So Long, London
Taylor Swift's 'Tortured Poets Department' song titles seem to be digs at Joe Alwyn.

7 Tortured Poets Department Song Titles That Seem To Shade Joe Alwyn

"London Boy" officially has an evil sister.


When Taylor Swift announces a song title, it’s impossible not to read into it — especially with a name as shady as “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived.” On Feb. 5, Swift unveiled the full 17-song tracklist for The Tortured Poets Department, and she might as well have called the album This Is About You, Joe Alwyn, because so many songs seem to be clearly aimed at her ex. No, this is not an exercise in subtlety — even non-Swifties can pick up the shade in some titles, while others require a bit more background knowledge to fully comprehend Swift’s potential digs.

If the album’s “tortured” title wasn’t enough of an indication, TTPD’s tracklist makes it very clear that we’re dealing with a breakup album here. Several titles hint at a dramatic heartbreak: take “I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can),” “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart,” and “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys” for example. The subject matter makes sense, given that Swift and her partner of six years Joe Alwyn reportedly broke up in early 2023. Even the album’s title seems to be a reference to Alwyn.

But the real juicy details are hidden in the less obvious song titles. From eyebrow-raising historical references to allusions to her past lyrics, here are the Tortured Poets Department song names that seem very pointedly aimed at Alwyn.


1. “So Long, London”

Swift has a tradition of putting her most emotional work in the Track 5 slot, and it looks like that will remain true on The Tortured Poets Department. The album’s fifth song has its most obviously Alwyn-coded title: “So Long, London.”

Swift previously dedicated her romantic Lover bop “London Boy” to her English ex. Now it sounds like she’s ready to leave his hometown in her past.

2. “Florida!!!”

There’s another important location present on the Tortured Poets tracklist, but you’d need to know a bit more about Swift and Alwyn’s lore to realize it’s probably about that relationship’s end. When the two broke up in April 2023, Swift had just kicked off her Eras Tour. The first show she played after the breakup news got out was in Tampa, Florida on April 13.

3. “But Daddy I Love Him”

It isn’t difficult to trace the reference for this song title. “But daddy, I love him” is a direct quote from The Little Mermaid (released in Swift’s well-known birth year of 1989). And yes, Swifties believe the quote is meant to describe Swift’s notably private relationship with Alwyn.

In The Little Mermaid, Ariel sacrificed her voice in pursuit of the man she adored. Swifties think Swift did something similar when she retreated from the spotlight while dating Alwyn.

4. “Clara Bow”

The theme of Swift’s uncharacteristic privacy during the Alwyn years is seemingly referenced again in the album’s closing track, “Clara Bow.” The song is named after a silent film star from the 1920s. Bow surprisingly quit Hollywood despite her lucrative career shortly after getting married. She lived out the final three decades of her life as a rancher in Nevada.

Swifties were quick to compare Bow’s retirement to Swift’s own period of privacy when she dated Alwyn.

Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty Images

5. “Fresh Out The Slammer”

Swift has used the imagery of a jailhouse before when speaking about her relationship with Alwyn. In her Reputation opener “...Ready For It” — widely believed to have been inspired by Alwyn — Swift sings, “He can be my jailor.”

Months after their 2023 breakup, Swift looked back on her time with Alwyn as being similar to “locking [herself] away.” “Me locking myself away in my house for a lot of years—I’ll never get that time back,” Swift said in her 2023 Time profile. “I’m more trusting now than I was six years ago.”

So, of course, Swifties think “Fresh Out the Slammer” is going to continue this narrative, and focus on Swift’s newfound feeling of freedom after the breakup.

6. “The Alchemy”

Jail isn’t the only imagery Swift has used multiple times when describing her relationship with Alwyn. She often compared Alwyn to gold, most obviously in “Gold Rush.” In “Champagne Problems,” Swift sang about “your Midas touch on the Chevy door,” and in “Invisible String,” Swift described her connection to Alwyn as “one single thread of gold.”

“The Alchemy” sounds like a clear inversion of how she previously sang about the relationship. Alchemy is the arcane practice of attempting to turn non-valuable metals into gold. Swifties caught onto the not-so-golden implications of a song with this title.

7. “Who’s Afraid Of Little Old Me?”

Are you ready for this one? There are a lot of reasons to believe “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” is a reference to the well-known play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — I mean, the album’s literary theme is quite obvious from its name.

Notably, the 1966 film adaptation of the play starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as a couple whose marriage is hopelessly falling apart. That casting has prompted Swifties to point out another “...Ready For It?” lyric believed to be about Alwyn: “Burton to this Taylor.”

It’s very likely this track will include a lot of allusions to Virginia Woolf, meaning it will probably details the downfall of a relationship that hasn’t been working.