Tag Archives: Joe alwyn

Reader Response Theory for Taylor Swift’s Midnights Album: Sweet Nothings & Bigger than the Whole Sky

6 Nov

I don’t think Taylor intended either of the songs in this way.

I thought I even heard a rumor that Taylor “liked” a Tik-Tok that said she was talking about her boyfriend.

But…

Death of the Author, a very unfortunate name of this theory, says once the artist releases the product into the world their work is no longer just theirs.

I think the interpretations seen by fans are more beautiful than the intention.

Therefore I’m not going to try to find Taylor’s meanings in depth.  In short I think the songs are written respectively about:  A red herring ‘I love the calmness of Joe’ song.  Even though on this very album Taylor says she goes to a house (cold and empty place to sleep) not a home (warm and loving with cherished memories made) alone.  Joe is not in her kitchen.  Joe does not want nothing from Taylor (career connections and a Grammy?!). And I thought Bigger than the Whole Sky is a song grieving the loss of Kaylor, and the loss of the person who Taylor would have been if she chose to come out of the closet and live that life. And break-ups, divorce, closeting–they’re all sad. That’s not to be minimized, I just got a lot out of the fan interpretations.

I’ll describe how listeners perceived the songs.

SWEET NOTHINGS

I spy with my little tired eye

Tiny as a firefly

A pebble that we picked up last July

The pebble is carried as a reminder when the loved one is not physically there (during war, in the following example):

This could be talking about her relationship with Joe, since in another song Taylor sings I go to a house, not a home, alone.  Joe does not live with her.  The pebble could show that Joe is a beard, not physically present unless PR is required.

This could also be a pebble picked up with her mother.  A reminder of good times.  And Taylor will keep it even after Andrea passes, as a sort of happy reminder of better times.

Down deep inside your pocket

We almost forgot it

Does it ever miss Wicklow sometimes?

Intentional call back to Wicklow in Ireland, where Joe filmed his movie, Conversations with Friends.  She does this sometimes to appease her heteronormative-requiring fans/media/public.  For instance in Dress Taylor is obviously singing about a secret relationship with a woman.  But the bridge jump-cuts to a buzz cut to flag–I’m straight everybody, don’t worry about the lyrics in the verses and their gay implications!

I think the pictures speak for themselves and prove my point.  The line could be a red herring like in Dress, or Andrea could have visited Wicklow/Ireland with Taylor, because they have been known to travel together.

Ooh…

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

All that you ever wanted from me was

Sweet nothing

On the way home

I wrote a poem

You say, “what a mind”

This happens all the time

I think the “you” could be fans just for these 3 or so lines.  When I’m perusing social media I always see fans respond to Taylor’s lyrics, videos, outfits, etc, etc… with “her mind” as in awe over her creativity, and calculated planning, and abilities.  Obviously, it could be her #1 fan, her mom also.

Ooh…

‘Cause 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

All that you ever wanted from me was

… nothing

Industry disrupters and soul deconstructors

And smooth-talking hucksters

Out glad-handing each other

And the voices that implore

“You should be doing more”

Are the voices fans and critics that say Taylor should use her huge platform to advocate?  People want her to speak out on various issues, and she shies away from most, staying quiet and possibly donating money behind the scenes.

It could also be that industry push to hustle with her career. There’s always more to do as an artist and celebrity.

To you I can admit

That I’m just too soft for all of it

Ooh…

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

Here’s Taylor and her mom in the kitchen.  Also, I just wanted an excuse to watch the banana video again, because it brings me joy!

All that you ever wanted from me was

Sweet nothing

They said the end is coming

Could be end of life, could be the end of Taylor’s fame or career…

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

All that you ever wanted from me was

Sweet nothing

Next song

***blanket trigger warning: death, miscarriage, loss, grief…***

BIGGER THAN THE WHOLE SKY

No words appear before me in the aftermath

Salt streams out my eyes and into my ears

Every single thing I touch becomes sick with sadness

‘Cause it’s all over now, all out to sea

Firstly, I want to say the subject of miscarriage should not be whispered. It is not stigmatizing. People need to process their feelings and that happens through communication. Also though I didn’t want to open wounds or traumatize anyone, so I am trying to tread very carefully with this subject matter. No harm intended.

I was going to add some medical articles here that substantiate why I think this line is applicable for miscarriage, but after reading them, I thought I better not because readers might be triggered.

