Fans convinced Taylor Swift recorded ‘lost’ Karma album – and that we’re about to hear some of it

Taylor Swift performing live on an edited background.

All hell immediately broke loose among Swifties when Taylor Swift announced the eleventh track on her upcoming album Midnights is called “Karma” – and with good reason.

It might sound like a fairly innocuous title to the uninitiated, but to hardcore Swift stans, it was proof a long-standing fan theory had some credibility after all.

There are, you see, rumours that there’s a lost Taylor Swift album – and this might just be her confirmation that these fan theories are right.

The story of Karma started back in 2016. It had been two years since Taylor Swift reinvented herself with the synth-pop driven 1989 in 2014. That album spawned mammoth singles like “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space”, and it went on to win Album of the Year at the Grammys.

To say Swift was at the top of her game would be an understatement. She had ascended to the highest echelons of pop music, becoming one of the most famous women in the world in the process.

Up until 2016, Swift had released an album every two years like clockwork. After the enormous success of 1989, you might think she would have continued on that trajectory – but nothing happened. It was a silent time.

What’s strange is that, at the time, it very much looked like something was going to happen. Like so many pop stars before her, Swift has been known to change up her aesthetic between albums in a bid to constantly reinvent herself, so eagle-eyed fans were quick to notice when her look changed.

Taylor Swift has been dropping hints for years about Karma

In 2016, Swift cut her hair and bleached it. Shortly afterwards, she appeared on the cover of Vogue. To the world, it looked like she was gearing up to release a new album – not preparing to take an extended break from the spotlight.

After all, the world’s biggest pop stars rarely do interviews for the fun of it – they do them when there’s something to promote.

To add fuel to the fire, any hardcore Swiftie knows that she’s big on Easter eggs – she loves to drop hints for fans in music videos, song lyrics, and even in interviews, about what they should expect next.

So when she spoke to Vogue that year, fans were excited to hear what she had to say. When asked what her biggest life lesson had been, Swift replied: “Karma is real.”

Nobody thought much of it at the time, but the word has taken on a mysterious significance ever since. When she eventually released Reputation in 2017 – her follow-up to 1989 – it featured the lyric “all I think about is karma”.

Close-up photo of Taylor Swift with her hair pulled back, red lipstick and a dress made out of strings of diamonds

Taylor Swift at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards. (Getty)

In the music video for “The Man”, a track off her next album Lover, the word “karma” appears in graffiti alongside the titles of Swift’s other albums.

In peak Swiftian style, the singer threw the word “missing” into the mix too, which was the final piece of proof fans needed – Swift was trying to send them a message, they believed – and it had to be about a scrapped album.

The question remains – if Karma does exist, what happened to it, and why was it never released?

The answer most likely lies in Swift’s public feud with Kanye West and his then wife Kim Kardashian.

Most people will probably remember the spiralling controversy that erupted over West’s song “Famous” in 2016.

“I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why/I made that b***h famous,” West rapped on the song.

The whole sorry affair related back to the MTV VMAs in 2009, when West got up on stage and interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech. Swift was not pleased.

Kanye West drama prompted a retreat from the spotlight

What followed the release of “Famous” was a back and forth between Swift, West and Kardashian. Swift’s representatives spoke out against the song and its lyrics, saying she had warned him against pushing ahead with the misogynistic rap.

The controversy exploded further when Kardashian released a snippet of a phone call between Swift and West, which had been recorded without her knowledge, and appeared to show her giving the rapper her blessing.

Of course, fans have pointed out that the snippet was likely taken out of context, but that didn’t stop the world from going in hard on Swift. She became something of a public enemy and her reputation was seemingly in tatters. Just like that, Swift withdrew entirely from public life for a full year – and no album named Karma saw the light of day.

Swift would later touch on that troubled time in her life on Reputation, but fans haven’t been able to let go of Karma.

There have been countless alleged leaks about song titles, and of course Swift herself has happily thrown fuel on the fire, so it really does seem entirely possible that, as Swift once said, Karma is real.

Over the past year, Swift has been re-recording all of her old albums as a result of a falling out with her former record label – and that’s led fans to wonder whether Karma could still see the light of day. Fans are clamouring for her to release whatever she was working on towards the end of the 1989 era, but it’s still unclear whether they’ll ever get to experience it in all its glory.

If the eleventh track on her upcoming album Midnights does turn out to have been originally written as the title track for a scrapped album, it would also prove that fans were right all along about the existence of the track.

Whether Swift will ever confirm or deny the speculation – or keep us guessing with her clever comments and subtle hints – is another matter entirely.