Taylor Swift has always had a chokehold on TikTok. Her songs are responsible for many of the sounds that have trended on the app over the past couple of years. I could probably spend this entire article listing them off to you, but to name just a few examples: Evermore’s “Right Where You Left Me” gave us the iconic “I stayed there” trend: People reflected on revolutionary moments in their lives that have stuck with them. The song “Enchanted” from Swift’s fan-favorite album Speak Now gave TikTok the “Please don’t be in love with someone else” trend that allowed strangers to bond over the pain of an unrequited crush. One of my personal favorites comes from the song “Last Kiss” — also from Speak Now — using the heartbreaking lyrics, “So I’ll watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep” that users used to reflect on long-distance relationships and friendships.
The list goes on, and with the release of Swift’s new album, Midnights, in October, brand-new trends based off of her music have been sweeping through TikTok. So, let’s break down some of the most powerful trends born from Midnights.
TikTok Swifties prove they’re the real “Masterminds”
Throughout “Mastermind,” Swift sings about the carefully calculated plan she enacted to win over her current partner, claiming that none of it was accidental and that she meant for it to happen this way. In this funny, yet mildly alarming, trend, some TikTok users have begun to spill their guts about the crazy lengths they have gone to impress a crush. Fans have admitted to “accidentally” DMing their crush or stalking their crush’s Spotify before sharing their crush’s favorite songs on their social media accounts. While some of these stories are outlandish, many of them have worked, with some sharing that they and their crush are now dating or even married. It’s both humorous and heartwarming to see so many people, often young women, rallying around each other and bonding over the common experience of going to crazy lengths to get someone to notice you.
“It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.”
“Anti-Hero” is a trove of relatable lyrics about confronting your inner critic and coping with insecurities. We know that the one thing TikTok users love to do is take a song and spin it to be applicable to their own lives. Fans have been using this trend to reflect on the ways in which they are very much the problem. Swift actually partnered with YouTube Shorts to get this trend underway but, due to her fanbase’s dominance on TikTok, it ended up gaining traction there instead. Using the song, fans are confronting their own character flaws, whether harmless or more serious. Feeling like you’re your own worst enemy is incredibly common, and this trend allows TikTok users to find some common ground with others who struggle with constant self-criticism.
The “Bejeweled” Strut
In “Bejeweled,” Swift sings about the struggle of finding confidence when you feel like you’re being taken advantage of by a partner or friend. According to Swift, it’s much more important to “shimmer” than be overshadowed by someone who doesn’t appreciate you, and her fans seem to agree. What started with one creator’s dance has turned into a hilarious trend, giving each user the opportunity to strut their stuff for all of TikTok to see. Users from different sides of TikTok are participating in this trend. In fact, it’s gained so much popularity that Swift herself has seen it, which has only encouraged more Swifties to try it in hopes of getting noticed. This trend encapsulates what “Bejeweled” is all about: feeling confident in yourself and “shimmering” for the world to see.
“Bigger than the Whole Sky”
What Swift intended “Bigger than the Whole Sky” to be about is a topic of heated debate among Swifties at the moment. Some have speculated that Swift wrote it about a miscarriage she had — though there is no evidence of this — while others say that she wrote it about a friend she lost earlier on in her career. Regardless of Swift’s inspiration, the song’s lyrics speak to the most painful caveats of grief — the horrifying realization that you will never meet the person that someone would have been. TikTok users have begun to use the song to post about the losses they’ve experienced in their own lives. Some have related it to their miscarriages, while others have made videos about lost parents or friends. This illustrates one of the most beautiful things about music: People use songs to confront and work through difficult emotions. It’s encouraging to see TikTok become a space for this.
“You’re on Your Own, Kid”
I saved my favorite for last: “You’re on Your Own, Kid” is a true Taylor Swift song, with its gut-wrenching beautiful bridge that had me kneeling over in tears the first time I heard it. Naturally, this is the portion of the song that has gone viral on TikTok, with many posting nostalgic montages with their friends to the lyrics, “Make the friendship bracelets / take the moment and taste it / you’ve got no reason to be afraid.” Many of these videos are about finding community when moving away to college or studying abroad. There has been some criticism of this trend from those who believe the song’s message revolves around resilience through independence and is not supposed to speak to those with large friend groups. Regardless, it’s heartwarming to see such sweet, tear-jerking videos popping up on my “For You” page.
This is not an exhaustive list, and it is likely Swift will continue to leave her mark on TikTok for the rest of her musical career. Her diverse lyricism allows people of all different backgrounds to relate to her music, and that is where trends both heartwarming and hilarious are born.
Daily Arts Writer Rebecca Smith can be reached at email@example.com.