Every time it feels like Taylor Swift’s popularity has reached its peak, she climbs to a new height.

The Tortured Poets Department, her messy, emotional, and surprisingly funny 11th studio album, hasn’t even been out for a week, but it’s already shattered a number of records. The biggest album of 2024 based on sales and streams. The first album in Spotify history to reach one billion streams in less than seven days. The biggest Billboard 200 debut of her career with expected sales of over two million copies sold, one of only three albums in the SoundScan era to achieve the feat. Boys break little toys; Taylor Swift breaks records.

Swift is surely basking in the success of The Tortured Poets Department, but she’s too much of a smart and successful businesswoman to not already be thinking of the future. Below, I made some predictions about what’s next for the “Fortnight” singer, separated into three categories: the Immediate Future, the Intermediate Future, and the Distant Future. I am fully prepared to look like a (modern) idiot when they all prove to be wrong, but humor me, will you?

Immediate Future

Taylor Swift has nothing on the schedule (at least publicly) until May 9, when the Eras Tour resumes after a two-month break somewhere the culture’s clever: Paris, France. Between now and then, don’t expect any late-night performances to promote The Tortured Poets Department. For one thing, it doesn’t need the help. Also, Swift and her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, are “relaxing at home and having low-key and chill time together,” a source told Us Weekly. “They are enjoying movie nights in her home theater, catching up on films and shows they’ve missed. They can finally rest and intend on spending quality time together and with friends and family.”

It’s likely she’ll continue to stay off the radar as much as possible — minus a sushi date here or there — until the European leg of the Eras Tour begins.

Intermediate Future

Between May and November, Swift will play shows all over Europe, including stops in Sweden, Portugal, and England (that should be interesting), before returning to North America for three concerts each in Miami, New Orleans, and Indianapolis. The Eras Tour is scheduled to wrap up on December 8 in Vancouver, Canada, her 152nd (!) show of the tour, although there’s been speculation that she’ll perform in Turkey in 2025. Take those dubiously-sourced rumors with a grain of salt that’s bigger than the whole sky. The two big questions in the intermediate future are:

-Will she add a The Tortured Poets Department “era” to the tour?

-When will Reputation (Taylor’s Version) and Taylor Swift (Taylor’s Version) come out?

Let’s begin with Poets. I would be surprised if the album got a full-blown set, like Midnights, 1989, Red, etc. That’s a huge undertaking with new choreography, new lighting, and new outfits, and it would take songs away from the other eras. My guess is that Swift will either represent Poets through a mini-set, like with Speak Now, or she’ll debut songs from the album during the acoustic portion of the show. What would people rather hear: “Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)” or “Who’s Afraid Of Little Old Me?”? (OK, bad example. “Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)” is a Senior Swiftie favorite, but you get the idea.)

As for the two remaining Taylor’s Version albums, Swift has been teasing Reputation (TV) for too long for it not to be next. I was certain the reveal was coming during the 2024 Grammys, only for Swift to pull a fast one and announce Poets instead. Since Lover was released in 2019, Swift hasn’t gone more than 12 months without putting out an album. It’s usually only been a few months. She’ll give Poets time to breathe, so I doubt we’ll hear anything about Reputation (TV) until August, at the earliest. August 20 is the last date of the European leg of the Eras Tour, followed by a two-month gap until the Miami dates. Swift announced 1989 (TV) during the final show at SoFi Stadium before traveling to a different country — might she do it again?

My only predictions for Taylor Swift (TV) are 1) it will come after Reputation (TV), 2) it will be a surprise drop, and 3) “Crazier” better be on it. That’s not so much as a prediction as a demand, but I take these things very seriously.

Distant Future

The longest Swift has gone between new albums is a little over three years (the gap between 1989 and Reputation is three years and 14 days). Lately, it’s been two years: folklore and evermore in 2020, Midnights in 2022, and The Tortured Poets Department in 2024, with the Taylor’s Version albums in between. But seeing as Poets is basically as long as folklore and evermore combined, she may want to take extra time off, especially once the Eras Tour is over. Or maybe not!

Swift described Poets as a chapter of her life that’s “now over, the chapter closed and boarded up.” She seems to be very much in love with Kelce, and their cinnamon roll romance could be all the inspiration she needs to get back into the studio as quickly as possible.

But will Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner be there with her? The Bleachers and The National members have been the primary producers on Swift’s last four albums (Antonoff’s work history with her dates back even further, to the 1989 sessions), so it’s time to shake things up a little and try a different vibe. Is “So High School” a tease that a much-coveted rock album could be next? That’s the direction I (and many others) would like her to go next, but Taylor loves to defy expectations. So, really, anything in the distant future is possible.

Only one thing’s for sure: album #13 is going to be her best album yet.

Posted in: Pop