A true “mastermind”: Unpacking 13 of Taylor Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” Easter eggs

On Aug. 9, 2023, Taylor Swift announced the release date of her re-recorded album “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” during the final show of the Eras Tour’s first U.S. leg. Many already saw it coming.

Taylor Swift’s fans are infamous for being Swifties by day and detectives by night, diligently following the trails of clues that Swift sprinkles to her album announcements. Her most dedicated fans know her all too well — the global pop star loves to leave Easter eggs for her big announcements and, months after Swift’s May 5 announcement of her last re-recording, “Speak Now,” fans were getting suspicious that the next re-recording would be just around the corner. So, as Swifties continued to pick up clues about the long-anticipated release of “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” they started to take note of everything.

A true "mastermind": Unpacking 13 of Taylor Swift's "1989 (Taylor's Version)" Easter eggs

Swift announced the release date of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” in Los Angeles on the last night of the first U.S. leg of the Eras Tour. (Photo left: SAM DIZON/The Stanford Daily and photo right: CYNTHIA GE/The Stanford Daily)

Here’s a crash course on understanding Swift’s Easter eggs: Her favorite number is 13, as she explained in an interview with MTV as early as 2009. “I was born on the 13th. I turned 13 on Friday the 13th. My first album went gold in 13 weeks. My first #1 song had a 13-second intro.” 

“1989” is the fifth out of her discography of 10 albums, and is associated with the color blue. Entertainment journalist Jason Pham writes that not only does “Swift wear a blue sweater on the original 1989 cover,” but “1989” is also the polar opposite of its preceding album, “Red.” With songs such as “All Too Well” and “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Red” is about heartbreak and angst, while “1989” exudes fun, friendship and new beginnings with songs like “Shake It Off” and “New Romantics.” 

As a Swiftie myself, I follow the Eras Tour and her Easter eggs like it’s my favorite sport, as Swift joked during her Aug. 4 show that I attended. Here are 13 of the many Easter eggs for “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” that Swifties, myself included, noticed leading up to Swift’s announcement:

1. On July 28, Swift’s management team, @taylornation, posted an Instagram picture of Swift wearing a blue dress with a dreamy, Los Angeles background. The caption, “the air is getting pretty salty… 🌊,” referenced Swift’s song “august” — also the month that she ultimately announced “1989 (Taylor’s Version).” The blue tones of the photo also alluded to the album’s associated color.

2. On July 31, SoFi Stadium posted on Instagram about welcoming Swift to Los Angeles ahead of her six sold out shows, leaving fans nine days to put together the pieces of the puzzle. On the second slide of the post, the pictured lifeguard stand was labeled with “1989” and “Taylor’s Version,” causing Swifties to feel confident about filling in this blank space. At this point, many fans were certain Swift would announce this album while touring in Los Angeles.

3. On Aug. 2, Taylor Nation posted a video of a wall in Los Angeles featuring Spotify’s “My Top 5 Taylor Swift’s Eras” campaign. As many comments on this Instagram post suggest, the intentional selection of the number “5” felt suspicious, as “1989” is Swift’s fifth album.

4. In the final scene of her music video for “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” bonus track “I Can See You,” Taylor drives away from a museum heist in a getaway car. As the car passes under a bridge, a clearance sign at the top of the bridge can be seen reading “1989 TV.”

5. Similarly, at 0:16 in her “Karma” music video from the “Midnights” album, Swift is shown standing on a pedestal engraved at the base with subtle Roman numerals for “1989.”

6. On Aug. 8, Swift replaced her typical “Midnights” outfit with a new bodysuit mirroring the one that she’d worn during her “1989” tour in 2015. Swift’s fashion certainly never goes out of style.

A true "mastermind": Unpacking 13 of Taylor Swift's "1989 (Taylor's Version)" Easter eggs

A side-by-side comparison of Swift’s bodysuit from her “1989” tour, and “Midnights” bodysuit from her Eras Tour. (Photos: Wikimedia Commons)

7. Swift announced the big news on the last day of the first U.S. leg, which was Aug. 9 — or 8/9, conveniently mirroring the latter half of the album title, “1989.” Aug. 9 also happens to be eight years, nine months and 13 days from when she originally released “1989,” and it had also been 13 weeks since Swift announced her previous re-recorded album, “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).” As if this doesn’t show that Swift is a mastermind already, Aug. 9, 2023 also marks 3,208 days since the original “1989” was first released. The four numbers in 3,208 sum to 13. 

8. Swift also plays on the number 19, the first half of the album title: Los Angeles was the 19th stop of the first U.S. leg, with Glendale, Arizona being the very first night.

9. On Aug. 9, the day of the announcement, Taylor Nation made fans itching for the answer even more with another cryptic Instagram post: “53 shows, 20 cities, 10 Eras, 5 months, and 1 thing’s for sure…” Of course, Swifties were fast to add these numbers up and realize that they summed to 89. At this point, Swifties could not calm down.

10. That same day, Swift replaced her typical Eras Tour outfits for the “1989,” “Speak Now,” “folklore,” “Midnights” and acoustic sets with monochromatic blue outfits. As Swift sings in “Delicate,” Oh damn, never seen that color blue — which certainly was true, as these outfits had previously matched the colors of their respective albums instead.

A true "mastermind": Unpacking 13 of Taylor Swift's "1989 (Taylor's Version)" Easter eggs

Swift replaced her typical outfits with blue versions on the final night of the tour. (Photos: Wikimedia Commons)

11. The night before the announcement, attendees’ light-up bracelets had flashed in blue five times after the concert. At this point, most of the stadium knew what was going on already — five times for the fifth album, and blue as the album’s symbolic color. Her fans could certainly see it with the lights out.

12. Moments before Swift announced the big news to the attendees at the tour, fans noticed that Swift’s website had been updated to fit the “1989” aesthetic, with shades of pastel blues and beachy imagery replacing the “Midnights” layout from before, seagulls flying across the page to greet website visitors. At this point, it was clear that Swift gave so many signs.

13. Every night, Swift performs two surprise songs from her discography during the acoustic set of the show. Besides making the friendship bracelets and tasting the moment, Swifties attending and following the tour also find joy in tracking the surprise songs that Swift has yet to perform. The day of the announcement, Swift had just one song left unperformed from “1989″: “New Romantics,” which many consider to be the anthem of the album. At this point, her fans were convinced that Swift was saving this song for Aug. 9, the last day of the tour’s first leg. Of course, they were right, as Swift performed this song as one of the surprise songs that night. As the lyrics in “New Romantics” suggest, “The rumors are terrible and cruel / But honey, most of them are true.” In this case, the “1989” rumors certainly were.

A true "mastermind": Unpacking 13 of Taylor Swift's "1989 (Taylor's Version)" Easter eggs

Vivian and her friend attended the second night of the Los Angeles stop of the tour on Aug. 4. (Photos: VIVIAN WANG/The Stanford Daily)

Taylor Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” comes out on Oct. 27, 2023, exactly nine years after her original release of “1989” in 2014. Along with millions of other Swifties, I’m already counting down the days until she releases the album, but… who’s counting?

Italicized phrases are references to Taylor Swift’s lyrics and song titles.