Looking Back at All of Taylor Swift's Songs Inspired by Joe Alwyn

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

From 'Lover' to 'All the Girls You Loved Before,' look back at the songs Swift has written about Alwyn over the years

Mike Marsland/WireImage, Terry Wyatt/Getty Images Joe Alwyn and Taylor Swift
Mike Marsland/WireImage, Terry Wyatt/Getty Images Joe Alwyn and Taylor Swift

Joe Alwyn inspired a handful of Taylor Swift songs during their relationship.

The singer and actor first started dating in 2016 and were notoriously private about their relationship before they officially split in April 2023. However, Swift did give several glimpses of their love story in her music.

Since the release of Reputation in 2017, Swift penned numerous tracks about the English actor, from flirty pop tracks to love ballads (she has also made references to Alwyn in music video Easter eggs as well).

While some songs were more pointed than others — such as Swift's lyrics about Alwyn's blue eyes and accent — others hinted at their close bond with each other and the beginnings of their relationship.

In addition to being the subject of Swift's music, Alwyn also collaborated with Swift on recent projects, including writing songs for Folklore, Evermore and Midnights under the pseudonym William Bowery.

Following the release of Swift's Tortured Poets Department album, which includes more pointed references to Alwyn, look back at all the songs he inspired.

Related: Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn's Relationship Timeline

". . . Ready For It?" from Reputation

Swift seems to document the beginning of her relationship with Alwyn in ". . . Ready For It?" including how they initially took things slowly as she wanted their relationship to last. The music video also features several Easter eggs about the actor, including his birth year and his name in Chinese characters.

"End Game" from Reputation

In "End Game," Swift once again talks about wanting to be with Alwyn for the long haul, singing, "I can't let you go, your hand print's on my soul / It's like your eyes are liquor, it's like your body is gold." Additionally, the music video is also set in London and features shots of Swift wearing her "J" necklace, seemingly standing for Joe.

"Delicate" from Reputation

In the love ballad, Swift sings about falling for someone when her reputation was crumbling, alluding to the early stages of her relationship with Alwyn. She also sings about them sneaking off to private places to be together with the opener: "Dive bar on the East Side, where you at? / Phone lights up my nightstand in the black / Come here; you can meet me in the back." Additionally, she talks about her love interest wearing "dark jeans and Nikes," an ensemble the actor has worn on various occasions with Swift, and many think the lyric "oh damn, never seen that color blue" refers to Alwyn's eyes.

"Gorgeous" from Reputation

The flirty track is speculated to be about how Swift fell for Alwyn after first meeting at the 2016 Met Gala. In the lyrics, she seemingly references her DJ ex, Calvin Harris, as she sings that she has a boyfriend "in the club doing, I don't know what." She also gushes about Alwyn's "ocean blue eyes" and how she made fun of his English accent when they first met.

"King of My Heart" from Reputation

Swift's king and queen references throughout the song are taken to be nods to Alwyn's English roots. She also sings that her exes don't compare to Alwyn, as she sings, "'Cause all the boys and their expensive cars / With their Range Rovers and their Jaguars / Never took me quite where you do" (which, perhaps not coincidentally, are cars that previous boyfriends Harris and Tom Hiddleston drove). Finally, she talks about keeping their love a secret, alluding to how private Swift and Alwyn have been about their relationship since getting together.

"Dress" from Reputation

In the bridge of "Dress," Swift seems to confirm that she first met Alwyn at the 2016 Met Gala as she mentions his "buzzcut" and her "hair bleached," hairstyles they notably sported at the fashion event that year. She also talks about how they fell for each other in her darkest moments as she sings, "Even in my worst times, you could see the best of me."

"Call It What You Want" from Reputation

Swift seems to give a closer look at her bond with Alwyn in the lyrics as she talks about how she trusts him like a brother and wants to "wear his initial on a chain round my neck," referring to the "J" pendant she was seen wearing.

"New Year's Day" from Reputation

The lyrics seem to detail Swift and Alwyn's lasting love for each other through good and bad times as she sings: "I want your midnights / But I'll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year's Day." She ends the song by adding that she wants to be with her love "forevermore."

Related: On Lover, Taylor Swift — Self-Assured and Madly in Love — Revels in a Hard-Won Happy Ending

"Lover" from Lover

In the title track from 2019's Lover, Swift sings about finding her person after various heartbreaks. "There's a line in the song that I'm really proud of, and the line says, 'With every guitar string scar in my hand, I take this magnetic force of a man to be my lover,' and that line is really special to me because I've spent quite a bit of time writing break-up songs," she previously said of the bridge during NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concert Series.

