Taylor Swift was quiet over the holidays. She’s much quieter these days than she was in her 20s, although Midnights was a big deal album release in 2022 and continues to be a force in the industry this year. Taylor has started rehearsing for The Eras tour and she had yet to perform any of the tracks from Midnights in a live setting. I was wondering if maybe she’d show up on Saturday Night Live and do “Anti-Hero”; that never happened. So maybe another occasion, then. Like the Grammys on February 5? 


No, actually. It was something entirely unexpected. 

Last night in London, at The 1975 show at the O2, Taylor came out as a surprise guest: 


She spends a lot of time in London these days with Joe Alwyn. But I’m not sure many people saw this coming. Taylor and Matt Healy have known each other for years, there were rumours during the 1989 era that they’d hooked up. Since then they’ve maintained a good friendship and Matt confirmed that he and Taylor had worked on some music together that didn’t make it onto Midnights. Now, not only did she cover one of their songs, “The City”, but also performed “Anti-Hero” live for the FIRST TIME. 

That’s a flex, right? To turn up at another artist’s concert and the crowd knows all the words? And a low-key flex too because “Anti-Hero” is a smash hit, and she knows, better than anyone else, the significance of performing a song live for the first time. She places significance on these kinds of things, she’s known for her self-mythology at this point… 


But instead she decides to check off that box in a rather unpredictable way – it’s an interesting decision, and likely not a spontaneous one. Taylor never f-cks around this casually with her music, with her performances. She could have, after all, just hopped on The 1975’s music, at their show, and not done any of her own. Add to that the fact that she is Taylor Swift, the queen of Easter egging and all those games. What’s the hidden messaging then, if any, behind this move? 

I mean, I like the move. I like the randomness of it. I like that she’s adding new elements to her playbook. It’s just that in the Taylor matrix there are always connected threads. So it’ll be interesting to see where this one leads.