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Mastermind

Midnights (2022)

“Mastermind” is the thirteenth track on Taylor’s tenth studio album, Midnights (2022). It was released on October 21, 2022, through Republic Records, and closes the standard edition of the record. Written and produced by Taylor and Jack Antonoff, the song is about wanting to control the fate of a relationship.

Background and Release

On August 28, 2022, Taylor announced her tenth studio album, Midnights, set for release on October 21, 2022. One month later, she began unveiling the track-list in a randomized order through a video series on TikTok, called Midnights Mayhem With Me. It consisted of 13 episodes, with one song revealed in per episode. In the first edition on September 21, 2022, Taylor announced the title of the thirteenth track as “Mastermind.” She said:

«I know that I have a habit of dropping cryptic clues and easter eggs when giving you information about my music, and I'm not here to deny that. But I am here to defy that. Welcome to a new series I'm calling: Midnights Mayhem With Me. I'm going to allow fate decide exactly what track titles I'm going to be announcing and in what order. The first track I'm gonna tell you about: Track thirteen. Because of course. Track thirteen is called 'Mastermind.'»

The irony that Taylor refuses to leave things up to fate in “Mastermind” does not go unnoticed.

Lyrical Theme

Taylor told iHeartRadio in October 2022 that “Mastermind” portrays the romantic side of constantly wanting to control the fate of a relationship:

«'Mastermind' is a song that I put last on the album because I'm really proud of it. I love that when we were making the song, we wanted the verse to sound like romance and sort of a Heroes type of soundtrack. And then we wanted the chorus to sound like a villain has just entered the room. The idea that you're flipping this narrative and you have been planning and plotting things and making them look like an accident. I think that's sort of an inside joke between me and my fans: that I tend to do that. And so, this song is the romantic version of that.»

Commercial Performance

In the United States, songs from Midnights occupied the entire Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100; a historic feat. “Mastermind” debuted at No. 13 on the chart. Taylor became the first artist to simultaneously occupy the Top 10 spots of the Hot 100; the female artist with the most Top 10 songs (40); and the first act to occupy the entire Top 10 of the Hot 100, Streaming Songs, and Digital Songs charts simultaneously. Midnights also became the first album in history to contain ten Top 10 songs.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Once upon a time
The planets and the fates and all the stars aligned
You and I ended up in the same room at the same time
And the touch of a hand lit the fuse
Of a chain reaction of countermoves
To assess the equation of you
Checkmate, I couldn’t lose

[Chorus 1]
What if I told you
None of it was accidental
And the first night that you saw me
Nothing was gonna stop me
I laid the groundwork
And then just like clockwork
The dominoes cascaded in the line
What if I told you I’m a mastermind
And now you’re minе
It was all by design
‘Cause I’m a mastermind

[Verse 2]
You see all thе wisest women had to do it this way
‘Cause we were born to be the pawn in every lover’s game
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
Strategy sets the scene for the tale
I’m the wind in our free-flowing sails
And the liquor in our cocktails

[Chorus 2]
What if I told you
None of it was accidental
And the first night that you saw me
I knew I wanted your body
I laid the groundwork
And then just like clockwork
The dominoes cascaded in a line
What if I told you I’m a mastermind
And now you’re mine
It was all my design
‘Cause I’m a mastermind

[Bridge]
No one wanted to play with me as a little kid
So I’ve been scheming like a criminal ever since
To make them love me and make it seem effortless
This is the first time I’ve felt the need to confess
And I swear
I’m only cryptic and Machiavellian ’cause I care

[Chorus]
So I told you
None of it was accidental
And the first night that you saw me
Nothing was gonna stop me
I laid the groundwork
And then saw a wide smirk
On your face, you knew the entire time
You knew that I’m a mastermind
And now you’re mine
Yeah, all you did was smile
‘Cause I’m a mastermind

General Information
ArtistTaylor Swift
AlbumMidnights
ReleasedOctober 21, 2022
Recorded2021-2022
StudiosRough Customer (Brooklyn, NY)
Electric Lady (New York, NY)
GenrePop
Length3:11
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Jack Antonoff
ProducersJack Antonoff
Taylor Swift
MIDNIGHTS CHRONOLOGY
Sweet NothingMastermindThe Great War
Song Artwork
Announcement
Lyric Video
Official Audio