Taylor Swift’s ‘Lover’ Lyrics About Relationships Are So Spot On
Taylor Swift released her seventh album on Aug. 23, which means any Swiftie you meet will probably (understandably) be all up in their feels. Just like in her last six albums, Taylor Swift's Lover lyrics about relationships are spot-on. From the head-rush of a crush and the nerves of a new love, the security and warmth of a healthy, long-term relationship, and the wistfulness of a messy breakup, Lover blends all the best elements of Swift — both musically and lyrically.
On Lover, Swift gives us the passion of Fearless, the introspection of Red, the carefree vibes of 1989, and the edginess of reputation. The songs are set in high-school hallways, hospital rooms, board rooms, sprawling New York City, and rainy London. It's so rich with storytelling, it's like watching a movie. TBH, it'll probably be my soundtrack for the rest of the year, and, admittedly, it makes for some quality, go-to Instagram caption inspo.
Of course, when it comes to the romantic bits of Lover, there are loads of clues to examine. What songs are about Swift's current boyfriend, Joe Alwyn? Is "Lover" about Tom Hiddleston, Calvin Harris, or OG Swift ex, Joe Jonas? Either way, there's so much emotional depth to Swift's songs that you don't need to have dated a British movie star or a high-profile DJ to relate. As always, Swift is great at capturing all the trials and tribulations of what it means to be human, and what it means to love.
Next to "Me!" and "The Archer," here are 12 songs on Lover that get super real about relationships.
"I Forgot That You Existed"
Swift kicks off the album with what could be considered Big Petty Energy with a song called "I Forgot That You Existed." Fans think it's about Calvin Harris, if not Kanye West, but the chorus of this bouncy piano bop proves it's not about being shady. Instead, it's about that glorious moment you realize your brain has finally stopped wasting energy on a beef that doesn't deserve it.
I forgot that you existed / And I thought that it would kill me, but it didn't /And it was so nice — So peaceful and quiet / I forgot that you existed / It isn't love, it isn't hate: it's just indifference
Swift sets the tone right away: finger-snapping to the beat of gracefully moving on from a messy ex.
"Cruel Summer" is kind of reminiscent of "Call It What You Want," and keeps that same, passionate energy. It's about that summertime fling you'd risk it all for — but only because there's a sliver of a chance that fling could blossom into something more.
Swift is a master storyteller, who consistently serves more rich imagery and juicy metaphors than an AP English exam. And God, it sounds like this romance is truly a story to tell. Swift sings:
I'm drunk in the back of the car/ And I cried like a baby coming home from the bar / Said, "I'm fine," but it wasn't true / I don't wanna keep secrets just to keep you / And I snuck in through the garden gate/ Every night that summer just to seal my fate / And I scream, "For whatever it's worth / I love you, ain't that the worst thing you ever heard?"
There's something special about realizing that you really do love someone, and you don't want to be with anyone else. Swift captures this heart-pounding moment perfectly in the bridge of "Cruel Summer."
Apart from the overarching theme of the record, Swift nailed it by naming her album after this song. It paints a warm, tangible picture of what it's like to be in love and dating someone you can see yourself with for years to come.
We could leave the Christmas lights up 'til January / This is our place, we make the rules / And there's a dazzling haze, a mysterious way about you, dear /Have I known you 20 seconds or 20 years?
As fans see in the video, the lyrics center around house and home. It's such a poetic way of talking about romantic love. There isn't a more solid commitment you can make to your partner than moving in and building a life with them.
"I Think He Knows"
"I Think He Knows" is heavy on the synths and on the heart-fluttering crush feels. It's infused with the sort of delicious chemistry that will make you wonder if you should make a move on the person you like.
Lyrical smile, indigo eyes, hand on my thigh / We could follow the sparks, I'll drive / "So where we gonna go?" / I whisper in the dark /"Where we gonna go?" / I think he knows
"Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince"
First off, this song sounds like a track off Lana Del Rey's Born to Die album. There's teen-movie imagery, a dash of darkness, sweeping synths, and a hip-hop backbeat. One of the best bits of the song is this cheerleader-esque verse:
And I don't want you to (Go) / I don't really wanna (Fight) / 'Cause nobody's gonna (Win) / I think you should come home / And I'll never let you (Go) / 'Cause I know this is a (Fight) / That someday we're gonna (Win) / Just thought you should know
Swift drives home the high-school romance vibe and gets to the heart of what it's like to fight for a relationship, all while concocting a dark pop masterpiece. Love to see it!
