The burning question on everyone’s mind is: What’s Taylor Swift’s next move? What uncharted territory will she explore next? What frontiers are left for her to conquer? What partnerships remain unformed, and what puzzles has she not yet masterminded? Well, as of today, her latest endeavor involves taking over Google with a series of enigmatic challenges that will ultimately reveal the hidden tracks from her 1989 album “From the Vault.”
Here’s how it functions: When you search for “Taylor Swift” on Google, you might come across a small vault animation (although this isn’t guaranteed every time, as I can attest from personal experience). Clicking on this vault reveals a word puzzle on your screen. These puzzles range from extremely broad themes like “love” to incredibly obscure ones like “sheep” with the hint “impossible to reason with,” referring to an old Instagram post from 2015.
The solutions to these word puzzles aren’t the titles of the 1989 “From the Vault” tracks. Instead, when you enter the answers in the search bar, they contribute to unlocking the actual titles of these tracks. According to Google’s blog, there are a total of 89 puzzles, and the Vault titles will only be revealed when a collective 33 million puzzles are solved (Taylor Swift is, famously, 33 years old). So far, only a little over 365,000 puzzles have been solved, which means there’s a lot more puzzling to be done to unlock those five tracks.
To ease the burden on her dedicated fans, Taylor Swift generously decided to release one track directly on social media. However, even this isn’t straightforward, as the letters flying out of the vault can be rearranged to spell either “SLUT!” or “LUST!” Given her history and feminist stance during the original 1989 era, “Lust” seems to be the more likely interpretation. But Swift is definitely making her Swifties work for this one. As she aptly put it, “You can tell me when the *search* is over… if the high was worth the pain,” in her caption.
???? | The official “1989 (TV)” VAULT ????????pic.twitter.com/9VrpM1F6RN— Taylor Swift Facts (@blessedswifty) September 19, 2023
Taylor Swift has always been fond of Easter eggs, but her recent use of clues and codes has reached astonishing levels. She has trained her fans well for moments like these, as their tenacity and collective intelligence have historically proven to be a formidable force. This particular puzzle is especially challenging, though, as Google hasn’t provided clear guidelines on what constitutes “solving” the puzzle. Does searching for just “sheep,” for instance, count toward the Swifties’ 33 million total, or must it specifically be “Taylor Swift sheep”?
Regardless of how long it takes fans to crack all the codes, there’s a strong suspicion that there’s a deeper motive behind this elaborate puzzle. Having broken numerous records, including some that were previously unimaginable, it’s possible that Taylor Swift is now aiming to become the most Googled person of the year (or perhaps ever). Her name is already trending on the platform, and it’s likely to continue as the puzzles persist.
In any case, best of luck to those dedicated Swifties diligently working on the vault puzzle today. Others may choose to wait it out, but one thing’s for sure: come October 27, we’ll have five new Taylor Swift tracks, whether you’ve put in the intellectual effort or not.