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

You were bigger than the whole sky

You were more than just a short time

And I’ve got a lot to pine about

I’ve got a lot to live without

I’m never gonna meet

What could’ve been, would’ve been

What should’ve been you

I think this is a soothing way to sum up feelings after such a loss.

What could’ve been, would’ve been you

Did some bird flap its wings over in Asia?

Not to break the absolute stoic emotions of this song but Taylor has been known to write words that are adjacent to a more viable word for the song.  Here are two examples:

In Call it what You Want I think when the lyrics are sung (rather than read) it sounds like a question to Karlie.  You can definitely pick up some Karlies in that song, especially at the end.

In Closure there is a line that I think is supposed to be “beards” and you can hear it as she sings.  Taylor usually chooses wine and has so many lyrics and pictures regarding wine.  And in closure Taylor is telling Karlie there will be no convenient, amicable friendship after their breakup.  She will remain sad and closeted, bearding for her public image, and no letter that Karlie writes trying to smooth things over, will change that.

Now that you’ve seen the examples, I think flap its wings over Asia, sounds like over an angel.

Did some force take you because I didn’t pray?

Dear John, Enchanted, I’d Lie, Soon You’ll Get Better all contain the word “pray”

Soon You’ll Get Better is a track 12 and Sweet Nothing is a track 12.

Every single thing to come has turned into ashes

‘Cause it’s all over, it’s not meant to be

So I’ll say words I don’t believe

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

You were bigger than the whole sky

You were more than just a short time

And I’ve got a lot to pine about

I’ve got a lot to live without

I’m never gonna meet

What could’ve been, would’ve been

What should’ve been you

What could’ve been, would’ve been

What should’ve been you

In trigger-avoidance I won’t put the contents of the website, but please check it out if this song is personal to you for a reason.

Resources for dealing with grief:

https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/miscarriage-loss-and-grief

(What could’ve been, would’ve been)

What could’ve been, would’ve been you

(Could’ve been, would’ve been)

(Could’ve been, would’ve been)

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

You were bigger than the whole sky

You were more than just a short time

And I’ve got a lot to pine about

I’ve got a lot to live without

I’m never gonna meet

What could’ve been, would’ve been

What should’ve been you

I just think it’s so meaningful and touching as a song of loss, whatever the loss is interpreted as. This song really hits me in the heart.

…Ready for it? Lyrical Analysis & Bearding Plan

11 Jan

Sidenote:  I apologize for the shitty formatting.  I don’t know who WordPress cators to, but their platform is not user-friendly, not intuitive, and I HATE IT.  But I wouldn’t know how to get these million blog posts moved to a different platform quickly, so I remain…

Reputation was released 2017

I think this is Taylor’s song spelling out her bearding plan, code-phrase:  That’s My Man.

Knew he was a killer first time that I saw him

la·dy·kill·er/ˈlādēˌkilər a charming man who is very attractive to women.

Attractive to women. Doesn’t say this man likes women, or has many affairs with women. The definition specifically says this man is the recipiant of women’s attraction. And he’s charming/polite.


Wonder how many girls he had loved and left haunted

Taylor Swift explained the meaning… “‘Haunted’ is about the moment that you realize the person you’re in love with is drifting and fading fast…captured the intense, chaotic feeling of confusion I was looking for.”


But if he’s a ghost, then I can be a phantom

  1. phan·tom/ˈfan(t)əm a ghost
    • a figment of the imagination.
    • denoting a financial arrangement or transaction that has been invented for fraudulent purposes but that does not really exist.
      • “he diverted an estimated $1,500,000 into “phantom” bank accounts”

Interesting. Especially that last definition. If Joe is a ghost (he confused many girls), then it allows Taylor to have a financial arrangement for something that does not actually exist (love). Hmmm.

Holdin’ him for ransom

ransom ran-suhm ] noun

the redemption of a prisoner or kidnapped person, of captured goods, etc., for a price.

the sum or price paid or demanded.

a means of deliverance or rescue from punishment for sin, especially the payment of a redemptive fine.

Taylor takes Joe and keeps him for a price. Alternate definition is Taylor rescues Joe from sin for a redemptive fee.

Some, some boys are tryin’ too hard
He don’t try at all, though

Taylor reminds us some of her beards were not believable bc it was too much (Tom Hiddleston in that shirt). But this man doesn’t do anything to arouse suspicion. He’s more lowkey, and all the “privacy” he/they require means he’s a blank slate for the media and public.