From the moment it dropped, the upbeat tambourine-kissed bop that is "Paper Rings" has been giving Swifties life — mainly because Swift seems so d*mn happy with Joe Alwyn. In the chorus, Swift sings:
I like shiny things, but I'd marry you with paper rings / Ah-ah, that's right, you're the one I want/ I hate accidents except when we went from friends to this / Ah-ah, darling, you're the one I want
Not only are these lyrics just bursting with joy, but there's also a bit of wonder in them. Sometimes, the best things in life happen by chance, including finding the person you want to be with for the rest of your life. The title of "Paper Rings" aside, the wedding rom-com energy really leaps out in this song.
More than any song, "Cornelia Street" and its meaning has had listeners questioning what the heck Swift is singing about. For starters, Swift's house on Cornelia Street was a real place — one she happened to be living in as she started seeing Alwyn in 2016. When it comes to the song itself, Swift accurately describes what it's like to be deeply in love with someone, but scared of taking that first leap (which may lead to playing games):
Windows flung right open, autumn air / Jacket 'round my shoulders is yours / We bless the rains on Cornelia Street / Memorize the creaks in the floor/ Back when we were card sharks, playing games / I thought you were leading me on/ I packed my bags, left Cornelia Street / Before you even knew I was gone
A poetic genius! A wordsmith of emotions! One interesting tidbit is that many fans think "Cornelia Street" is about Karlie Kloss — not Alwyn — based on this Cornelia-Street-era photo of Swift wearing Kloss' jacket. Either way, Swift delivers all the drama of a new love in this song.
"Death By A Thousand Cuts"
If you thought "Cornelia Street" was a brilliant bop about a torrid romance, listen to "Death By A Thousand Cuts." Simply put, it's about breaking up with someone and longing to be back with them ("I look through the windows of this love / Even though we boarded them up") instead of looking for closure.
Swift lays it all out in the second verse, singing:
My heart, my hips, my body, my love / Tryna find a part of me that you didn't touch / Gave up on me like I was a bad drug / Now I'm searching for signs in a haunted club
Often times, even though a breakup may be the right move, it can still leave you with questions you want answered. The rest of this hard-hitting verse contains Swift's favorite lyrics from the entire Lover album:
Our songs, our films, united we stand/ Our country, guess it was a lawless land/ Quiet my fears with the touch of your hand / Paper cut stains from our paper-thin plans
The wordplay and emotion here? Unmatched. A fun fact: Swift said this song is inspired by the Netflix film Someone Great.
Cheers to all the friends and classmates (and maybe even you) who snagged a British boo while studying abroad in London. This song is so fun because it playfully touches on the differences between the U.K. and America, like weather, music, and famous neighborhoods. Swift's second verse is just bursting with references:
And now I love high tea, stories from Uni, and the West End / You can find me in the pub, we are watching rugby with his school friends / Show me a gray sky, a rainy cab ride / Babes, don't threaten me with a good time / They say home is where the heart is / But God, I love the English
That's the cool part about dating someone who has a different cultural background. Typically, you'll get to have new social experiences and travel! Another fun fact that many Swifties clocked: The voice on "London Boy" is Idris Elba from this James Corden interview.
When the Lover tracklist dropped, there was speculation that "False God" was about politics. Because how juicy would it be to have a now-very-politically-involved Taylor Swift call out false political idols? Nah, "False God" turned out to be a sexy, R&B slow jam that is probably about Joe Alwyn, and it's super hot:
We might just get away with it / The altar is my hips / Even if it's a false god / We'd still worship this love/We’d still worship this love
Since it dropped, Swifties have been hot and bothered by "False God." The whole song is ripe with all sorts of spicy, religion-themed metaphors about heaven, confession, and begging for forgiveness. And of course, the sensual saxophone isn't a bad touch!
"Afterglow" is one of the most interesting songs on Lover, especially when it comes to ideas of romance. It's easy, in some ways, to write about the lust of a summer fling or the bits of your heart that feel lost post-breakup. It's hard owning up to how much you might have hurt others in relationships, instead of just talking about how much others have hurt you. Swift sings:
Fighting with a true love is boxing with no gloves / Chemistry 'til it blows up, 'til there’s no us / Why'd I have to break what I love so much? / It's on your face, and I'm to blame, I need to say
It kind of echoes the part of "The Archer," where Swift says:
I've been the archer, I've been the prey / Screaming, who could ever leave me, darling / But who could stay?
If not the complex sounds of Lover, this song shows all kinds of wonderful growth on Swift's part.
And last but not least, there's "Daylight." Just like "Afterglow," it's all about accountability.
Luck of the draw only draws the unlucky / And so I became the butt of the joke / I wounded the good and I trusted the wicked / Clearing the air, I breathed in the smoke
It's good to be straightforward and direct in relationships. It's another thing to proceed in a way that hurts people (and therefore, hurts yourself). It's all about finding balance, which makes this song so relatable.
As always, listen to Taylor Swift if you're looking to really feel something. But for sure, listen to Lover if you're looking for just the right words — and moods, and melodies — about glowing and growing in your romantic relationships.