A pop phenomenon and lyric wizard once said, “Karma is real.” That was Taylor Swift in 2016 when asked by Vogue what she believed to be the most important lesson in life.
Six years later, it seems Swift continues to believe in karma. Swift initially revealed her 10th studio album would explore the subjects and thoughts of sleepless nights across her life. “Midnights” does just that, revealing some of her strongest insecurities, addressing engagement rumors and fueling longtime fan theories with tracks like “Karma.”
Taylor Swift fans have been talking about ‘Karma’ for a while
The idea of “Karma” has an outsize place in the Taylor Swift universe, thanks to a prevalent fan theory. It all goes back to 2017, when Swift released the music video to “Look What You Made Me Do,” the lead single from her album “Reputation.”
The last couple of minutes from the video feature Swift dressed up as “old versions” of herself (or in the style of past eras), standing in front of an airplane spray-painted with the word “Reputation.” One of the Swifts, wearing a palm tree-themed outfit, cuts off the wings to the plane labeled “TS6,” and spray paints the word “reputation” on it.
Fans theorized that Swift, with this subtle action, alluded to a sixth album (TS6) that was scrapped in the wake of her fallout with Ye and Kim Kardashian over Ye’s song lyrics about her (and that phone call) in 2016, which led to a year-long hiatus from the spotlight. This album would have come between “1989” and “Reputation.” Instead, fans think it was replaced with “Reputation.”
And they put a name on the rumored “lost album” in 2019, when Swift released her music video for “The Man” from her “Lover” album/
“Lover” marked her first album release after her departure from Big Machine Records, which resulted in a dispute about the ownership of her music catalog between label record founder Scott Borchetta, and new owner Scooter Braun.
“The Man” features a scene with all of Swift’s Big Machine Records albums graffitied on the wall along with the word (you guessed it) “Karma.” Next to the words a sign reads “MISSING: IF FOUND RETURN TO TAYLOR SWIFT.”
To no Swiftie’s surprise, the easter eggs did not stop there. Swift continued making reference to the karma theory, from her longtime friend Blake Lively re-creating “The Man” wall scene on the set of the “I Bet You Think About Me” music video to mischievously laughing when revealing the title of the track during her “Midnights Mayhem With Me” series. After all, Swift did say, “The world moves on … but not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma.”
So, is ‘Karma’ the song about ‘Karma’ the theory?
“Karma” is about an unbothered state of mind. During an interview with “New Music Daily” on Apple Music, Swift said the song was one she loved as it was written from “a perspective of feeling really happy, really proud of the way your life is, feeling like this must be a reward for doing stuff right.”
The song opens with Swift singing,“You’re terrified to look down, ‘cause if you dare, you’ll see the glare of everyone you burned just to get there, it’s coming back around.”
This helps explain the peaceful feeling behind the chorus where Swift sings, “Karma is the breeze in my hair on the weekend, Karma’s a relaxing thought, Aren’t you envious that for you it’s not?”
The bridge alludes to difficult times in the public eye — likely in the scrutiny she faced in 2016. (In “Lavender Haze”, she sings, “I’ve been under scrutiny / You handled it beautifully”).
After all that, she’s bothered — but has an ominous message for people who haven’t behaved in a way that karma will favor: “Ask me what I learned from all those years, ask me what I earned from all those tears, ask me why so many fade, but I’m still here … Karma’s gonna track you down.”
The lyrics resemble those she sang in “Long Story Short” from “Evermore,” where she tells listeners, “Not to get lost in these petty things, your nemesis will defeat themselves before you get the chance to swing.”
Finally, Swift concludes by singing, “Karma is the guy on the screen coming straight home to me.” Despite all the guitar string scars on her hand, Swift greets karma as a friend who has rewarded her with a “lavender haze” type of love.
So, uh, is the lost album real?
It’s just a question Swifties have been asking for years now. While Swift didn’t release a supposed “Karma” album this Friday, fans believe the song along with the re-recording trajectory she’s been on, is one step closer to potentially getting a lost “TS6” one day.
Plus, we cannot forget Swift’s 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, where she talked about planting project easter eggs years in advance.
“All I started thinking of was, ‘How do I hint at things, like how far is too far in advance?,” Swift said. “Can I hint at something three years in advance? Can I even plan things out that far? I think I’m going to try to do it.”
Perhaps Swifties have more sleepless nights ahead of them.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com