Swift also seemingly confirms their 2016 dating anniversary, as she sings about loving her beau for three summers.

"Cruel Summer" from Lover

Fans have theorized that "Cruel Summer" reveals the singer was fighting feelings for Alwyn while dating Hiddleston between May and September 2016. "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," she sings on the bridge. By the end of the bridge, she sings about confessing her love to Alwyn with the lyrics: "I screamed for whatever it's worth / 'I love you,' ain't that the worst thing you ever heard?"

Related: A Comprehensive List of All the Easter Eggs Taylor Swift Has Left for Fans in Her New Music

"I Think He Knows" from Lover

In the track, "I Think He Knows," Swift sings about her beau knowing she's fallen for him. "He got that boyish look that I like in a man," she seemingly sings about Alwyn, later giving a nod to his "lyrical smile" and "indigo eyes."

"Paper Rings" from Lover

In "Paper Rings," Swift details wanting to commit to someone long-term as she sings, "I like shiny things, but I'd marry you with paper rings." She also details some of her private moments with Alwyn, including when they painted his brother's room blue together.

"Cornelia Street" from Lover

This track, about already feeling nostalgic the bittersweet golden beginnings of a relationship, chronicles the early days of their love story and living together, starting with "We were in the backseat, drunk on something stronger than the drinks in the bar/I rent a place on Cornelia Street, I say casually in the car ... " and leading to memories of tough times: "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/ But then you called, showed your hand/ I turned around before I hit the tunnel/ Sat on the roof, you and I."

The conclusion? "I hope I never lose you, hope this never ends. I'd never walk Cornelia Street again."

"London Boy" from Lover

Swift sings about her British beau's laugh, dimples and accent while cheekily admitting: "You know I love a London boy." She then sings about trekking around various parts of his hometown, alluding to the time they have spent together in London during their relationship.

"Daylight" from Lover

In the emotional closing track for Lover, Swift sings about finding true love after all of her ups and downs. "I once believed love would be burning red," she sings, making a reference to her emotional album Red. "But it's golden / Like daylight."

Related: Taylor Swift on Making Folklore Album in Isolation: 'Picking Up a Pen Was My Way of Escaping'

"Peace" from Folklore

During her conversation with Paul McCartney for Rolling Stone, Swift explained that "Peace" is "rooted in [her] personal life" and about her navigating finding a balance between her public persona and private life as she was falling in love with Alwyn.

"I, oftentimes, in my anxieties, can control how I am as a person and how normal I act and rationalize things, but I cannot control if there are 20 photographers outside in the bushes and what they do and if they follow our car and if they interrupt our lives," she said. "I can't control if there's going to be a fake weird headline about us in the news tomorrow."

When McCartney asked if her partner sympathizes with that, the singer responded, "absolutely" adding, "I think that in knowing him and being in the relationship I am in now, I have definitely made decisions that have made my life feel more like a real life and less like just a storyline to be commented on in tabloids. Whether that's deciding where to live, who to hang out with, when to not take a picture — the idea of privacy feels so strange to try to explain, but it's really just trying to find bits of normalcy."

"Invisible String" from Folklore

Through the song, Swift makes references to both her and Alwyn's early life — including her time at Centennial Park when she lived in Nashville and his time working at a yogurt shop when he was a teenager — as she talks about an invisible string that eventually led them to each other. "And isn't it just so pretty to think / All along there was some / Invisible string / Tying you to me?" she sings.

"The Lakes" from Folklore

Swift sings about wanting to escape the spotlight and whisk away to the lakes to be with her "muse," which many fans think is a nod to Alwyn as he's been the main inspiration behind her love songs over the course of their private relationship.

"I don't belong, and my beloved, neither do you," she sings of the couple's desire to escape the eyes of others.

Related: Taylor Swift Continues Weaving Musical Magic on Exquisitely Introspective Evermore

"Long Story Short" from Evermore

Once again, Swift recalls what her life was like before finding Alwyn as she sings about everything from falling for the "wrong guy" to her "nemeses." After those "bad times," she sings, "I'm all about you," and adds," "No more keepin' score now / I just keep you warm / No more tug of war now / I just know there's more."

"Lavender Haze" from Midnights

Following the announcement of the Midnights song, Swift revealed that she was inspired to write the track after watching Mad Men reference the "Lavender Haze" as "being in love." She added that the song was specifically about her longtime relationship with Alwyn.

"Like my relationship for six years, we've had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it," Swift said. "And so this song is sort of about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff."

In the song, she refers to the "1950s s--- they put on me," adding, "All they keep asking me/ Is if I'm gonna be your bride/The only kinda girl they see (Only kinda girl they see)/Is a one-night or a wife."

