Taylor Swift dropped her second single off of new album, Reputation, yesterday. (I’ve had it on repeat ever since.)
It's a continuation of the new bold and unapologetic Swift we heard on Look What You Made Me Do, with rap-style verses, an electro-infused bridge and a stadium chant at the end.
Swifties are divided as to whether the song is about Taylor's supposed new boyfriend Joe Alwyn or ex-boyfriend Harry Styles. (I'm firmly in the Styles camp!)
From a spectator’s viewpoint, Swift and Styles' 2012-13 relationship seemed fleeting, and 1989 painted a much more vivid picture, telling the story of a complicated, secret, on again, off again romance. And ...Ready for it? seems to revisit some of these themes.
Let's examine the evidence that ...Ready For It? is about Styles:
The lyrics point at a couple who both have a reputation for being serial daters - which Swift and Styles did back in 2012. Swift wonders “how many girls he loved and left haunted", whilst acknowledging her own penchant for “stealing hearts and running off and never saying sorry”.
The song also describes someone “younger than my exes”. At 26, Alwyn is younger than both of Swift’s recent exes (Calvin Harris and Tom Hiddleston) and Styles is just a little more than four years younger than Swift. Which is a lot younger than Jake Gyllenhaal and John Mayer - nine and 12 years older than Swift, respectively - whom she dated before Styles.
Meanwhile, the lyrics “I see how this is gonna go” and “no one has to know” are reminiscent of the lines “I can see the end as it begins” and “no one has to know what we do” in Wildest Dreams. Swift once again seems to be singing about a secret, and possibly ill-fated, relationship. The lyric referencing an “island breeze” could also be linked to the idea of secret locations, which Swift explores in I Know Places. And Swift and Styles famously took a tropical island holiday together.
Taylor also sings, “but if he's ghost then I can be a phantom”, and both she and the One Directioner have a history of making references to ghosts in their songs.
Swift’s song How You Get The Girl features the line, “stand there like a ghost, shaking from the rain”, while Style's Two Ghosts has the lines, “same red lips and blue eyes/Same white shirt, couple more tattoos".
Finally, we have the line “Burton to this Taylor”, which references movie stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who famously had a bumpy relationship in which they broke up and got back together several times; mirroring Swift and Styles' relationship.
Could all these mean that #Haylor is back on the cards?
Edited by Heidi Yeung