Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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‘Swifties’ flock to Taylor Swift’s QR code in River North, anticipating new album

Madeline King/The Daily Northwestern
The QR code, located in River North, drew crowds hoping to make sense of Taylor Swift’s iconic “Easter eggs.”

Everything Taylor Swift touches draws ample attention, and her QR code in River North is no exception. Fans gathered outside 25 W. Grand Ave. Wednesday night to take pictures in front of the large QR code on the side of a building and scan it to reveal her secret message.

The QR code appeared in Chicago Monday afternoon and is one of many puzzle pieces placed around the globe in anticipation of Swift’s new album, “THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT,” which drops Friday. The QR code itself is made up of overlapping “TTPD” and “13” text in a typewriter-style font.

In true Taylor Swift fashion, the QR code links to a puzzle. The singer-songwriter is known for leaving “Easter eggs” promoting her music to her fans. Originally, the link led to an error message, but fans on Wednesday night were led to a YouTube Short of a typewriter typing the letter “T.”

Fans have since deduced that the single-letter clues across the world spelled out “For A Fortnight,” and Swift announced that a music video to “Fortnight (feat. Post Malone)” will be released April 19 at 8 p.m. EST.

Jane Kleeb, the chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party and a self-identified “Swiftie over 50,” visited the QR code while on a work trip to Chicago. Kleeb said she expects the album to center on a new chapter in Swift’s life.

“I actually think it’s less about a breakup and more about finding who she is and claiming her space as a woman,” Kleeb said.

Many fans, including Kleeb, predicted the new music will take on a “melancholy” sound.

Chicago resident Ash Rafiq said she also thinks the album will embody a somber sound. Like many fans, Rafiq said she expects a breakup album.

“I have hopes that it’s one of her best breakup albums ever,” Rafiq said. “That’s what I’m hoping for because I would like to have a good cry.”

Rafiq said she thinks the QR code and other clues may hint at the release of a second album on April 19, possibly “Reputation (Taylor’s Version).”

Some fans, like Communication freshman Alex Lopez, said they have important plans for the album’s release. Lopez said he will listen through the album in its entirety with his friend as soon as it releases.

“We are going to not talk at all during the songs, and then after each one, have a huge debrief,” Lopez said. “I’m so excited.”

Katie Krusinski visited the attraction with her 7-year-old daughter, Scarlett, both dressed in Taylor Swift merchandise.

Krusinski said she has raised Scarlett on Swift’s music and appreciates the messages Swift’s songs can teach her daughter.

“I think she sings about a lot of different things — being inclusive, talking about women’s rights,” Krusinski said. “I think she’s a great role model, especially for girls and women growing up.”

Like Krusinski, Kleeb said Swift’s music plays a prominent role in her relationship with her daughters, as they were the ones to introduce Kleeb to Swift’s discography.

Kleeb said the fact that people are taking time out of their days to visit and scan the QR code speaks volumes about Swift’s influence and the nature of the fanbase she has cultivated.

“What I think is amazing is that all of these little Easter eggs that she’s putting out all over the place binds a community and makes us think creatively, which is actually what I think she wants us to do — be creative, form a sense of community,” Kleeb said. “That’s what we’re doing because we’re Swifties.”

Email: [email protected]
X: @madelineking_18

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