"Snow on the Beach" from Midnights

This dreamy ballad, with features Lana Del Rey, was explained by Swift ahead of its release.

"The song is about falling in love with someone at the same time as they're falling in love with you, in this sort of in this cataclysmic, faded moment where you realize someone feels exactly the same way that you feel, at the same moment," she said in an Instagram Reel. "And you're kind of looking around going, "Wait, is this real? Is this a dream? Is this for real? Is it really happening? Kinda like it would be if you were to see snow falling on a beach."

The lyrics are all about the surreality of falling in love, including a fun nod to Janet Jackson: "I can't speak, afraid to jinx it/ I don't even dare to wish it / But your eyes are flying saucers from another planet / Now I'm all for you like Janet / Can this be a real thing? Can it?"

"Labyrinth" from Midnights

This song, about feeling anxiety that a relationship going well can't last, nods at some of the lyrics about the early days of her love story with Alwyn she chronicled on Lover (think: her escape from their apartment and eventual routine in "Cornelia Street").

"You know how scared I am of elevators/ Never trust it if it rises fast/ It can't last," she sings on "Labyrinth," adding in the chorus: "I thought the plane was going down/ How'd you turn it right around?"

"Sweet Nothing" from Midnights

Written with "William Bowery" (the alias Joe Alwyn uses when he contributes to her albums), this song celebrates a love who wants nothing from her when the world is asking for a lot: "Outside they're push and shoving/ You're in the kitchen humming/ All that you ever wanted from me was sweet nothing."

She also seems to reference the time she and Alwyn spent in Belfast while he filmed Conversations with Friends last year: "I spy with my little tired eye/ Tiny as a firefly a pebble that we picked up last July/ Down deep inside your pocket we almost forgot it/ Does it ever miss Wicklow sometimes?"

"Mastermind" from Midnights

In Midnight's last track, Swift admits that she had her eye on Alwyn from the beginning.

"So I told you none of it was accidental and the first night that you saw me nothing was gonna stop me/ I laid the groundwork and then saw a wide smirk on your face/ You knew the entire time."

"All of the Girls You Loved Before"

In "All of the Girls You Loved Before," an unreleased track that was considered for her seventh studio album Lover, Swift seemingly sings about being grateful for Alwyn's former girlfriends as they made him the man she loves today.

The lyrics seem to line up with other songs Swift has written about Alwyn. For instance, the lyrics "Your past and mine are parallel lines / Stars all aligned and they intertwined" have a striking resemblance to "Mastermind" as she sings, "Once upon a time, the planets and the fates /And all the stars aligned / You and I ended up in the same room / At the same time."

"My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys" from The Tortured Poets Department

On "My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys," Swift sings about being played by the object of her affection. She also makes a reference to Ken dolls, similar to her Midnights track "Hits Different," which was rumored to be about Alwyn.

She sings, "I felt more when we played pretend than with all the Kens/ 'Cause he took me out of my box/ Stole my tortured heart/ Left all these broken parts/ Told me I'm better off/ But I'm not," she sings later in the song.

"So Long, London" from The Tortured Poets Department

As Swift's track five on the album, she doesn't hold back emotionally. On the song, she details trying to save a failing relationship and the loneliness she grappled with. She also notes that her partner wasted her time on a romance that eventually went nowhere.

"And I'm pissed off you let me give you all that youth for free," she sings, reflecting what she had told Time about wanting to live freely. "Me locking myself away in my house for a lot of years — I'll never get that time back," she told the outlet.

"Fresh Out the Slammer" from The Tortured Poets Department

On "Fresh Out the Slammer," Swift further shares how isolated she felt in her relationship. "Another summer taking cover/ Rolling thunder, he don't understand me/ Splintered back in winter/ Silent dinner, bitter he was with her in dreams," she sings.

She also talks about running to another lover after their breakup, which many assume is a reference to Matty Healy. "Now we're at the starting line/ I did my time," she sings, possibly referencing The Starting Line, a band often covered by The 1975.

"I Can Do It with a Broken Heart" from The Tortured Poets Department

On "I Can Do It with a Broken Heart," Swift appears to call out two lovers who promised her forever. Fans believe the first chorus is about Alwyn as she sings, "He said he'd love me all his life / But that life was too short."

"The Prophecy" from The Tortured Poets Department

On "The Prophecy," Swift sings about dealing with constant heartbreak and her hopes to reverse her fate. "I've been on my knees / Change the prophecy," she sings. "Don't want money / Just someone who wants my company."

As she grapples with being single and alone, she sings, "A greater woman has faith / But even statues crumble if they're made to wait / I'm so afraid I sealed my fate / No sign of soulmates."

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.