An interview with ABC's Robin Roberts at the NFL Draft in Nashville confirmed that new music was imminent and, at midnight, Swift released both a new song, "ME!" featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco, and an accompanying video, directed by Dave Meyers and Swift herself.
As of late, Swift's turned her attention to the political. Back in October, she made her first outright political statement on social media (apart from a noncommittal, nonpartisan "Today is the day. Go out and VOTE." post on the day of the 2016 presidential election, which has since been deleted), voicing her support for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, who was ultimately defeated by Marsha Blackburn. In the same Instagram post, she also endorsed Democratic candidate Jim Cooper in his race to represent Tennessee's 5th District in the House. During the run-up to Election Day, Swift continued to encourage voter turnout, sharing posts from fans at the polls on the Instagram Stories feature.
Compared to reputation's reptilian rollout — will the snake emoji ever be the same? — the ramp-up to Swift's next era has been marked by a pastel palette, complete with a custom Instagram filter.
"'ME!' is a song about embracing your individuality and really celebrating it and owning it," Swift told Roberts.
The video, with cotton candy-colored pantsuits and marching band attire, is a whimsical affair in contrast to the darker shades Swift preferred in promotional materials for her last record. It seems that the stark, performatively goth Taylor may be dead after all?
Correction April 26, 2019
A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Marsha Blackburn as Martha Blackburn.