And among the stories about him celebrity feuds and past relationshipsshe also gave us a detailed look into her life with her current boyfriend Joe Alwyn, with whom she has shared an extremely private existence since they met in 2016.
In fact, while Joe was the subject of several songs on Taylor’s previous albums Reputation and Lover and a handle on Folklore and Still, Midnights actually gives us more information and context about their private relationship than ever before. So, without further ado, let’s dive deeper into everything we’ve learned.
Midnights starts with a title titled “lavender mist“, which is quite clearly an ode to Joe. Prior to the album’s release, Taylor revealed she had come across the title of the song while watching Mad Men and discovered it was a common phrase used in the 1950s to describe “falling in love”, which she thought was “really beautiful”.
The song seems to take us back to the beginning of their relationship when Taylor’s ~reputation~ was at rock bottom thanks to her. To fall with Kim Kardashian and Ye West. In the track, she refers to feeling “examined”, but says Joe handled things “beautifully” – something “new” for her.
It’s a notion that Taylor has referred to in the past. In 2017″Delicate“, written at the start of their relationship, she describes feeling good that Joe seems unfazed by the media frenzy around her and thinks he must “really love her” for who she really is given the state of his reputation.
Elsewhere in “Lavender Haze,” Taylor describes feeling frustrated with the endless speculation about whether the couple is engaged or married, which has been going on ever since they went official.
She references the “1950s shit” that the media and the public push her to perform by constantly wondering when she will be his “bride”.
She also says that she feels like she’s only ever seen as a “kind of girl” for a one-night stand or a “wife.” It’s a super interesting reminder of the sexist commentary that followed Taylor early in her career, when she was continually criticized for her “serial dating.”
In a 2016 interviewTaylor reflected on the comment and said she felt like a “lightning rod for bitch shame” despite normal dating for a woman in her 20s.
And “Lavender Haze” perfectly highlights this sexist link. When she was single, she was ashamed. Now that she is in a long-term relationship, she faces pressure from society to get married and have children.
In “Anti-hero“, Taylor reflects on how her self-identified “self-hatred” could impact her relationship with Joe. She opens this song by saying that she is getting “older” but never “wiser” – a topic which she has addressed in the past.
During his 2020 Netflix documentary, miss americanTaylor said she sometimes felt “frozen” at the age she first became famous – 15. And in 2019″The Archer“, Taylor lamented that she “never” grew up and “is getting so old.”
In fact, “The Archer” and “Anti-Hero” are quite closely related. In the first instance, she describes waking up in the night, pacing like “a ghost” and feeling unable to breathe due to anxiety. In the latter, she says that the midnights have become her afternoons and that her “depression” works “the graveyard quarter”.
In the chorus, she wonders if she’ll ever push Joe away, before adding that she must be “exhausting” to be with – something that echoes in “The Archer”, where she wonders: ” Who could ever leave me? / But who could stay?
Taylor goes on to reference her relationship with Joe again in “snow on the beach,where she offers compliments, including appearing ‘enlightened from within’ to him.
She also says that when she’s with him, she smiles like she’s “won a contest”, which fits perfectly with previous lyrics from 2019″Lover“, where she expresses her fear that everyone who sees Joe “wants it” and the 2020s “willow”, which compares it to an “award”, a “trophy” and a “championship ring”.
This song also alludes to the fact that their relationship is almost predestined, which also appeared in the 2020s “invisible chain.” But the idea that they were in orbit before they met also appears in “Long story short“, released the same year.
In fact, the lyrical parallels between the two songs are striking, with Taylor referencing Joe unknowingly passing her in both songs.
And in “Snow on the Beach,” Taylor uses an iconic Janet Jackson reference to emphasize that she’s “everything for” Joe, while in “Long Story Short,” she repeatedly tells Joe, “I’m everything. for you”.
Interestingly, however, on “BrainTaylor clarifies that although she thinks the stars aligned for her and Joe to meet, she was literally the mastermind behind the relationship coming to fruition.
Throughout the song, Taylor returns to the concept of love as a game, which has appeared countless times in her discography. “Love is a ruthless game unless you play it right and right,” Taylor sang in 2012.state of grace.”
And those of 2019″Cornelia Street‘, which details the beginnings of her relationship with Joe, is replete with references to gambling, with her describing the pair as ‘card sharks’ who were reluctant to ‘show’ their ‘hands’ to each other.
Taylor’s insistence that she orchestrated the relationship lends credence to her earlier claims in 2019″paper ringsthat she “stalked” Joe online the first night they met – presumably to get as much information as possible.
References to their instant electrical connection and wanting her “body” also provide context to earlier songs. These include 2017″Wonderful“, where she describes the thrill of touching Joe’s hand in a “dark room” and 2019″I think he knows“, where she sings about wanting to “know this body”.
However, things haven’t always been easy for the pair. “The Great War” is a complex depiction of a conflict so intense that it almost separated them.
In the song, we see Taylor describe how she vented her frustrations on Joe, “cursing” him in his sleep.
She sings about “punishing” Joe for things he never did as he desperately tries to find solutions to no avail.
She also suggests that Joe was the one who kept hanging on and fighting for the relationship – and that coming out the other side made her determined never to return to such a dark place.
At the end of the song, Taylor says they “survived” the dark times and realized they were “burning for the best”. She also says she “swore” to be “always” his, which is reflected in references to being together “forever” in 2017″New Year’s Day“and the wedding vows she sings in the 2019 bridge”Lover.”
The entirety of “The Great War” parallels that of 2019”Afterglow“Perfectly. In this song, Taylor laments her picking fights and blaming Joe for things he didn’t do, leading to heated arguments and her desperation to make things better later on.
But it looks like the pair have truly overcome their issues, as seen in “Sweet words– a song Taylor and Joe co-wrote together, with him using his now famous pseudonym, William Bowery. This track gives intimate details of their time in Wicklow, Ireland, likely while he was filming. Conversations with friends Last year.
The chorus is multifaceted. It seems to take us back to 2016 – the time when Taylor’s reputation was at its worst – with the reference to being told the “end” was “coming”.
However, she describes the comfort of coming home from the chaos of the outside world to Joe “humming” in the kitchen.
This connects to the aforementioned “Cornelia Street,” which details the early days of their relationship living in Taylor’s New York rental property. In one poignant lyric to that song, she details being “barefoot in the kitchen,” with their “sacred new beginnings” becoming her “religion.”
The mention of Joe asking Taylor about “nothing sweet” is also interesting here, as 2019’s “Paper Rings” is all about her, revealing that since being with Joe, she’s come to realize she values little ones. moments with him rather than the “shiny things”. Both songs seem to reflect the value Taylor places on this low-key, quiet, and private relationship.