Every piece of evidence that Taylor Swift’s all-new single is about Harry Styles
#Haylor is alive, back from the dead
by Amanda Ross
Last night, Taylor Alison Swift conned us all into watching a college football game in hopes of getting some tiny breadcrumb of a clue about her forthcoming album, Reputation. But Mother always provides, and we were treated not to a flower wall or a cryptic tweet but a full song.
And it's great. If you haven't listened to it, head over to iTunes and give Miss Taylor her coins. If you've been playing it on a loop like I have (y'all, I literally left a date to listen), then you'll know this song isn't about Calvin or New Joe or Old Joe. It's about the holy grail of Former Mr. Taylor Swifts: Harry Styles.
Let's examine the lyrical evidence, shall we?
'Wonder how many girls he'd loved and left haunted'
This is the first of many old song callbacks Taylor will reference in this song. We get her third reference to being "haunted" (also found in "Sparks Fly" and, yes, "Haunted") but more importantly, we immediately know this is a Bad Guy, a heartbreaker. It's reminiscent of "I Knew You Were Trouble" and "Style", two iconic Haylor tracks. Let's continue.
'If he's a ghost, then I can be a phantom'
Ah yes, our first true smoking gun. In his eponymous debut album, Harry Styles wrote a song about Taylor called "Two Ghosts" in which he says they're like — yep — two ghosts. This is the second time she's referred to their relationship in ghost-y terms, actually, the first being on 1989's "This Love" when she sings "Your smile, my ghost." It's critical to note that in that song, she loops back around to reference another 1989 track, "Wildest Dreams" which she also does in this song! It's Taylor, you guys. Everything is intentional.
'Younger than my exes but he acts like such a man, so'
Another big one. Taylor has dated exactly three men younger than she is: Harry Styles, Connor Kennedy, and current beau Joe Alwyn. Connor is immediately out of the running. We left him back in the Red era, and we all know he was a gangly teenage band-aid over her Gyllenhaal-shaped bullet wound.
It cooould be about the guy she's dating now, British actor Joe Alwyn, but it doesn't really fit into the timeline. Reputation was recorded last fall/winter and she didn't begin dating Alwyn until the spring. Plus, Taylor herself said her albums are always about what's happened to her over the past few years. She's never writing in the present. It's Harry, guys.
'Island breeze and lights down low, no one has to know'
Jumping ahead a bit to the second verse, Taylor again sings about and island and an island breeze. There are two critical island happenings in Taylor's love life: a highly-publicized tropical vacation she took with ex Calvin Harris, and a New Year's island trip with you guessed it! Harry Styles! Also in this line we've got a reference to "lights down low" which is also a lyric in One Direction's song "Right Now" and a "No one has to know" line that's a direct reflection of "Wildest Dreams" lyric "No one has to know what we do, his hands are in my hair, his clothes are in my room."
'But if I'm a thief then he can join the heist'
Compare to One Direction's lyric "I'm a thief, I'm a thief, you can call me a thief" from their early hit, "Stand Up." Plus, around the time of Haylor's first rise, Harry filmed a commercial for the One Direction perfume in which he's part of a heist to steal it.
'He can be my jailer, Burton to this Taylor'
So the Burton and Taylor she sings about are Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor who were famous for their tumultuous off-and-on-again relationship. And normally that wouldn't mean anything but so much of what Taylor's said publicly about Harry the songs about him reference their cycle of breaking up and getting back together. I mean, that's the whole point of her song "Style" which, c'mon. I don't need to spell it out.
Haylor 2.0 has risen.