When it comes to high-profile drama, much of this year’s news belonged to an unlikely subject: Taylor Swift.
While the pop princess is no stranger to the spotlight (lest we forget, Tay-Tay is the recipient of no less than 10 Grammys), this year the buzz has been dominated by headlines about her personal life—a dramatic split from Calvin Harris, the subsequent foray into the cultural fascination known as Hiddleswift and a phone call with Kanye West that kicked off a major controversy.
Gone are the days when baking a cake from an Ina Garten recipe at her annual 4th of July bash or a girl’s night out with the squad would be enough to make headlines for T. Swift. But if history has taught us anything about Taylor, it’s that nothing gets her creative juices flowing like some emotional distress—especially a high-profile breakup or bad blood between frenemies.
New music seems likely, with many Swifties pointing to a drop on October 23. While there’s no guarantee that we’ll be hearing a new album on that particular date, the Internet has more than a few theories on why we should keep our eyes peeled for an album as October draws to a close.
She’s got music gigs lined up: Shows are usually a prelude to or a performance of new music, but it’s been 2 years since Swift released her last album. However, Swift signed on to do a pre-Super Bowl performance (the half-time performance will go to Lady Gaga, whose album Joanne is set to drop this month) in February and the Grand Prix in Austin, Texas on October 22, the day before her album allegedly drops. These will be her first performances since ending the 1989 World Tour in December 2015.
October seems to be Taylor’s month of choice for album drops: It’s no big secret that Tay loves an autumnal stroll, pumpkin spice latte in hand and perhaps even Jake Gyllenhaal in tow, but she’s also chosen to release most of her studio albums during October — 4 out of 5, in fact. This probably has less to do with Taylor’s penchant for sweaters and falling leaves as it does with the fact that releasing an album during the fall can lead to major holiday sales — and seeing as how she was the highest-earning musician of last year, we know that T. Swift has her mind on her money. An album drop on October 23 would be right on-brand for Swift.
She has a history of releasing albums every two years: Swift does not belong to the Frank Ocean school of thought when it comes to dropping new music (that is, making your fans wonder for years on end if new music even exists). Instead, she’s always worked on a strict schedule, as evidenced by the fact that she’s released an album every two years since her eponymous debut: Taylor Swift, October 2006; Fearless, November 2008; Speak Now, October 2010; Red, October 2012; and 1989, October 2014.
Apparently, the numbers play a major factor: It’s a fact well-established that Swift’s favorite number is 13: She was born on December 13, her Twitter handle is @taylorswift13, her first album reached gold in 13 weeks, and she kicked off her Red tour on March 13, 2013, where she even drew the number on her hand before hitting the stage. Bless the Swiftie who went full Da Vinci Code on us and used the date of the album and their knowledge of Swift’s favorite number to provide evidence that we’ll be getting an album on October 23; if you list the date as 10/23/16, you can then add the numbers like this: 1+0+2+3+1+6, which is = 13! Is your mind exploding yet?
It’s the perfect stunt, which Camp Swift could use this year: One does not execute a career like Swift’s without some careful coordination. She’s a master of controlling her public narrative—but the receipts that Kim Kardashian West produced earlier this year were a rare hiccup. A surprise album drop is the perfect way to make the most of good publicity. Look no further than Beyoncé, whose dexterity in this arena is rivaled by none.