First, she orchestrated a weeks-long countdown with no clear indication of what she was counting down to. That was coupled with all kinds of easter eggs and hints for her die-hard fans, even as she switched up the look of the images on her Instagram page to more pastel Spring-like colors.
Fans began to speculate that she was talking about a full album -- or even a clothing line -- but it turns out it was all about building hype for this new single ... and the inevitable album that will contain it.
Swift herself broke the news in an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts Thursday night. And while it has a narcissistic-sounding title, Swift told Roberts that it's really about self-empowerment and positivity.
"It's about embracing your individuality and celebrating it and owning it," she said. "With a pop song, we have the ability to get a melody stuck in people's heads. I just want it to be one that makes them feel better about themselves."
Then, in the hours leading up to the big reveal, Swift took to YouTube to try and answer fan questions in real life while nearly 70,000 fans waited for the new single's release. She quickly realized she may have been in over her head, as she pointed out in this adorable video.
As for the mysterious "Track 5" fans were asking about, Swift didn't provide any answers in her short video break, but she did promise she answered it during the session if anyone was quick enough to see it during the mad scroll.
In fact, Swift perfectly summed up the feeling of watching that scroll in the hold image she used before the video went live. We feel your pain, girl!
As for the video itself, it was filled with gorgeous pastel imagery, but the most striking moment for fans came right at the beginning as a snake transformed into butterflies to kick off the whole thing. That and Taylor and Brendon daring to fight in front of their "girls," otherwise known as Taylor's two adorable cats.
The whole thing was a surreal bubblegum trip into a wild dreamscape with several costume changes for both singers and kitschy lyrics like, "You can't spell awesome without ME!" But perhaps the biggest takeaway from the whole thing is how uplifting and positive it is.
Swift has gone to some dark places in her music, working through relationship hurts and even the stings and barbs thrown at her own reputation over the years. Could this be a symbol of a bright and happier outlook on life for the singer? If so, this next album could be as markedly different from her recent releases as they were from her country beginnings.
After midnight, fans immediately got Taylor Swift's bold move and new direction trending as they shared and reacted to it in real-time. It's a bold statement to go up against what may be the most anticipated film of all time on its premiere day, but if anyone has the industry clout to do it, it just might be Swift.
OK, I'm pretty sure this is the Dixie Chicks on the wall. First single is a duet. New theory: the whole album is collabs, next single will feature Dixie Chicks. Maybe album is titled ME! and YOU!, you bring the duet partners. #TaylorSwiftTONIGHT pic.twitter.com/RqODTfos1o