Did Harry Styles Inspire Taylor Swift’s “Clean”? She’s Sure Making It Sound That Way
As an obsessive Taylor Swift fan, nothing makes me happier than A.) When Swift talks about the real life experiences that inspire her songs and B.) When Swift talks about her past relationship with Harry Styles. And when talking to Tavi Gevinson when she covered the June 2015 issue of Elle, she did both of those things — possibly. While discussing what made her write the song "Clean" from her most recent album, 1989, she talked about the moment she realized she was over an ex, and if you read between the lines, that really means Swift is talking about the moment she realized she was over Harry Styles.
I've always had a feeling that "Clean" — which is about finally being over a really intense breakup and feeling like yourself again — was about Styles, since that was basically the only serious relationships she would've had while writing music for 1989. And judging from what she told Gevinson, it definitely sounds like I was right.
"Clean" I wrote as I was walking out of Liberty in London. Someone I used to date—it hit me that I'd been in the same city as him for two weeks and I hadn't thought about it. When it did hit me, it was like, "Oh, I hope he's doing well." And nothing else. And you know how it is when you're going through heartbreak. A heartbroken person is unlike any other person. Their time moves at a completely different pace than ours. It's this mental, physical, emotional ache and feeling so conflicted. Nothing distracts you from it. Then time passes, and the more you live your life and create new habits, you get used to not having a text message every morning saying, "Hello, beautiful. Good morning." You get used to not calling someone at night to tell them how your day was. You replace these old habits with new habits, like texting your friends in a group chat all day and planning fun dinner parties and going out on adventures with your girlfriends, and then all of a sudden one day you're in London and you realize you've been in the same place as your ex for two weeks and you're fine. And you hope he's fine. The first thought that came to my mind was, "I'm finally clean."
Honestly, how could that beautiful answer be about anyone but Styles? She's talking about something that happened while she was shopping in London, where Styles happens to live. And earlier in the interview, she said it was one of the last songs she wrote for 1989, so that would have lined up right around the time she'd start feeling like herself again post-breakup. I think this case basically solves itself.
As hard as I wished for Swift and Styles to get married and live happily ever after, it obviously didn't work out, and like any girl who just ended a relationship with the best and cutest member of One Direction, I'm not surprised that it took Swift awhile to get over the heartbreak. All that matters now is that she's good, and she seems good... especially now that it would appear that Swift is dating Calvin Harris, who also happens to be from across the pond in Scotland.
And Swift is right: There's nothing like that perfect moment when you realize for the first time that the horrible weight you've been carrying around is no longer dragging you down. And it's a good thing, too, because London is too amazing a city to feel heartbroken when you're visiting it.