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Taylor Swift is the Homecoming Queen, Roses Caused a Rift, and Kelsea Ballerini is August(a)

24 Jan

I have a few theories, and I’m not sure how much hard evidence backs them up.  But they make sense to me given the lyrics of many songs in both Kelsea’s and Taylor’s catalogs.  We are about to look closely at (mainly) 4 songs [buckle up!]:  

Doin’ My Best released by Kelsea 9/23/22

Homecoming Queen released by Kelsea 9/11/20

Roses released by Kelsea 11/3/17 (9/19/16 a snippet was released that seemingly feat Taylor)

August released by Taylor 7/24/20

Doin My Best:

2020 was a weird year/Album dropped at a weird time/Ain’t the homecoming queen, but better believe I cried

Would you believe Kelsea has a song called Homecoming Queen? And this line absolutely seems to be a call-back to it.  I wrote another post about how I think the homecoming queen is Taylor Swift.  I thought the homecoming queen was probably intended to be Kelsea herself, but in this song Kelsea said “ain’t the” so now I think it’s definitely Taylor.  

And here, Kelsea is juxtaposing her album drop (that she thinks got lost without promotion) in 2020 to Taylor’s wildly successful folklore/evermore albums during quarantine.  Kelsea says SHE is not the homecoming queen (Taylor is) but, like the subject in that song, she cried.

In Homecoming Queen, I think Kelsea is trying to soothe what she sees as Taylor’s disproportionate and unrealistic fears by asking Taylor those questions.  

Here is the post I wrote about the Homecoming Queen song:

Back to Doin’ My Best lyrics:

And therapy for one turned/Into therapy for two/When you get married that young/You got a lotta shit you gotta get through

Kelsea and the Australian are in marriage counseling.

If I said I had it all together, I’d be lyin’/But I’ll die tryin’/I’m doin’ my best/I’m lettin’ the rest roll off my shoulders, baby/Don’t always get it right/Hey, and that’s alright/That’s what I’m learnin’ lately, I keep/Growin’ up, I keep/Rollin’ up my sleeves and I think/That showin’ up is good enough for me

Kelsea said she doesn’t have it all together, and she doesn’t always get it right.  But she’s growing up and learning, doing the work, and trying her best til the end.  She says she has to let the rest go, and realize that being present is sufficient.

I was friends with a pop star/I put ’em on track four, but

Wish I could take it back, I would’ve never asked/If I knew we wouldn’t talk anymore

Here’s my post about that:

It’s a bit abrupt to change the subject in the middle of a verse like this.  It’s possible…  But doesn’t it also make sense if the entire verse is about the same topic/person?

Sometimes I try to say the right thing/And it comes out wrong/And Twitter kicked my ass, now it’s one less app on my iPhone, yeah

OK, this line is obviously about this:

But did you notice this immediately follows the track 4 pop star that doesn’t talk to Kelsea anymore???  I think Kelsea, like Taylor, can write for plausible deniability.  And lines can have double meanings.  

With little evidence, I wonder if the “Roses” clip Kelsea released on social media (early? Without permission?) caused a rift.  She posted a clarification on Twitter to clear up the “misunderstanding.”  Even if the track 4 popstar has nothing to do with the Roses leak, it’s a pretty suspicious turn of events all on its own:

Clip of the song (9/19/16):

I thought it was weird how many articles addressed an unlabeled, 15 sec snippet.  Who would care about an undisclosed, unconfirmed piece of a song?  It was just a rumor.  It could have been anyone singing.  It seemed like Taylor’s team running damage control to proactively tell all the different media outlets it was NOT Taylor on the song.  Here’s some context that we’ve talked about before regarding the motivations for shutting down rumors and speculation:

But we have a statement from Taylor’s team and from Kelsea (on the same exact date!) dispelling the buzz just TWO days after the snippet was leaked:

But guess what?  Roses that did get released on Kelsea’s album…  IS TRACK FOUR.

I think this is the real (or I’ll concede additional) Tweet that was problematic for Kelsea.  And this is the actual track 4 pop star going dark alluded to in the lines above.

So why the damage control?  Why would Taylor be upset with Kelsea for releasing a song Taylor was not on [supposedly]?  

What are the lyrics to Roses and are they gay?

You brought one to my door/Stood there on the front porch

That was the beginning/We had those tires spinning/Down to the green grass/Outside of town

Wild and free, never slowing down

I thought I needed you like air/We burned hot, burned out, like a flame/But in my head, you’ll never fade

Kelsea and this YOU were wild and free (from the constraints of their relationships).  They went out of town a.k.a. Away from prying eyes.  Because it was a secret affair.  Kelsea says the affair burned bright but flamed out.  But this person is still in her head.

Yeah, we were classic/My dress, your leather jacket/Didn’t know how good we had it/But, boy, we had it/14th of February, gotta feeling my heart still carries

“We were classic” denotes a “normal” [straight] couple to differentiate from the other subject in the song.  Notice the YOU vs. boy.  Kelsea is talking about the genuine love she had for her (ex)husband.  They were heteronormative like Valentine’s day.  It’s over, but she still has a place in her heart for what they once had.

Yeah, we didn’t know it/Thought we could grow it/Beautiful for a moment/We were roses/We were roses

This chorus could be speaking to both of the afore-mentioned relationships.  She’s saying the marriage didn’t last, and neither did the affair.  But she started both of those relationships with good intentions, thinking they would grow and flourish.

This whole next verse reminds me a lot of Taylor’s work:

You put one in my hair

Sparks Fly:

We have key words:  Haunted, wild, and wrong from the Swiftanary (TS dictionary) to show this is a gay encounter. It’s one of many examples of how Taylor likes to run her fingers through a woman’s hair and have fingers in her hair during sexy-time. 

