If you haven’t heard from your Swiftie friends recently, don’t worry about them — they’re just working too hard on a crossword puzzle to do anything else right now. Legendary trickster Taylor Swift posted a video to her social media accounts of random letters flying out of a red vault, sending her fans into a word scramble frenzy as they attempted to figure out what they mean in relation to the pop star’s upcoming release Red (Taylor’s Version).
At this point, though, her fans know the drill — Swift also posted a similar video before the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version), and Swifties were quick to reorder the seemingly random letters into the song names that would appear on the album. Similar to that teaser, this new video seems to hold titles that Swift wrote back in the early 2010s Red era but didn’t include on the original issue of the album. But this time, Swift stepped up her game by putting the words into a word search rather than single word jumbles.
And though Swift works hard, Swifties — some of whom work at Billboard — work harder. Below is everything we’ve uncovered from the Red (Taylor’s Version) word search.
The word “feat” was hidden in the word search three times, so you know what that means: at least three guests are likely going to appear on the Red (Taylor’s Version) tracklist. One of those three is Ed Sheeran, who’s as quintessential to the Red era as the scarf Taylor left at Maggie Gyllenhaal’s house. The “Bad Habits” singer not only collaborated on fan-favorite Red track “Everything Has Changed” in 2012, he also embarked on Swift’s world tour in support of the album as an opener.
Two other big names were thrown into the mix as well. That word in the second to last row doesn’t just say “Bridge”… it says “Bridgers!” And down in the bottom left it doesn’t just read “staple”… it’s actually “Stapleton.” These, plus the vertical spellings of “Phoebe” and “Chris,” can only mean one thing: the indie rock queen and country powerhouse will lend their voices to Taylor’s version of Red.
Songs we’ve heard before
A few of the teaser’s song titles have already been released in some form or another. We’ve heard “Better Man,” for instance, because Swift gave it to Little Big Town to record for their album The Breaker in 2017. Now, we get to hear an official recording of the track from the three-time album of the year winner herself. Same goes for “Babe,” which she gave to Sugarland in 2018.
Also on the list is “Ronan,” a devastating track about a family Swift met online. Maya Thompson documented her experience of raising her four-year-old son Ronan, who died in 2011 from neuroblastoma, on a blog that Swift followed closely. She felt so connected to Thompson, Ronan and their story that when Ronan passed away, she wrote a song in honor of him — a song that Swift only performed once or twice and never released on an album.
Finally, six very important words dotted the word search, creating possibly the most exciting phrase for veteran Red fans: “All Too Well Ten Minute Version.”
“All Too Well,” the fifth track off the original record, is one of Swift’s most critically acclaimed songs. She’s long been open about the fact that it started out as a ten-minute-long ballad before she shortened it with co-writer Liz Rose. Swifties have spent the last decade begging their idol to hand over the original version, and at long last, the sacred time has come. This isn’t the first instance she’s teased putting out the long-awaited version, though: “This will be the first time you hear all 30 songs that were meant to go on Red,” she wrote in a June Instagram post. “And hey, one of them is even ten minutes long.”
Finally, there’s the mix of totally new words that Swifties are spending the most time agonizing over. Who knows which are standalone words and which are supposed to be combined with others to form the full song title? Here’s the list of words Billboard found while taking a shot at Taylor’s “casually cruel” conundrum:
And here’s a few possible phrases made out of those words:
Message in a Bottle
Want You/You Want
Nothing About You
That’s all for now, detectives. We’ll check back in when Swift leaves a cipher, a ransom note or whatever clue comes next.