Taylor Swift Confesses That Her 1st Singles Are Usually Red Herrings

Fans of Taylor Swift know that she is the queen of easter eggs. The Lover artist painstakingly drops hints and clues for her fans about upcoming songs and projects to discover and uncover. Most recently, Swifties were convinced that the “You Belong With Me” singer would be releasing her new song “The Man” as her next single on her birthday. Swift has been extremely candid about how much time and effort she puts into crafting songs and albums. But, she recently revealed that the first single that she releases for a new album typically doesn’t reflect the overall sound and feel of the album.

Taylor Swift performs songs from Lover at Jingle Ball
Taylor Swift | Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

ME! doesn’t really reflect Lover

With 18 songs on the album, Lover is Swift’s longest album to date. With a myriad of themes, all falling under the umbrella of love, picking her first single for her seventh studio album was likely painstakingly difficult for Swift. The 30-year-old songstress landed on “ME!” an upbeat duet featuring Panic! at the Disco’s Brandon Urie. Though the song was well-liked by Swifties, once they had the context of the rest of the album, it seemed like an odd choice for the first single. Sound-wise “ME!” didn’t really sound like the rest of Lover. But, according to Swift, that’s exactly the point.

Getting candid with Billboard

In a recent interview with Billboard, Swift shared that her first singles are generally red herrings because she doesn’t want her fans to feel like they completely understand an album before they’ve even listened to it. By definition, a red herring is typically a clue that is intentionally distracting or misleading. In releasing singles this way, Swift has become somewhat of a magician with her craft, constantly subverting the music industry’s expectations of her. But, Lover wasn’t the first time that she did this with her first single. Swift intentionally used this tactic in her 1989 and Reputation eras as well.

Taylor Swift is a self-proclaimed staunch purist

“Shake It Off” is nothing like the rest of 1989. It’s almost like I feel so much pressure with a first single that I don’t want the first single to be something that makes you feel like you’ve figured out what I’ve made on the rest of the project. I still truly believe in albums, whatever form you consume them in — if you want to stream them or buy them or listen to them on vinyl. And I don’t think that makes me a staunch purist. I think that that is a strong feeling throughout the music industry. We’re running really fast toward a singles industry, but you got to believe in something. I still believe that albums are important,” the Lover artist confessed about her love of a complete body of work.

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Why Swift’s first singles are usually red herrings

Swift continued on to share that she uses her singles as a jumping-off point to get fans and listeners interested in investigating an album further. This technique has been working extremely well for Swift if her album sales are to be taken into consideration. “There are a lot of red herrings and bait-and-switches in the choices that I’ll make with albums, because I want people to go and explore the body of work. You can never express how you feel over the course of an album in a single, so why try?” Swift continued. Once again, Swift has proven that she’s not only a gifted lyricist but extremely talented at marketing and PR also. It will be interesting to see what the 30-year-old gets up to next.