Who Is Each 'Reputation' Song About? Taylor Swift's New Album Is Spurring Tons Of Theories
Alright, everyone: To your battle stations. The latest Taylor Swift album has finally been released, and now it's time to determine who each Reputation song is about. To know Swift is to accept this as your duty, since the 27-year-old has a longstanding tradition of referencing her personal life in songs. In fact, her discography can be used as a sort of crib sheet for keeping up with the artist's life.
You can get to know her earliest publicized crush, Drew Hardwick, on her debut album's "Teardrops on My Guitar." On 2008's Fearless, you can meet her childhood best friend Abigail in "Fifteen," and hear about her breakup with Joe Jonas on "Forever & Always." Two years later, Speak Now's "Dear John" gave you that peek into the singer's relationship with John Mayer that you've always wanted, and 1989's "Bad Blood" supposedly brought Swift's beef with Katy Perry front and center. Not to mention all the Harry Styles references that we could possibly have asked for in "Style," starting with the title and extending all the way to the singer's paper airplane necklace.
In short, if you keep your eyes and your ears open, you stand to learn a thing or two from Swift's past albums. And Reputation is proving no different. The songs that the singer released in advance of the new album's Nov. 10 release seemed to throw shade at Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, love at Swift's boyfriend Joe Alwyn, and raised questions about Tom Hiddleston. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Here's who each Reputation song seems to be about, judging by the buzz on the internet.
1. "...Ready For It?"
Like many songs on Reputation, the album's first track is rumored to be about Swift's current boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. She sings the line, "Younger than my exes but he act like such a man, so," which seems to refer to Alwyn. At 26, the actor is significantly younger than men like Tom Hiddleston, 36, and Calvin Harris, 33, to whom she was previously linked.
2. "End Game"
In this track, she sings, "I wanna be your end game / I wanna be your first string." Considering her relationship with Alwyn is her current focus, it would make sense if the track is about him. Still, the lines like, "Ah, and you heard about me / Oh, I got some big enemies," could be a reference to her Kimye feud, or maybe even her past drama with Katy Perry.
3. "I Did Something Bad"
This song gets a bit more serious in calling someone out. Swift sings, "If a man talks sh*t, then I owe him nothing / I don't regret it one bit, 'cause he had it coming." Could this be a nod to Calvin Harris seemingly throwing Swift under the bus on Twitter? Back in 2016, he tweeted and deleted, "I know you're off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy ETC but I'm not that guy, sorry. I won't allow it." Fans interpreted it as a dig at his ex.
4. "Don't Blame Me"
Yet another song that could be about her romance with Alwyn. She sings, "I've been breakin' hearts a long time, and / Toyin' with them older guys," which could be a nod to her relationships with older men, like Calvin Harris and Tom Hiddleston. Meanwhile, Alwyn is a year younger. Plus, lyrics like this, "Lord, save me, my drug is my baby / I'd be usin' for the rest of my life," could be about how into him she is.
Without a doubt, this song has to be about Alwyn. The lyric, "My reputation's never been worse, so / You must like me for me," is the biggest clue. It's about a relationship with someone who she met at a moment where her career wasn't at a high point. Based on when Swift and Alwyn got together, it's around the time she was mostly out of the spotlight after the whole Kimye feud blew up.
6. "Look What You Made Me Do"
It may be the sixth track on the album, but "Look What You Made Me Do" was the first single Swift released. And it was jam-packed with enough references to get the rumor mill up-and-running for the whole rest of the album. The most obvious references seem to point to the Kimye feud, which was started after Kanye West's release of his song "Famous" referencing Swift.
The singer includes lines like "I don't like your little games / don't like your tilted stage," which echo the design of West's Saint Pablo Tour. And there's also that spoken word portion where Swift says she can't come to the phone right now, which brings that infamous phone call captured on Kardashian's Snapchat to mind.
7. "So It Goes..."
Add this one to the list of songs that sure sound that they're about Swift's current boyfriend. Just look at the lyrics:
Of course, it could be about a past romance, though the lyrics certainly sound present tense.
This track sparked plenty of theories. There was an internet-wide debate about whether Swift is singing about Alwyn or Hiddleston. Lyrics like, "Ocean blue eyes looking in mine / I feel like I might sink and drown and die," appear to apply to either blue-eyed guy. But the biggest clue may come from the fanbase. One user on Tumblr claimed Swift revealed at a secret session that the singer "made us all promise that if anyone made any accusations of who this song is about, we tell them it is 100% about her angel boyfriend of 1 year." FYI, that would be Alwyn.
9. "Getaway Car"
Unfortunately, this song sounds like it's about a relationship turned sour. Could it be about Calvin Harris? Well, the biggest clue may be this lyric:
She adds, "X marks the spot, where we fell apart / He poisoned the well, I was lyin' to myself." Their relationship sure did seem to fall apart in the public eye.
10. "King Of My Heart"
Another song, another possible Alwyn reference. The lyric "So prove to me I'm your American Queen" is especially telling, since he's from the U.K. Additionally, "Your love is a secret I'm hoping, dreaming, dying to keep" implies it's a relationship she's still trying to maintain.
11. "Dancing With Our Hands Tied"
OK, so the ages don't quite line up (since Swift mentions a 25-year-old and he's a decade older), but certain lyrics in this track could reference Swift's former romance with Tom Hiddleston. She sings,
As you may recall, Hiddleston and Swift danced together at the Met Gala. Plus, the line, "I knew there was no one in the world who could take it," could be a reference to the public shock when the first started hanging out together.
This track is a bit more intimate. Swift sings, "I don’t want you like a best friend / Only bought this dress so you could take it off." It's definitely about a romantic partner, whether past or present. The line "Everyone thinks that they know us, but they know nothing about" could be a nod to Hiddleston, where everyone scrutinized their relationship. Or perhaps it's about Alwyn, since she's kept things so underwraps that no one really knows what their relationship is truly like.
13. "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things"
Similar to "Getaway Car," this one could be a reference to Harris. She sings, "Did you think I wouldn't hear all the things you said about me? / This is why we can't have nice things." As mentioned above in "I Did Something Bad," Harris did seemingly call out Swift on Twitter. That could be what she means by "all the things you said about me."
14. "Call It What You Want"
Like "Look What You Made Me Do," the album's penultimate track also seems to contain references to the Kimye feud. There are lyrics like, "They took the crown but it's alright / All the liars are calling me one," which definitely seem to be about the feud. But even as she acknowledges that her foes — in this case, likely Kardashian and West — came out on top, Swift claims to be fine with it. She later sings, "At least I did one thing right, I did one thing right / I'm laughing with my lover," which seems to be another reference to her happy relationship with Alwyn.
15. "New Year's Day"
This one is definitely up in the air. While it could easily be another track about Alwyn, some signs point toward Swift's ex, Harry Styles. The mentions of Polaroids, New Year's, and a laugh all could be clues about the One Direction member. Yes, Styles does have a distinct laugh for the record, and Swift sings, "Please don't ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognize anywhere." And she sings, "Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you," which makes it seem like it's about a former flame.
Of course, Swift has yet to confirm any of these theories. But you can bet the internet is busy obsessing over the lyrics and looking for clues anyway.
Additional reporting by Jamie Primeau