Explaining Taylor Swift’s Easter eggs and ‘red herring’ that hinted at her new album

Explaining Taylor Swift’s Easter eggs and ‘red herring’ that hinted at her new album
Explaining Taylor Swift’s Easter eggs and ‘red herring’ that hinted at her new album

Taylor Swift rattled her fans in the best way Feb. 4 with a surprise album announcement on stage at the Grammy Awards — and it sent Swifties into a spiral about whether their favorite masterminding artist may have been hinting at a new album all along.

Initially, fans suspected that Swift had plans to announce the re-recorded edition of her 2017 album, “Reputation.” Why? Early on Feb. 4, Swift changed her profile photo on Instagram to a black-and-white picture, and, knowing “Reputation” is associated with black imagery and that Swift loves to plant Easter eggs to hint at what’s up her sleeve, many believed it signaled “Reputation (Taylor’s Version)” is on the horizon.

Not only that: Swift’s official website was down most of the day, and it sent Swifties on a hunt to figure out what the error message could mean:


Turns out, Swift was planning something but had different news to share: A brand new album, titled “The Tortured Poets Department,” will drop April 19. Just after this announcement at the Grammys, Swift shared on Instagram the cover art, a sultry black-and-white image of herself.

Swifties then began to investigate whether Swift had planted clues about “The Tortured Poets Department.” Here’s what eagle-eyed fans came up with.

Easter eggs for Taylor Swift’s new album — and what ‘hneriergrd’ may have meant

“The Tortured Poets Department” debuts April 19.@taylorswift via Instagram

First, that change in Swift’s Instagram profile photo aligns with imagery similar to the new album’s cover art.

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Second, people discovered hidden meanings in the error message on her website. A jumbled word read “hneriergrd,” which is an anagram for “red herring” (!!). Underneath that was another message: “DPT: 321.” Fans think that, if decoded backward, this hinted at the new album’s title — 1, 2, 3: TDP (“Tortured Poets Department”).

Another clue was the case of Swift’s outfit at the Grammys. She wore a long, textured white gown with velvet gloves and necklaces with black hardware. Many interpreted this look as a “Reputation (Taylor’s Version)” Easter egg with the black accents, but, turns out, the whole ensemble aligns more with the cover aesthetic of “The Tortured Poets Department.”

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift on the Grammys red carpet in Los Angeles on Feb. 4.Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

And finally, some fans even wondered if Swift’s boyfriend, Travis Kelce, is in on the Easter eggs, too. Last year, Kelce did an interview with The Wall Street Journal and had told the reporter it’s a miracle that Swift can turn life into poetry. This sounds somewhat familiar: When Swift debuted cover art for the “The Tortured Poets Department” on Feb. 4, she also shared a handwritten note that was signed: “All’s fair in love and poetry … Sincerely, The Chairman of The Tortured Poets Department.”

@taylorswift via Instagram

The real Swifties know these few clues were (or are) just the beginning. Let the hunt for more Easter eggs commence.

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