We danced in the middle of nowhere

You and me all summer


Honestly, I’m wondering if Kelsea Ballerini IS August from the love triangle in folklore [I’m going to write a post just dedicated to this idea].  It seems like Kelsea and Taylor had an on and off, undefined thing.  Taylor/James saw it as a mistake, and considered it cheating on Karlie/Betty.  Kelsea/August sees it as her first sapphic experience (“never have I ever”) and goes on to divorce her husband, in part, because of this queer-awakening.  Taylor says it was a brief summer thing, and “you weren’t mine to lose” but Kelsea seems to have taken it more seriously according to her albums.  

Bright and living color

My lips were red/Your eyes were blue

Wildest Dreams:

We already know both Taylor and Kelsea have red lips.  

It’s interesting how Wildest Dreams is partially about how Taylor remembers a sexual fling, and hopes this lover (Taylor considers it inevitable this person will leave) will remember her fondly as well.  And Kelea’s Roses happens to be about that very thing-remembering a fling(?) fondly.  

State of Grace:

We know Taylor has blue eyes.  

In State of Grace Taylor regards this love as brave, as wild, and wrong.  Probably because it’s sapphic love.

Remember in the 3rd line of Roses how Kelsea describes them as free and wild?  Could she also be contrasting the “classic” with this wild sapphic love?

Tim McGraw:

I know Taylor’s description of a summer romance takes place much earlier, and is a different situation, but the night Kelsea describes in Roses has many similarities to it.  Maybe Kelsea and Taylor had the same type of upbringing or enjoy the same type of date.  They have things in common that could make them compatible.


I think Delicate is a conversation between Taylor and this other mysterious person [Karlie].  I included this snippet, because I think it’s from the perspective of the other person TO Taylor.  They say they’ve never seen eyes the color of Taylor’s.  And now Kelsea is specifically mentioning these blue eyes as well-Taylor’s eyes must look captivating in person!


Part of the reason for Kelsea and Taylor’s divergent perspectives about their situation is Taylor is upset she feels such a magnetic pull towards a woman, because it’s problematic for her public image.  While Kelsea, who has the benefit of four extra years of social evolution, seems excited about discovering her sapphic side.  Taylor almost jumps into the ocean blue eyes of her [female] soulmate in Gold Rush., but ultimately has to hide this strong attraction.  It will not go with her good girl persona, and will not help sales.  Kelsea, divorces her husband to follow through on this enthralling epiphany about her own queerness.

The opposite internal feelings about being gay drive Taylor and Kelsea to the same conclusion with their primary partners.  Taylor’s fear of being outed is precisely why the Kaylor relationship has problems and slowly dissolves.  Kelsea, on the other hand, leaves the man to explore a new world she never knew she was part of before falling for a woman.  Taylor rebounding or cheating or whatever with Kelsea is loneliness and sadness that her own conflict is destroying Kaylor.  Kelsea cheating or flexing her new bisexuality(?) is being open to new experiences.

And I thought I saw forever in you…

Kelsea and Taylor have a different perspective on their affair.  Taylor saw Kelsea as a good, sexy fling that distracted her from her Kaylor funk.  She felt hopeless at the start of their situationship after being mired in heartache and strife.  With so many external factors dragging Kaylor down, being with a woman without all the baggage probably felt like a relief to Taylor.  But Taylor never saw her and Kelsea as more than a dalliance.  Because Taylor knows her career won’t allow her to be with any woman, and if she could make it happen with a woman, it would be her soulmate, Karlie.  Taylor enters this affair knowing August(a?) was not hers to lose.  IF Kelsea is August, she was/is married to a man, younger, and exuberant about her burgeoning sexuality-not a viable candidate for a secret, closeted love with Taylor.

Kelsea discovered she liked women and saw it as a new beginning.  She has hope this affair will turn into a more permanent relationship in the long-term. If Kelsea is August(a?) Taylor was her first sexual encounter with a woman.  Kelsea’s newest album is called “Subject to Change” which speaks to a changed perspective.  Kelsea’s attitude toward her marriage changed.  And in the album she seems to allude to Taylor and to queerness, so I have to think falling for a woman was part of the catalyst for Kelsea’s attitude change.

Taylor says “changing for the better” when she describes her affair with August(a?).  The way Kelsea talks about her queerness in her newest album shows that she doesn’t harbor the same internal homophobia that Taylor holds.  It must have been nice to witness another queer that had positive emotions about their sexuality.  Especially one with such a similar background to Taylor.  Both of them moved to (conservative) TN when they were young.  Both entered the (very traditional) country music industry as teens.  Both have mainstream success with fans and money, as mainstream celebrities.  Taylor could have seen how Kelsea was positive about her sexuality, and grown from gleaning some of that mentality.  Still, she never intended to be with Kelsea forever, because August(a?) was never hers to lose.

…We were beautiful for a moment, baby/We were roses/We were beautiful for a moment, baby/We didn’t know it/Thought we could grow it/Beautiful for a moment/We were roses

The song is about enjoying love in the moment.  And how love can be fleeting.  I think it’s about both of Kelsea’s meaningful relationships-her (ex)husband and an affair with Taylor Swift.  

Since the song Roses is talking about a love that didn’t last, it didn’t fit with Taylor’s bearding narrative at that time.  Also, there might be questions if two women were singing this song.  Taylor’s team might have shut down the rumors so hard because they want to maintain the ruse of a happy relationship with a man.  The snippet of the song was already creating speculation that a break-up was imminent.  IF Taylor is the track 4 popstar that stopped talking to Kelsea, and IF the reason was an ill-timed leak of Roses, why would Taylor be angry?  

The song was too loud.