The TS7 era has officially begun, and it's all about "ME!"
Taylor Swift's much-hyped new single arrived on Friday (April 26) and features noted Swiftie Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco (because apparently once you bring Urie into a project, you'd better tack on some exclamation points as well). "ME!" is a bubbly, buoyant lesson in self-love, confidence, and awesomeness, marking a stark turn from Swift's polarizing sixth album, reputation.
The video — which Swift co-directed with Dave Meyers — opens on a slithering pink snake that bursts into a flock of butterflies, signifying what you probably already know: she's shed her skin, let go of her grudges, and is ready to have fun again. And the rest of the video is super fun! After a French-speaking spat with Urie, the two dance around a pastel-soaked town while affirming, "I'm the only one of me" and "you can't spell awesome without me." Indeed, Taylor's back and she seems to be happier than ever.
Swift announced "ME!" just hours before its release, during an interview with Robin Roberts that aired live on ABC. She told Roberts, "‘ME!’ is a song about embracing your individuality and really celebrating it and owning it. I think that with a pop song, we have the ability to get a melody stuck in people’s heads, and I just want it to be one that makes them feel better about themselves."
The release of "ME!" follows months of endless clues, theories, and speculation about Swift's new era. She switched up her Instagram aesthetic earlier this year, ditching the reputation-era snakes in favor of something resembling a Lisa Frank mood board: rainbow hues, palm trees, glitter, butterflies, and heart-shaped diamonds filled her feed. Then, last week, she launched a countdown clock, counting down to April 26. (That, of course, is the same day Avengers: Endgame hits theaters, but Swift isn't afraid of a little publicity competition, it seems.)
Finally, in the hours before Thursday's announcement, Swift dropped heavier and heavier hints, posting photos of herself captioned with "ME!" and with butterfly emojis. She also shared pics and videos of her visiting a butterfly-winged mural she commissioned in Nashville that has "ME!" written in block letters.
In her interview with Roberts, Swift said she's inspired by dedicated fans who have been patiently waiting for new music from her. "I can't believe how much they care," she said. "It makes it more fun for me to create music videos knowing they'll care about little easter eggs or clues or hints."
So, Swifties, you heard our girl: Get to work mining "ME!" for clues!