How to talk to a Taylor Swift fan — especially when new 'TTPD' album drops Friday (2024)

Taylor Swift’s latest album, the "The Tortured Poets Department" — or TTPD, on social media — is expected to drop first thing Friday, just after midnight in the Eastern time zone. And maybe, you’re not a Swiftie — and have never, ever, ever listened to her music.

But if you know a Swiftie — your child, spouse, friend, or someone you’d like to get to know better — and want to be able to engage in conversation, here’s a short guide that, if it's the only thing you read, could help you out.

This isn't an all-you-need-to know guide to Tay-Tay, but it offers just enough information so maybe you can keep up, or at least avoid an awkward slew of questions — like, for starters, "Who’s Tay-Tay?" — that tends to end with the person you are trying to impress replying: "It’s just too much to explain."

Ready for it?

Yeah, that’s a line from one of her songs. There are a lot of those.

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

So who is Tay-Tay?

Swift — and her international army of fans, who call themselves Swifties, note, not Swiftys — have a lot of nicknames for their favorite artist, who many consider a poetic genius. Tay-Tay is one nickname. There are many others for the 34-year-old.

How to talk to a Taylor Swift fan — especially when new 'TTPD' album drops Friday (1)

Parade magazine, in December, reported at least 15 of them, including: Blondie, T.Swizzle, T.Swift., T.S., Becky, Nils Sjoberg, Miss Americana, Teffy, and Cat Lady. Fans also call her Mother. There’s a backstory behind each one, but now, when you hear some of them, you'll know they are all references to Swift.

Why do fans love her?

There’s a lot online about how Swift songs have struck a chord over the years with a segment of America, especially, it seems, girls and young women. One explanation for why her songs resonate is because they often express deep emotions that are difficult to openly discuss.

Among them: love, heartbreak, and the angst of adolescence and adulthood. Some fans have developed a whole lexicon out of Swift lyrics. A kind of shorthand that, if you aren’t a Swiftie, you won’t understand at first or, perhaps, ever.

Swift has created a frenzy with her lyrics, music videos, and social media posts with Easter Eggs — hidden clues — that usually reference or help explain her past work or hint at future songs. On "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," she talked about trying to hint at things three years in advance.

She has also mentioned needing a PDF file to track the "psychotic amount" of Easter eggs in her "Bejeweled" music video. Fans devour every offering and dissect them endlessly with each other.

XiXi Alexander — a 16-year-old Swiftie from Huntington Woods — said she has been planning a "drop party" with friends at her house for at least a month to listen to the new songs. She became a fan, she said, during the pandemic and at a time in her life when music helped her cope with a feeling of isolation.

"I like how much time and effort she puts into her songs. I love the deep meaning in her songs," XiXi said, adding that everyone knows Swift sings about romance, but really, the songs are about her memories. "I feel very connected to her music because I understand what she’s talking about."

She gave some examples: One song, "You’re on Your Own, Kid," is about growing up, and a feeling that "it’s only you in the world," XiXi said, adding that it captures the feeling of being a teenager. "You are going through grades, and all these things that no one really knows about, and you feel like you’re on your own."

Another Swift song, "Marjorie," is a tribute to Swift’s grandmother, opera singer Marjorie Finlay, and her memories of her before she died. XiXi said her own grandmother, Betty Doyle, recently died and Swift's lines about "stopping time, and taking moments back," helped her get in touch with her own feelings.

Sometimes, XiXi said, her parents — who aren’t fans — just don’t get Swift lyrics. She had to explain what "You drew stars around my scars / But now I’m bleedin' " meant to her mom, "and break it down for her." It's about, XiXi said, things that can make you feel amazing, but later hurt.

As for XiXi’s Swift obsession, XiXi's mom, Jennifer Alexander, said she and her husband, Shawn, indulge or "tolerate it" — yeah, another Swift song — because they believe Swift is "a good role model for young girls." And Jennifer Alexander jokes that she just doesn’t want to "get super close" and then "have a song written about me."

It is a remark, that shows Alexander may know a little bit more about Swift than her daughter thinks she does because the superstar has a penchant for writing revenge songs about ex-boyfriends after bad breakups and about her critics.

Which brings us to another name you'll hear a lot in the next week: Joe Alywn. He's Swift's former English actor boyfriend of six years, and co-wrote some songs with her. Many speculate lyrics of some "TTPD" songs may be about him and their relationship.

How to talk to a Taylor Swift fan — especially when new 'TTPD' album drops Friday (2)

Some early leaks Thursday that, if true, suggest some Matty Healy references on the album. Swift supposedly dated Healy, another English songwriter and lead singer of the band The 1975, for a moment; but, really, is something to impress the super Swifties, who probably know the designer of each Eras Tour outfit.

How to talk to a Taylor Swift fan — especially when new 'TTPD' album drops Friday (3)

What are the eras?

There is, for the uninitiated, an entire Swift vocabulary, that as you learn it, allows you to speak in a kind of code with other Swifties. Eras are albums. But each one is distinct with a group of songs that have a different theme and sound.

