Is "Call It What You Want" About Calvin Harris? The Song Is About A Flame, So Maybe
Another day, another song off of Taylor's Swift's upcoming album Reputation to analyze until we're seeing red. Get it? Red? Sorry if that was, like, so five years ago. Fast forward to 2017: The old Taylor might not be able to come to the phone since she's, well, "dead." But just because her former identity is deceased doesn't mean the talented songstress has stopped writing about her relationships, past and present. Her latest single naturally has everyone wondering who she's referring to. Is "Call It What You Want" about Calvin Harris? Is it about another famous ex? After the song dropped at midnight on Friday, Nov. 3, fans are, once again, trying to piece together another musical puzzle.
We didn't have to do much decoding when it came to the straightforward sentiment in Tay's third single release off of Reputation, the sweet yet jealousy-tinged descent into unrequited love, "Gorgeous." Many signs point to her blue-eyed British actor beau Joe Alwyn. But, Taylor did date Harris for over a year prior to Alwyn, and this record, so we can only assume a ballad (or a few) specifically about their relationship's highs and eventual lows is inevitable.
"Call It What You Want" is a snapshot of a relationship at one point in time and it harkens back to those fairy tale days of white dresses and summer air, a la her early hit, "Love Story." But maybe now that the so-called "new" Taylor is older, wiser, and more grounded in reality, she's beyond living in a picture-perfect dreamworld she's conjured up before.
Taylor teased the song with the line "Holding My Breath. Slowly I said 'You don't need to save me...'" which implies that she's above it all for a brief moment. "But would you run away with me?" ... "Yes." Well, that's another (love) story. And it reminds us of the time she chose forbidden love above all else and "baby just say yes" was an easy suggestion to comply with. The hope for true love and a real fairy tale, despite the consequences, is never far away.
Taylor Swift has basically become The Riddler of the pop world in people's eyes throughout her compelling career. When she releases a song, the whole Swiftie community and all interested parties use their brain power to crack her lyrical codes. And she knows it. 2014's "Blank Space" can easily be described as a tounge-in-cheek nod to the fact that she puts her personal life to paper to public, and that if you're dating her, prepare for her to eventually "write your name." Her new album, Reputation, also seems to stay on the self-referential train she's been riding. The title suggests she's aware of who she is and how she's been represented in the fickle and bright shine of the limelight.
Some of the lyrics to "Call It What You Want To" read,
Cause my baby's fit like a daydream, walking with his head down, I'm the one he's walking to. So, call it what you want yeah, call it what you want to. My baby's fly like a jet stream, high above the whole scene, loves me like I'm brand new. So, call it what you want yeah, call it what you want to. All my flowers grew back as thorns, windows boarded back up after the storm, he built a fire just to keep me warm. All the drama queens taking swings, all the jokers dressing up as kings, they fade to nothing when I look at him.
If "Gorgeous" speaks to the thrill and agony of infatuation, and her second single "...Ready For It?" points to a passionate affair deserving of an island escape, then "Call It What You Want" might play the role of their sentimental counterpart. Swift's inaugural single off Reputation, "Look What You Made Me Do" had many fans thinking (maybe even worried) that her latest efforts were all about calling out the haters and that Taylor had gone all vengeful ice queen on everyone. But if we know her at all, she's just poking fun at herself and the public's perception. Reading between the lines reminds us there's still a soft side with a heart underneath all that leather, even if she doesn't do the hand symbol much these days.
For now, we'll be listening to the melody that is "Call It What You Want" over and over. As long as Taylor Swift keeps releasing music, there will be fans waiting in the wings to analyze her thoughtfully chosen words.