Earlier today, Taylor Swift dropped the second single from her upcoming ‘Reputation‘ album, ‘…Ready For It?‘, and fans are already combing the lyrics for possible references.
It’s widely believing that this new ditty refers to Taylor’s under-the-radar boyfriend Joe Alwyn, making this the first time she’s publicly spoken about the relationship.
The couple had supposedly been dating “for months” when The Sun broke the news of the relationship in May this year, but since then there’s been nothing so much as a whisper about the couple. People reported a source saying the couple were “very happy” last week, but uh… that’s about it.
The ‘…Ready For It?’ lyrics are already available online, thanks to Genius, so lets dive in.
Taylor starts by talking about their first meeting, which is common enough for the singer. (See: ‘Love Story‘, ‘Forever & Always‘, ‘Enchanted‘, ‘I Knew You Were Trouble‘, ‘Blank Space‘, for starters.)
First he was a killer
First time that I saw him
Elle points out that Taylor was spotted leaving a screening of Joe’s film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk in November last year, which fans reckon is around the time or just before the couple started dating. Joe plays a soldier who suddenly finds himself elevated to war hero for an act of heroism, so even though the film is about the false narrative of celebrating war, he could fit the title of “killer”.
Wonder how many girls he had loved and left haunted
But if he’s a ghost then I can be a phantom
Holding him for ransom
Relationships “haunting” a person after they end is a common T-Swift theme, cropping up in ‘Haunted‘ and ‘Wildest Dreams‘.
This whole ‘captive’ vibe (“holding him for ransom”) comes up later in the track too, implying that both parties are deeply invested in this relationship. More on that in a minute.
Some boys are tryin’ too hard
He don’t try at all
Younger than my exes but he act like such a man so
If you’re looking for definitive proof, here it is: Taylor explicitly compares the subject of this song to her previous exes, the most recent of whom are 33 (Calvin Harris) and 36 (Tom Hiddleston). At age 26, Joe is basically a baby.
I-I-I see how this is gonna go
Touch me and you’ll never be alone
I-Island breeze and lights down low
No one has to know
Unlike the pap-friendly relationships of her past, Taylor has kept this relationship absolutely on lockdown.
Me, I was a robber first time that he saw me
Stealing hearts and running off and never saying sorry
Taylor’s highly publicised relationship with Tom Hiddleston – which can be summed up no better than the pap shots of Tom at her 4th of July party wearing that infamous ‘I – was the subject of much derision and conspiracy theories about why it was so damn public.
But if I’m a thief, then he can join the heist
And we’ll move to an island-and
And he can be my jailer, Burton to this Taylor
There we go, the second ‘captive’ reference. This time it’s Joe holding Taylor captive, rather than the other way around. Either these two are deeply in love or are deeply codependent.
And “Burton to this Taylor” is an obvious throw to legendary Hollywood couple Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. A stretch, tbh, but okay.
Every love I’ve known in comparison is a failure
I forget their names now
I’m so very tame now
Never be the same now, now
Calvin? Tom? Harry Styles? Joe Jonas? Those names mean nothing to Taylor. They can’t come to the phone right now. They’re dead.
So about that ‘boning’ part…
In the middle of the night, in my dreams
You should see the things we do, baby
In the middle of the night in my dreams
I know I’m gonna be with you
Taylor Swift likes to smang. There is no other interpretation of this lyric.
And finally, there’s just no way the repeated line of “let the games begin” doesn’t refer to Taylor finally going public with this relationship. It might mean a million other things as well – lyrics can have more than one meaning – but TayTay knows this track will bring heightened interest in her relationship. She’s ready for it.
Who knows, we might even get photographic evidence of this relationship soon. Fingers crossed.
Have a read of the full lyrics over on Genius, if you want to get deep into some Taylor Swift theory.