As promised yesterday, Taylor Swift will be releasing the first single off her new album, Reputation, some time tonight. As I noted yesterday, I’m thinking it’ll be late. Late enough that it could technically be considered Friday. Not only to get the jump on the weekend and, possibly the VMAs (we’ll get to that in a minute), but also because that’s when Billboard starts measuring sales and streams – from Friday to the following Thursday. Taylor cares about Number Ones. She’s made no secret of the fact that she values and collects these kinds of accomplishments – as most of them do. So she’s aiming for the Hot 100. And there’s been a song on the top of the Hot 100 for 15 weeks straight. I wrote about it in Wednesday’s site open. Taylor is challenging Despacito.

Despacito is a song for the ages. From its construction to its influence to its place in the current sociopolitical landscape, Despacito arrived when people were ready for it. There are a lot of people who are ready for Taylor’s new track. But if she really wants to take on Despacito or, rather, if she wants that #1, it has to be a f-cking banger. It might have to be the best song of her career. This is what she’s set herself up for.

By choosing to do this this week, leading up the VMAs, with all this talk about all her frenemies, Katy, Kim, and Kanye, right after her victory in court last week, by using so much snake symbolism, and directly taking on her own “reputation”, she can’t come out with some weak sh-t. There have been a few artists before her this summer who’ve come out with weak sh-t. Katy Perry’s one of them. And Miley Cyrus’s Malibu was a major shrug too. So, in creating all this expectation, Taylor has to deliver. She has to back her sh-t up.

As for the VMAs and what impact she’ll have on the event, what’s interesting is that there’s been an update to the Snake Era assault plan.

A “sneak peek” of the video on Good Morning America. Just as everyone is waking up to the song. So it’s a teaser for the full video. Which means the full video will be dropping …when? Taylor is supposedly set to perform on GMA next week, on Thursday August 31, the final day of Billboard’s counting period. It’s possible that GMA has both exclusives – the preview tomorrow and then the full blast the following Thursday to boost sales before Billboard’s tracking system closes for sales and streaming measurements. But there’s also a major music event that’s about music videos happening on Sunday. She could pull a major cockblock on Katy Perry at the VMAs by debuting her video there. Or she could just release it on her social media accounts at peak time during the VMAs and be all like, your event…or MY event? I AM the event. (Ahem, dragons and wolves are the event.)

Either way, Taylor has dominated the conversation. It’s been a bold and aggressive week so far. It’s been a week where she’s put full confidence behind her work, hyping it like she believes it’s worth this kind of buzz. I’m not mad at that. I’m not mad at the fact that she’s brought the pressure on herself. But that song has to deliver.

Thanks R!