SINCE Taylor Swift fell for British actor Joe Alwyn six years ago, she has kept near-silent about their low-key relationship.
But today she declares she is head over heels in love with him — in the lyrics of her newly released tenth album, Midnights.
On her most personal record yet, the singer opens up about their intense romance, and says 31-year- old Joe is the only person to keep her grounded.
She also sings about the constant rumours surrounding their relationship, and how she loves him for not chasing her for fame.
The 13-track album is the most introspective and revealing of her career, telling “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life”.
The result is a series of deliciously reflective songs tied together with intricate lyrics, like a collection of millennial lullabies.
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Taylor’s genius is her ability to effortlessly morph between albums, and her latest era is her most sublime yet.
She has moved away from the folk sound of her last two studio albums, Folklore and Evermore, and into more mature pop.
Midnights is not the all-singing, all-dancing record some may have hoped for but, make no mistake, it is dreamy, shimmering pop excellence.
And several of its songs appear to be about Taylor’s beloved Brit fella.
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On Sweet Nothing, which Joe wrote with her under the pseudonym William Bowery, she sings: “They said the end is coming, everyone’s up to something.
“I find myself running home to your sweet nothings.
“Outside they’re push-and-shoving. You’re in the kitchen humming.
‘My depression works the graveyard shift’
“All that you ever wanted from me was sweet nothing.”
Taylor adds that Joe is one of the only people who she feels she can fully confide in, because so many people are desperate for a piece of her.
She continues: “Industry disruptors and soul deconstructors and smooth-talking hucksters, out glad-handing each other.
“And the voices that implore, ‘You should be doing more,’ to you I can admit that I’m just too soft for all of it.”
The 32-year-old singer is believed to have met Joe in 2016 at the Met Gala in New York, and they started dating that October.
The Sun first revealed the secret relationship in May 2017, telling how Taylor had been going under the radar during trips to the UK to be with Joe, who grew up in North London and appeared in 2018 film The Favourite opposite Olivia Colman and BBC series Conversations With Friends earlier this year.
In 2021 it was revealed the couple live together in a £7million home in North London, although she frequently returns to the US, where she also has lavish properties.
After years of having her love life picked apart, Taylor has complained that the stable nature of her relationship means she is now dogged by questions about when she and Joe will get married.
Those remarks have clearly hit a nerve, as she addresses them on the album’s opening track Lavender Haze, singing: “All they keep asking me is if I’m gonna be your bride.
“The only kinda girl they see is a one-night or a wife.”
Referring to marriage as “the 1950s s**t they want from me”, she continues of Joe: “I find it dizzying. They’re bringing up my history, but you weren’t even listening.”
Taylor recently explained her choice of the song title: “I happened upon the phrase ‘lavender haze’ when I was watching Mad Men.
“I looked it up because I thought it sounded cool and it’s a common phrase used in the Fifties where they would just describe being in love.
“If you were in the lavender haze then that meant you were in that all-encompassing love glow, and I thought that was really beautiful.
“I guess theoretically when you’re in the lavender haze, you’ll do anything to stay there, and not let people bring you down off of that cloud.”
As well as her romance, Taylor also lets listeners in on her darker thoughts, most notably on the lead single Anti-Hero — for which she has released a video this morning.
She describes how she fears a partner could walk out on her and tells how she frequently feels like a “monster” compared to others.
She sings: “I have this thing where I get older but just never wiser.
“Midnights become my afternoons, when my depression works the graveyard shift.
“I should not be left to my own devices. They come with prices and vices, I end up in crisis.”
In the second verse she continues: “Sometimes I feel like everybody is a sexy baby and I’m a monster on the hill.
“Too big to hang out, slowly lurching toward your favourite city. Pierced through the heart but never killed.
“Did you hear my covert narcissism I disguise as altruism like some kind of congressman? Tale as old as time. I wake up screaming from dreaming one day I’ll watch as you’re leaving and life will lose all its meaning for the last time.”
Later in the track, she tells of a repeated paranoid dream in which her future daughter-in-law “kills me for the money”.
Taylor explains: “She thinks I left them in the will. The family gathers round and reads it.
“And then someone screams out, ‘She’s laughing up at us from hell!’ ”
Other songs on the album, including Maroon, Midnight Rain, Snow On The Beach, Bejeweled and You’re On Your Own Kid, are about failed former relationships, though she does not reveal the subjects.
But elsewhere she has an acid tongue, notably on Vigilante S**t, where she sings of telling a woman about her husband’s “white-collar crimes” — and splitting them up.
Fans have already suggested Kim Kardashian should appear in the video for the revenge anthem, following Taylor’s feud with the reality star’s now ex-husband, Kanye West.
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In 2019 Taylor became tangled in another feud, with music executive Scooter Braun.
In a £236million deal which she claimed was done without her knowledge or permission, he bought the master recordings of her music back catalogue, meaning he could profit from her album sales.
He denied she was unaware of it, but Taylor then began re-recording and re-releasing the albums to take back ownership of them. Now it seems Scooter is referenced in one of the album’s final songs, Karma.
In lyrics which appear to be about the music mogul, Taylor sings: “Spiderboy, king of thieves, weave your little webs of opacity.
“My pennies made your crown. Trick me once, trick me twice, don’t you know that cash ain’t the only price? It’s coming back around.”
She teamed up with her long-time collaborator Jack Antonoff to write 11 of the 13 songs, while actress and musician Zoe Kravitz is credited as a writer on the track Lavender Haze.
Snow On The Beach is her only official collaboration, as she sings with its co-writer Lana Del Rey.
Taylor said this month: “I am such a massive fan of Lana. In my opinion she is one of the best musical artists ever. The fact that I get to exist at the same time as her is an honour and a privilege.
“The fact that she would be so generous as to collaborate with us on this song is something I’m going to be grateful for, for life.”
In recent years Taylor has become known for releasing records on key dates, and fans have worked out that the release of Midnights is linked to her age — as today marks her 12,000th day.
It kicks off the biggest chart battle of the year, against Arctic Monkeys, who return with their seventh album The Car today.
Music industry insiders expect it to be the biggest week of the year for record sales, with the highest number of albums shifted since Adele released 30 last November. Taylor has also teased that the album will be followed by her first UK tour in five years.
And she will be back here next Friday for an appearance on The Graham Norton Show.
Her last UK concert was in 2018 and she had been due to return in 2020 to headline Glastonbury, but the festival was cancelled due to Covid.
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She then decided against signing up as a headliner when the event returned this year, although she is believed to be eager to perform at the festival in future.
In a note to fans on social media last year, she said: “I miss you terribly and can’t wait till we can all safely be at shows together again.”
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