“Mastermind” is the thirteenth and final song on Taylor Swift’s 2022 album ‘Midnights’ standard edition. In this song, Taylor Swift boasts that some happy accidents in her life may not have been accidents after all. If you plan things well enough, you can mastermind happy accidents. What specific accident is she talking about in this song? Let’s dig in.
‘Midnights‘ is the tenth studio album by Taylor Swift following her ‘evermore‘ and ‘folklore‘ album releases in 2020. Announcing the album, Taylor Swift said “This is a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams.” The album was released on October 21, 2022. A surprise ‘3am Edition’ was released just three hours later from the main album containing seven bonus tracks.
In an interview with iHeart Radio, Taylor Swift spoke about the inspiration behind the song; “‘Mastermind’ is a song that I put last on the album because I’m really proud of it, and I love that, when we were making this song, we wanted the verse to sound like romance and this sort of heroes type of soundtrack, and then we wanted the chorus to sound like a villain has just entered the room and the idea that you’re flipping this narrative, and you have been planning and plotting things and making them look like an accident.”
Listen to “Mastermind” by Taylor Swift
Listen to ‘Midnights’ Album on Apple Music & Amazon
Taylor Swift “Midnights” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
In the first verse of the song, Taylor Swift describes how a thousand planets aligned for that fateful evening she met her current partner–Joe Alwyn. It is widely known that Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn met at the 2016 MET Gala event.
They were introduced by friends and the first handshake sealed the deal. Taylor knew this man was special. But she had to keep her cool–after all, she is Taylor effing Swift. However, it takes two to keep the spark alive. This man felt something special too and he wanted to try.
Small talks led to long walks and long walks led to nights together. They were locked in.
The tone changes in the chorus, as Taylor Swift, playfully admits to cheating the system. Yes, you can wait until all the planets and thousands of stars to align. Or, you can terraform your own destiny. Taylor says that their first encounter might not have been fate after all. What if she planted the seeds that led to their meeting? What if she masterminded her own destiny?
Is this a deal breaker?
In the second verse of the song, Taylor Swift says that she had to force destiny to her (or their) benefit. She also adds that all the wise and successful women in history had to create their own star alignments. Had they waited for the stars to align, a lot of the success women enjoy today would not be a reality. Even in relationships, women are expected to be on the receiving end–not the ones to make a move. Taylor wasn’t about to sit back and watch this one go.
Taylor Swift compares women in relationships to pawns in a game of chess. She specifically mentions the game of chess as it being one of the most complicated and strategic games ever. A very high-level chess player is also known as a grandmaster. In the game of chess, a pawn is the least powerful and the lowest-valued piece. However, if you could march your pawn tactfully to the opposite end of the board, which is occupied by your enemy, the pawn can be promoted to any high-value piece–even a queen! Pretty clever simile huh? A mastermind at songwriting, you could say?
In the bridge of the song, Taylor Swift admits that she had a pretty lonesome time as a kid. She was the odd duck in her school and friend circles. So, she had to devise strategies and plots to make things work for her. Because nobody was going to just hand over her anything!
This song is the first time Taylor Swift admitted that she might have played with fate a little bit to make her relationship kick start with her long-term partner Joe Alwyn.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.