Kanye feud seems too old news. Will Swift rehash the drama that seems to have fizzled out between her and Katy Perry in a song? Will we find out about a whole new feud that somehow went just as under the radar as her album plans? Maybe. Most likely, big media publications that have thrown sexist critiques at her throughout the years will be the focus of her (well-deserved) wrath, as the cover art of her album enlists the typography styles of the New York Times and other legacy newspapers.
4. The state of Taylor’s #squad.
“Bad Blood” but her pals front and center, but there’s not much to be said for explicit definitions of who Swift’s besties are these days. Is Billboard’s Woman of the Year Selena Gomez on the outs? Fans pointed out that in the “Look What You Made Me Do” video, Swift’s customized t-shirt at the end is covered with her BFFs names, and Karlie Kloss can’t be spotted anywhere on the garment. More tracks should give fans better insight into Swift’s inner circle.
5. What themes will be addressed.
Non-fans were quick to complain that the set’s first single, “Look What You Made Me Do” was far too self-referential, as if to deny accountability for her own actions. In reality, it was a fun pop song, and now the most recent track to drop, “Call It What You Want” has thrown the recurring theme of The Old Taylor’s demise completely out the window. The newest track seems perfectly on-brand for Swift, and echoes her older stuff a bit more in content, but with a new twist on the sound. Maybe the bad-reputation schtick will lessen with the addition of a few more heartfelt songs next Friday.
6. What “Timeless” really is.
Immediately after the social media blackout, a website with the URL www.timeless.com appeared, only listing the words “Timeless Coming Soon.” Fans noticed previously that a song titled “Timeless” was registered to Swift with ASCAP, but the credits have since been removed and the site has not changed.
7. What the total Easter egg count will be.
Reputation is surely much more reference-heavy than previous albums, but will this trend also continue through the rest of the album? There are hidden messages throughout “Look What You Made Me Do” – especially in the video, where she nods to her beef with Perry and her exes in costume choice. There’s even over-the-top fan speculation over whether or not the bathtub full of jewels was a harsh jab at Kim K’s robbery woes, but some of these were probably nowhere near as deep as haters may have suggested.
8. How far she’ll go for a bigger and better music video.
Production has risen to extremes with Swift’s latest music videos, and it doesn’t seem like they’ll be coming back down any time soon. It’d be interesting to see what will happen with the rest of the songs — how could she ever top a mountain of her past selves? An army of her past selves? What’s next?