Younger than my exes but he act like such a man, so
I see nothing better, I keep him forever
Like a vendetta-taI-I-I see how this is gon’ go

Taylor, who has been criticized for being a man-eater, but who also doesn’t want to ruin her career coming out as LGBT doesn’t see an alternative to keeping this beard around forever. If she has a long-term beard, she can keep her secret, but the media and public might lay off about her dating life.

A vendetta begins when one family correctly or incorrectly believes itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another. Intense feelings of resentment result in the initial retaliation, which leads to the other family feeling equally resentful, angry and vengeful . Ultimately there is a long-running cycle of retaliatory violence. This continual cycle of provocation and retaliation makes it almost impossible to end the vendetta peacefully. Vendettas frequently involve the entire family members, all the relatives and associates, and can last for generations.

NDAS, anyone?

Touch me and you’ll never be alone
I-Island breeze and lights down low

No one has to know 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
So I take my time

The music changes in this part of the song, as does Taylor’s mood. Here, she’s softer, and sings, no one has to know (b/c this is a secret) in her [sexy, apparently, based on the noises] dreams she thinks of “you” someone different than the person in the rest of the song.

Are you ready for it? Me, I was a robber first time that he saw me
Stealing hearts and running off and never saying sorry

This is getting at what I was saying earlier about the man-eater stuff. Robber talks about her stealing something (hearts of boys) that aren’t hers to take. The love of a man is not Taylor’s b/c it’s not real and she’s not actually into these guys she “dated.” Running off and never saying sorry implies that after the “relationships” Taylor left and felt no remorse (bc it’s a business transaction). Short-term bearding contracts were hiding her LGBT truth but also making Taylor look too man-hungry.
But if I’m a thief, then he can join the heist

Cowbody Like Me. Taylor does the bearding contracts, but now she’s saying she found a like-minded beard, who also has the same goals as she does.
And we’ll move to an island-and
And he can be my jailer,

Taylor is trying to put out her own cutesy ship name. But she already “dated” a J, so instead of Joe-Taylor fans went Taylor-Joe, and the result is a very un-cute (in my opinion) Toe.

Burton to this Taylor

I looked Burton up in the most basic of searches and read that there were, indeed, rumors of homosexuality linked to him. He even talked about it himself in an interview:

In a February 1975 interview with his friend David Lewin he said he “tried” homosexuality. He also suggested that perhaps all actors were latent homosexuals, and “we cover it up with drink“.[24] In 2000, Ellis Amburn’s biography of Elizabeth Taylor suggested that Burton had an affair with Laurence Olivier and tried to seduce Eddie Fisher[page needed], although this was strongly denied by Burton’s younger brother Graham Jenkins.[25]

It’s no secret that Liz Taylor had more than a few gay fans, or that she had more than a few gay friends…and possibly husbands.

http://ryan-field.blogspot.com/2012/11/was-richard-burton-gay.html 

Given this information, what an interesting comparison for Taylor to make! She says Joe is like Burton (gay?) to this Taylor (in a lavender marriage?) but the public will see it as a great romance.

Every lover known in comparison is a failure

I forget their names now, I’m so very tame now

All the short-term beards could be easily debunked as fake by the media, general public, and fans. It was a failure b/c these boyfriends did not help Taylor’s public image. But a “private” long-term beard, would make Taylor look more stable (tame), and as a bonus, straight.

Never be the same now, nowI-I-I see how this is gon’ go
Touch me and you’ll never be alone

I-Island breeze and lights down low
No one has to know
(No one has to know) In the middle of the night, in my dreams

It’s important that the “no one has to know” is on the same line as the description of Taylor’s dirty dreams. She is saying no one has to know who she actually dreams about (a female?). These dreams are about someone else/not the subject of the song/not Joe.
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
So I take my time

This person in Taylor’s dreams, who no one has to know about, b/c it’s not the subject of this song, Joe, is the one she wants to be with. And she takes her time (in both this sex-dream, and also with this long-term bearding plan).
Are you ready for it?
Ooh, are you ready for it? Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin
Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin

If Toe is real and true love, why does Taylor refer to games many times at the end of this song? True love should not have games. Taylor just set out her long-term bearding plan in this song, so she can obscure LGBT rumors, not look like a man-eater with all the shorter boyfriend relationships, but eventually be happy with this 2nd song subject.

I-I-I see how this is gon’ go
Touch me and you’ll never be alone
I-Island breeze and lights down low
No one has to know 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
So I take my time In the middle of the night
Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin
Are you ready for it? Baby, let the games begin
Let the games begin
Let the games begin
Are you ready for it?