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From Cornelia Street to London: All the Shade and Easter Eggs on Taylor Swift’s ‘Lover’

The odes to Joe Alwyn are pretty apparent, but there’s enough fruit on the vine here for Kaylor shippers too

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Taylor Swift’s much-anticipated album Lover dropped Friday, ushering in a new era full of the catchy bops and country ballads we all missed so much. But just because Taylor’s new vibe is all pastels and soft sunshine doesn’t mean she can’t still bring the shade—from calling out everyone she’s ever dated to more political and social commentary, there are plenty of deep cuts and Easter eggs to parse in the lengthy—18-song!— album.

First of all, I hope Joe Alwyn, Taylor’s boyfriend of three years, is just as committed to this relationship as his megastar girlfriend, because judging by the lyrics on the album, she is ready for wedding bells tomorrow. Several songs on the album include shout-outs to their forever love, including “Lover,” “Paper Rings,” “I Think He Knows,” and “London Boy.” Listen, I’m glad she’s happy! Joe Alwyn might be the most boring person in the world, but whatever floats your boat, girl.

Luckily, for those of us less enamored of Mr. Blue-Eyed Billy Lynn, Taylor shouts out plenty of past relationships on Lover, too. Apologies to “Thank U, Next,” but “I Forgot That You Existed” has taken the crown for Most Savage Break-up Song of 2019: “It isn’t love, it isn’t hate; it’s just indifference.” Whew! Jill Gutowitz theorized for Vulture that this deeply petty song is about Calvin Harris, and considering I also forgot he existed, that checks out. It could also be a dig at Taylor’s ongoing feud with Kanye and Kim Kardashian West, but it seems like there’s a new conflict between them every other day, so as hard as we try, it’s impossible to forget about all of that.

And please think of the Kaylor shippers in your life today—between “Cornelia Street,” “False God,” and “It’s Nice to Have a Friend,” the internet conspiracy theory that Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss are star-crossed lovers has never been stronger. (Which is not to say that it’s particularly strong, still, but LET US HAVE THIS.) There’s an entire Carol reference in “It’s Nice To Have a Friend”—“Lost my gloves / You give me one / Wanna hang out? / Yes, sounds like fun.” No one has ever referenced a clandestine glove lunch in a totally straight way, I said what I said. Harold, they’re—probably not, but seriously, live a little—lesbians.

Even if she’s not secretly in love with Karlie, Taylor is an ally now. She’s political! OK, she may still have work to do, as evidenced by people lashing out at her overblown attempt at advocating for LGBTQ rights in her video for “You Need to Calm Down.” But progress is progess, and from lyrics supporting the gay community to teaching Fighting Sexism 101 in “The Man,” Taylor proves that she can mix Important Messages with delicious shade, like when she sings, “They would toast to me, oh, let the players play / I’d be just like Leo in Saint-Tropez.” I assume she’s referring to Leo’s dating history and not his beach volleyball skills, but who can say?

And finally, in “Daylight,” the lyrics “You ran with the wolves and refused to settle down,” could point to Harry Styles. One Direction released a song called “Wolves” in 2015, and various online sleuths have connected the song to Taylor’s “Out of the Woods” music video, which was supposedly also written about Harry. But hello, are we all forgetting that Taylor dated someone who actually ran with the wolves in the 2009 cinematic classic Twilight: New Moon? This song is obviously about Taylor Lautner, and you can take that to the bank.

Even if the album boils down to 70 percent Joe Alwyn, 20 percent Kaylor, and 10 percent everyone else, it doesn’t really matter who Taylor is pining for, or dragging in the dirt—pretty much every song on Lover is just as good as we hoped. Now excuse me, I’m off to watch Carol on repeat and scour the internet for every photo of Karlie and Taylor ever taken on Cornelia Street.