With each era, Swift has reinvented herself.

Since some of her songs are autobiographical, it’s challenging to separate Swift from her music. Her eras: Her debut album, "Taylor Swift," followed by "Fearless," "Speak Now," "Red," "1989," "Reputation," "Lover," "Folklore," "Evermore" and "Midnights."

So if you want an opening line to start a conversation with a Swiftie? You can ask: “What’s your favorite era?” Just be prepared if, after the response, the Swiftie politely — or perhaps enthusiastically — turns the question on you: “What’s yours?”

You'll need an answer.

If you don’t know what to say, go with "Reputation," because — to many fans — that album is all about Swift standing up for herself, so much so that releasing your “reputation era” album has become slang for getting backlash.

What’s with the number 13?

Thirteen is Swift’s favorite number, and in concerts, you might see it painted on her hand.

"I was born on the 13th. I turned 13 on Friday the 13th. My first album went gold in 13 weeks. My first No. 1 song had a 13-second intro," she toldJay Leno in 2009. "Every time I’ve won an award I’ve been seated in either the 13th seat, the 13th row, the 13th section, or row M, which is the 13th letter. Basically, whenever a 13 comes up in my life, it’s a good thing."

Sirius XM even plays her music nonstop on, you guessed it, Channel 13.

What’s with 'Taylor’s version' or TV?

"Taylor's version" has to do with business, music ownership rights — and, you could make a case, for smart marketing. Over the last few years, Swift has had to re-release versions of her early albums over a dispute about who owns the music rights.


Well, when she was a teen, she signed a contract that gave the recording label ownership of her original recordings and performances. Instead of trying to buy them back, she re-recorded them, which are now known as "Taylor’s version."

What’s the deal with Travis Kelce?

There are entire social media and internet threads on Swift’s ex-boyfriends and speculation about which songs are about which guys. Her latest beau is Travis Kelce, the bearded Kansas City Chief, who, at games, has flashed her two-handed heart signs.

How to talk to a Taylor Swift fan — especially when new 'TTPD' album drops Friday (4)

There was talk about friendship bracelets — a Swiftie thing that Kelce supposedly used to signal his interest in the superstar — and talk from haters about how, last year, Swift’s presence at games eclipsed NFL game coverage.

The latest rumors on the Swift-Kelce romance? They might move in together.

But, not to get too carried away, Swift has a lot of songs about relationships that didn’t work out.

So who is Swift, really?

There also are a lot of opinions on her, ranging those that conclude she's a vapid, blonde megastar who writes songs to those that contend she's a legit poet and fierce fighter for women’s empowerment. There’s an entire documentary on Swift, "Miss Americana," — and one of her nicknames.

And some young fans consider her to be a kind of second mother, thus, another of her nicknames.

You can, of course, spend hours — which some fans obviously do ― tracking down every detail of her life.

But here’s a summary:

Taylor Alison Swift was born in West Reading, Pennsylvania. She’s named after singer James Taylor. Her father was a stockbroker and her mother was a marketing executive. She has a younger brother, Austin. She supposedly spent time on a Pennsylvania Christmas tree farm and a New Jersey vacation home.

She started with country music. Her family helped her career by moving to Nashville.

At 11, she would hand out demo tapes to recording labels and was rejected from all of them. At 12, she took guitar lessons. At 16, she sang the National Anthem in Ford Field on Thanksgiving day, she later recalled she was nervous.

How to talk to a Taylor Swift fan — especially when new 'TTPD' album drops Friday (5)

More:Taylor Swift and Detroit: The story of a budding star and her early, key Motor City links

In addition to singing and songwriting, she briefly was an Abercrombie & Fitch model.

In 2009, Swift and rapper Kanye West — who has since changed his name — got into a dustup at the MTV Video Music Awards. West interrupted Swift’s speech. There seemed to be a reconciliation, but then more feuding, which in part inspired the "Reputation" album.

Last summer, she performed her Eras Tour concert at Ford Field.

Swift also was Time magazine's 2023 Person of the Year, the second time, actually she was mentioned for the honor. For her magazine cover in December, she’s featured with a cat, an animal fans know she adores, around her neck.

The first time she was named as a Person of the Year was in 2017. She was included with a group of recognized as "Silence Breakers," women who inspired many others to use their voices to speak out against sexual misconduct.

Swift been touted as the most-played artist globally on Spotify. She headed the first tour to bring in more than $1 billion, and has taken a stand, politically, urging people to vote and speaking out on women’s reproductive rights.

Her next album, of course, gives fans more to talk — and sing — about, and, while you might not be entirely caught up on Swift, you now won't be entirely left out, unless you want to be, of Friday's biggest conversation.

Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or

How to talk to a Taylor Swift fan — especially when new 'TTPD' album drops Friday (2024)


What is the most unpopular Taylor Swift album? ›

"Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" For much of Swift's career, "Speak Now" was her most underrated album. Sandwiched between the commercial juggernaut "Fearless" and the fan-favorite "Red," it seemed to fly under the radar for many of her casual listeners. The "Speak Now" lore is essential to note.

