What is Tay­lor Swift plan­ning?

Swif­tian nar­ra­tive takes hold as singer emerges from self-im­posed ex­ile

Windsor Star - - YOU - EMILY YAHR

Tay­lor Swift is plan­ning some­thing.

The pop megas­tar has been no­tice­ably out of the spot­light since her pre-Su­per Bowl con­cert in early Fe­bru­ary to pro­mote a new deal with DirecTV. She hinted to the crowd that she was about to take a break: “As far as I know, I’m only do­ing one show in 2017, and as far as I know, this is that show. By com­ing to this show tonight, you are at­tend­ing 100 per cent of this year’s tour dates.”

After­ward, her ra­dio si­lence was im­me­di­ate. Swift was far off the grid, un­usual for a su­per­star usu­ally so thor­oughly present in the pub­lic con­scious­ness. Then, the gears of the Swift ma­chine started to grind.

In early March, close pal Ed Sheeran let it “slip” in an in­ter­view that Swift “prob­a­bly” would re­lease an al­bum at the end of the year. In April, En­ter­tain­ment Tonight re­ported Swift was in Nashville work­ing on new mu­sic, which re­port­edly would drop in late 2017. A cou­ple of weeks later, an anony­mous source who claimed to be a Nashville sound en­gi­neer told a Con­necti­cut coun­try ra­dio sta­tion he had heard Swift’s new songs, and they had a “coun­try” vibe.

But real alarm bells went off when Peo­ple magazine pub­lished a re­cent ex­clu­sive story ti­tled In­side Tay­lor Swift’s Con­scious Choice to Dis­ap­pear and Fo­cus on Her New Mu­sic. A name­less “source” said: “Tay­lor made the con­scious choice to dis­ap­pear,” the “source” said. “She was feel­ing over­ex­posed and like things were al­most spi­ralling out of con­trol. She’s be­ing low-key and se­cre­tive (right now), be­cause it makes her happy.”

(The story did not elab­o­rate that feel­ing “over­ex­posed” likely came from a high-pro­file re­la­tion­ship with Tom Hid­dle­ston last sum­mer that was fre­quently mocked for look­ing so staged, as well as the fall­out from Kim Kar­dashian post­ing the in­fa­mous Snapchat video of Swift’s phone call with Kanye West about his song Fa­mous. By Jan­uary, Swift couldn’t even tweet about the Women’s March on Wash­ing­ton with­out spark­ing back­lash.)

A few days later, Us Weekly splashed Swift on its cover, with the head­line, TAY­LOR: WHY SHE DIS­AP­PEARED. Be­neath it, the text summed things up: “Af­ter bad breakups, fan back­lash and a feud with Kimye, Swift went into hid­ing — but now she’s plan­ning a big come­back.”

Then, it ar­rived: TAY­LOR’S BRIT ON THE SLY, trum­peted the U.K. Sun, the same tabloid that first pub­lished the “kiss­ing on a rock” pho­tos of Swift and Hid­dle­ston last sum­mer. “Tay­lor Swift has se­cret Brit ac­tor boyfriend Joe Al­wyn and the pair have been dat­ing for months.” The tabloid added that Swift’s se­cu­rity team “has made it a mil­i­tary­like mis­sion to pre­vent her from be­ing seen” as she vis­its Al­wyn in the U.K.

Aside from the im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion (“Who?”), the news just raised more ques­tions. Swift made a con­certed ef­fort with her last al­bum, 1989, to move on from the nar­ra­tive that she only writes songs about her boyfriends. With a sud­den rush of sto­ries about her new mu­sic in the same week that it’s re­vealed she’s dat­ing some­one, doesn’t it seem like that’s ex­actly what’s she’s do­ing again?

Swift is a mas­ter at image man­age­ment — does she know how this looks? Does she care? Is all of this go­ing to tie to­gether for a big­ger rea­son, or is Swift just tak­ing baby steps back into the spot­light be­cause she’s a celebrity and that’s what they do?

If there’s one thing we know, Swift does ev­ery­thing for a rea­son — and it looks like we’ll only have a few more months to find out what it is.

EVAN AGOSTINI/INVISION/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS/FILES

Tay­lor Swift de­lib­er­ately made her­self scarce over the last few month, but ap­pears to be slowly re-emerg­ing in a time and a man­ner of her choos­ing.

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