As anyone with access to the internet can tell you, Taylor Swift’s new album Reputation dropped today, and despite months of my own personal haterism, it is like, v good. Now obviously, any time Taylor drops an album it is our duty as Americans to speculate wildly over who the songs are about. In the past, Taylor’s made this pretty easy, hiding
acrostic poems special clues in the liner notes of her songs, her music videos, and her live performances. This time, however, New Taylor (RIP Old Taylor) isn’t fucking with any of that. In an essay released with hard-copies of Reputation (Sidenote: They still sell hard copies of albums?), Taylor tries to preemptively shut down the rumor mill by saying, “When this album comes out, gossip blogs will scour the lyrics for the men they can attribute to each song, as if the inspiration for music is as simple and basic as a paternity test.” Umm okay, Taylor. If you want to say something to me, you can say it to my face.
So the main question we’re left with after reading Taylor’s
sad handwritten book essay is, is this bullshit? On the one hand, Taylor makes her case very eloquently. It’s almost like she writes her own songs or something. On the other hand, these songs are definitely about specific people, right? Like, how dead is the old Taylor, really? Is she actually-in-the-ground dead, or just-read-something-funny-and-have-to-dramatically-express-how-I-feel-literally dead? It’s an important distinction to make.
In “Look What You Made Me Do” alone, there are a bunch of pretty obvious references to specific people that seem to debunk her essay. I mean, just the sheer number of snakes that appear in that video are pretty clearly directed at the whole Kimye thing. Plus there’s the fact that she literally stands in front of a grave that says “Nils Sjoberg,” which just happens to be the pen name she used while writing songs with ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris. And then, of course, there’s the fact that she literally referenced several past iconic moments in Swift history (aka Swiftstory) with a 30-seconds-too-long 30-second skit at the end of the music video.
Then there’s “Gorgeous,” a major contender for best song on the album, and another one that is chock-full of fairly obvious references to real relationships. She references making fun of the way her bf talks, which could be about one of her three British boyfriends (girl has a type, and I respect that). She also references “ocean blue eyes,” which, tbh, could be about any man Taylor’s ever dated. It’s mostly the lyric “And I got a boyfriend, he’s older than us / He’s in the club doing I don’t know what” that got people thinking the song might be about both Tom Hiddleston (36) and her current bf Joe Alwyn (26) because like, they met when she had a boyfriend that was older than them.
As for “…Ready For It?” the jury is out on who it could be about. Some people say Joe Alwyn, some say Harry Styles. Personally, I think it’s about Harry Styles due to the many island references (the two went on a trip to the British Virgin Island in January of 2013 and it’s actually not lame at all that I know that). There’s also the lyric “Younger than my exes, but he act like such a man,” which technically could apply to Alwyn but seems more likely about Harry because he’s so much younger than her other boyfriends. (He was just 18 when the two dated, and again, it is very cool that I know all this information.)
So basically, what I’m saying is, Taylor, I’mma let you finish, but this album is definitely about specific people and incidents from your life.
Now please return my messages. I need to speak with Meredith.