How can I meet Taylor Swift? ›

Buy a VIP ticket to her concert.

Music celebrities, like Taylor Swift, often host a “meet and greet” before or after their concert. This is a time where fans can meet and take pictures with the celebrity. Although VIP tickets tend to be pretty expensive, they may be worth it if it means being able to meet Taylor Swift.

How do I contact Taylor Swift? ›

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to contact Taylor Swift by email:
  1. Compose a new email in your preferred email client.
  2. Enter "" in the recipient field.
  3. In the subject line, briefly summarize the purpose of your email.

What are fans of Taylor Swift called? ›

Swift stated in a 2012 Vevo interview that her fans call themselves "Swifties", which she found "adorable". Swift filed the term for trademark in March 2017.

What is Taylor Swift's favorite candy? ›

We've heard that Squashies are Taylor Swift's favorite candy, so of course these chewy delights from the UK are our favorite candy too! Now at the shop! Our address: 7833 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, MD 20814.

What is Taylor Swift's favorite meal? ›

Her comfort food is cheeseburgers, fries, and a chocolate shake. Tay also shared this with Vogue, noting that this would be her go-to order at a drive-through. For longtime fans, this isn't a surprise: She told WebMD in 2010 that her comfort foods are a burger and fries, ice cream, and homemade cookies.

Who is Taylor Swift's best friend? ›

Her work has previously appeared on Elle, HGTV and Backstage. Taylor Swift brought some of her closest pals to watch her boyfriend Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs compete in the 2024 Super Bowl, including her best friend Ashley Avignone.

What's Taylor Swift's favorite color? ›

Taylor Swift's fav color... Fandom. When? She said at the Eras tour, when she performed Enchanted, it was Purple, which inspired the theme for the song!

Does Taylor Swift sell meet and greets? ›

Swift does not tend to do paid meet and greets at her concerts. In the past she has had her team, and her mum, choose dedicated fans from the crowd to meet her backstage after the show. For her previous tour this was called the Rep Room. However the star doesn't seem to have revived this for her current tour.

Does Taylor respond to fan mail? ›

Taylor Swift doesn't officially accept fan mail.

With her rise to fame and the progression of social media, Taylor has traded traditional fan mail for DMs and social media posts. However, some Swifties speculate there are still ways to send her messages the old-fashioned way. Try sending a letter to these addresses.

Is Taylor Swift a billionaire? ›

The financial news outlet said she is the first artist to achieve billionaire status solely on the basis of her music, and estimated she has a $1.1 billion fortune.

Who is Taylor Swift's brother? ›

Austin Kingsley Swift (born March 11, 1992) is an American producer, businessman, and actor who has appeared in films such as Live by Night and I.T.

What does 13 mean for Taylor Swift fans? ›

Taylor has said that whenever she has won an award, she has been seated in row 13 or row M, which is the thirteenth letter. When she 'Tay-lurks', she goes to a fan's livestream and comments 13 emojis. She says that if she sees a 13, it'll bring her luck, but if she sees no number 13 that day, she'll lose.

Who is the biggest Swiftie? ›

Cameron Diaz said she knows who Taylor Swift's biggest fan is. The actress told Jimmy Fallon, during Wednesday's appearance on The Tonight Show, that her friend and fellow actress Tiffany Haddish is the “biggest Swiftie ever.”

What's the average age of Taylor Swift fans? ›

While 45 per cent of Swift's US fans are millennials — like the 34-year-old herself — 21 per cent are Gen X and 25 per cent are Boomers, according to a 2023 survey. That means nearly half of her millions of fans are likely over 45. Middle-aged Swifties aren't shy about their adoration.

What is Taylor Swift's most unpopular song? ›

"It's Nice to Have a Friend" is one of the most divisive songs in Taylor's discography — you either love it or skip it.

What's the least popular Taylor Swift song? ›

These Taylor Swift Songs Are Her Least-Streamed Ever — Should They Be More Popular?
  • "It's Nice to Have a Friend" ...
  • "closure" ...
  • "Innocent" Republic Records. ...
  • "Sad Beautiful Tragic" Republic Records. ...
  • "The Outside" Big Machine Records. ...
  • "Labyrinth" Republic Records. ...
  • "This Love" Republic Records. ...
  • Finally, "epiphany" Taylor Swift.
Oct 26, 2023

What is Taylor Swift's most underrated? ›

Getting to the #1 most underrated song: Holy Ground (Red)

To make sure he was on the right track, Andrew asked other Swifties what their #1 most underrated Taylor Swift song was. To Andrew's delight, two co-workers said Holy Ground. Getting this qualitative feedback let Andrew know he was on the right track.

What is the most loved Taylor Swift album? ›

Ranked: Taylor Swift's Greatest Albums
  • Reputation (2017)
  • Taylor Swift (2006)
  • evermore (2020)
  • Fearless (2008 and 2021)
  • Midnights (2022)
  • Speak Now (2010)
  • Red (2012 and 2021)
  • Lover (2019)
Apr 11, 2024

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