Baby, let the games begin. Are you ready for it?! After years of fans waiting for a new album and months of lead-up, Taylor Swift's album Reputation is finally here for our listening pleasure. The singer has been throwing out musical breadcrumbs in the form of singles, videos, and a bevy of cryptic social media teasers, but now her new project has been released in its entirety. But Taylor Swift isn't your average pop star. Her music has become about reading in between the lines for meaning. So, which Reputation songs are about Joe Alwyn? Swift's tracks are up to interpretation, but we're pretty sure there are references to their relationship. This is love song virtuoso Taylor Swift we're talking about.
Taylor's clever lyrical stylings always keep fans and critics alike guessing. We don't expect the talented writer to spell out anything explicitly -- the name of the album isn't J.O.E. or something and it doesn't come with a decoder ring to decipher hidden signals. But the songstress does have an, ahem, reputation for inserting her personal life into song, so we can't help but wonder who they point to this time around. And many signs point to her current beau, actor Joe Alwyn.
Figuring out who Tay is crooning about has become half the fun of listening. OK, not half. Because most of her songs are crazy good and we would enjoy them regardless. On 2014's 1989 Taylor nodded to who everyone assumed was ex du jour, Harry Styles, with a song that was literally called "Style." Much of 2012's Red pointed fans in the direction of Jake Gyllenhaal and Connor Kennedy. Speak Now seemed to hint to Joe Jonas — the then 20-year-old hadn't had many public courtships at that point. Of course, there was that whole "Dear John" John Mayer hunch (sometimes she names names) and "Innocent," her supposed emotional response to Kanye West.
Flash forward to 2017. It's been three years since Tay has released an album, and she's been publicly linked to Calvin Harris, Tom Hiddleston, and Joe Alwyn since then. The speculation net surrounding Reputation is a bit wider, but the clues appear to be just as present.
Let's start with a track that feels more obviously inspired by Alwyn. Taylor released "Gorgeous" prior to the full album as her third single — an anthem about the frustrating sting of unrequited crushing. The lyrics speak of "ocean blue eyes" (check), someone with a similar age (check), making fun of the way said person talks (check, he's British.) Plus, she apparently spilled the beans about the song's inspo to fans at her Reputation listening sessions. Oops.
Then there's "Call It What You Want," a lovey-dovey answer to the pervasive "what are we?" relationship inquiry. Taylor's "castle crumbled overnight" apparently, so she must have been speaking from a post break-up perspective. Who hurt you, Taylor? We'll take a wild guess. But it's all good. Her "baby's fit like a daydream" and she wants to wear his initials around her neck. All of these kind words and soft sentiments make us think she's speaking about the man she's currently going home to at night.
If "Call It What You Want" speaks to the fairytale beginnings of Taylor's relationship with Alwyn, then perhaps "...Ready For It?" might serve as a sexy prologue. The catchy faster-paced pop jam plays out like a well-crafted fantasy of what could be. "We'll move to an island, and he can be my jailor," Taylor suggests. Taylor also mentions running away in "Call It What You Want." The dream of a storybook escape has been alive in Swift's music ever since she was a teen. Her hit "Love Story" is all about that forbidden romance life.
And then of course there's "King Of My Heart." Taylor talks about being somebody's "American Queen," so she's likely speaking to a person who isn't from the US. And there's no bad blood with these declarations of love:
And all at once, you are the one I have been waiting for. King of my heart, body and soul, ooh whoa. And all at once, you are all I want I'll never let you go. King of my heart, body and soul, ooh whoa.
Royal connection, perhaps? Joe is going to be appearing in the upcoming Mary Queen of Scots movie. Though, he'll be playing Lord Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester. "Earl of My Heart" doesn't have quite the same ring to is, does it?
Taylor also asks, "do the girls back home touch you like I do?" in "Delicate," so the references to someone from out of the country continue.
The exact moment Tay and Joe made it official is unclear, but the potential timeline we does have them as an item last "New Year's Day," the final track on the album. Taylor has a history of rounding out out her album's narrative with an optimistic open door — "Begin Again" spoke of budding new love, "Clean" was all about finally healing. She writes in the new song:
There's glitter on the floor after the party. Girls carrying their shoes down in the lobby. Candle wax and Polaroids on the hardwood floor. You and me forevermore.
Don’t read the last page. But I stay when it's hard or it's wrong or we're making mistakesI want your midnights. But I'll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year's Day.
We can only assume she's referring to how she still feels now, unless she's talking about some other memorable January. We already know she used to go back to December all the time...
Yup -- Taylor Swift finally has a whole brand spankin' new album to devour and I-I-I see how this is gonna go. We'll be listening to it for months on end, wondering what it all it means.