Tag Archives: Karlie

Reputation Re-listen: 3rd Lens

23 Jan

1st lense: Public persona. Straight. Thought it was bad. The BF stuff was OTT. As such, the rest of this analysis is from the perspective that Oat Milk is a beard (Grammygate).
2nd lense: Kaylor. Eyes opened, everything made better sense. It’s a WLW love story.
3rd lense: in light of Karlie baby. Post FolkMore.
It’s all of those. Taylor was layering meanings into songs (for plausible deniability) before she admitted it in folklore.

I included lyrical analysis in this, but not quotes from Taylor outside of her songs. When marketing an album to the general public she tends to be an unreliable narrator, and cherry-picking takes away from the credibility of these conclusions. The truth is (buried) in her lyrics.

Call It What You Want (pertinent lines and [brackets show my words]):

My castle crumbled overnight I brought a knife to a gunfight They took the crown, but it’s alright [Snakegate] All the liars are calling me one [KimYe] Nobody’s heard from me for months [Reputation black-out] I’m doing better than I ever was, ’cause My baby’s fit like a daydream [Victoria’s Secret Angel, Karlie] High above the whole scene [tall, and also out of the KimYe drama] Windows boarded up after the storm [during reputation black-out, Kaylor went underground together] He built a fire [Karlie] just to keep me warm All the drama queens taking swings [Karda$hians] All the jokers dressin’ up as kings [Kanye] They fade to nothing when I look at him I’m laughing with my lover, making forts under covers

Taylor is in love with Karlie. She says they don’t have to label it if that doesn’t work for Karlie:

(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it) So call it what you want, yeah, call it what you want to Call it what you want, yeah Call it what you want To [said fast it even sounds like Karlie’s name in here]

Taylor writes a lot about the sexual chemistry of Kaylor:

Don’t Blame Me

I’ve been breakin’ hearts a long time, and [Taylor’s serial-dater reputation] Toyin’ with them older guys [Jake G, John M, Tom H…] Just to play things for me to use [beards]

Something happened for the first time, in The darkest little paradise Shakin, pacin’, I just need you I get so high, oh Every time, yeah every time you’re lovin’ me You’re lovin’ me Oh, Lord, save me, my drug is my baby I’d be usin’ for the rest of my life [Lesbian sex.]

My name is whatever you decide [Karlie misspells Taylor’s name in the sand during the Big Sur trip] And I’m just gonna call you mine Halo, hiding my obsession [VS Angel and also Taylor Swift the wholesome/straight brand] I once was poison ivy, but now I’m your daisy [a daisy on the dashboard identical to the pic on the liner notes; also Ivy from Evermore calls back to this]

I rearranged the lyrics of So It Goes:

Met you in a bar [Delicate? or the 2014 Met Gala?] All eyes on me, your illusionist [Taylor is not what she seems] All eyes on us [Guests, media, the public?] See you in the dark All eyes on you, my magician [magical but twists the truth does tricks to obscure] All eyes on us You make everyone disappear, and [Taylor only has eyes for Karlie]

Cut me into pieces Gold cage, hostage to my feelings

[Taylor is in love, yet still in her metaphorical cage. She has to hide this love from the public for the sake of her career. She’s also in the cage because her love, Karlie, is committed to someone else (Jo$h).]

Back against the wall [no options] Trippin’, trip-trippin’ when you’re gone [Karlie goes back to Jo$h] ‘Cause we breakdown a little I’m so chill, but you make me jealous [Taylor doesn’t want to share Karlie] But I got your heart Skippin’, skip-skippin’ when I’m gone [Both of them feel love, not just Taylor]

[There’s a lot of outside factors standing between Taylor and Karlie, and making their relationship complicated and messy.]

But when you get me alone, it’s so simple ‘Cause baby, I know what you know We can feel it And all the pieces fall Right into place Getting caught up in a moment Lipstick on your face So it goes I make all your gray days clear and Wear you like a necklace [lesbian sex graphic reference] But when I get you alone, it’s so simple ‘Cause baby, I know what you know We can feel it You know I’m not a bad girl [Commenting on public stigma of gays] But I do bad things with you [Sexually-speaking] So it goes Come here, dressed in black now So, so, so it goes Scratches down your back now So, so, so it goes

[sex, sex, sex is so passionate and great and makes all the public image and commitments to others momentarily disappear]

I’m yours to keep [Karlie could choose Taylor] And I’m yours to lose [will Karlie choose Jo$h?] You did a number on me [Staying committed to Jo$h while seeing Taylor] But honestly, baby, who’s counting? I did a number on you [bearding, anxious about their relationship] But honestly, baby, who’s counting? [Proceeds to count. Maybe saying resentments are building up on both sides]

End game through this 3rd lens seems less like couple goals as I had previously interpreted it, and more like begging Karlie to choose her (over Jo$h):

Big reputation, big reputation Ooh you and me we got big reputations [obv Taylor and Karlie individually and together]

I don’t wanna touch you (I don’t wanna be) Just anther ex-love (you don’t wanna see) I don’t wanna miss you (I don’t wanna miss you) [When Karlie goes back to Jo$h] Like the other girls do I don’t wanna hurt you (I just wanna be) Drinkin’ on a beach with (you all over me And I can’t let you go, your hand print’s on my soul [Taylor is deeply in love with Karlie] It’s like your eyes are liquor, it’s like your body is gold [Karlie] You’ve been calling my bluff on all my usual tricks So here’s the truth from my red lips I wanna be your end game I wanna be your first string I wanna be your A Team I wanna be your endgame, endgame

[This screams, please pick me overJo$h]

Delicate under the 3rd lens seems less like a nervous 1st date and more like anxiety that Karlie is a flight risk.

We can’t make any promises Now can we, babe Is it cool that I said all that? Is it chill that you’re in my head? ‘Cause I know that it’s delicate (Delicate) Is it cool that I said all that? Is it too soon to do this yet? ‘Cause I know that it’s delicate

[Taylor is full of anxiety, not wanting to scare Karlie away, not wanting to push boundaries.]

Third floor on the West Side, me and you [Kaylor sex] Handsome, you’re a mansion with a view [Karlie] Do the girls back home touch you like I do? Long night with your hands up in my hair Echoes of your footsteps on the stairs Stay here, honey, I don't want to share [with Jo$h] 'Cause I like you Sometimes I wonder; when you sleep Are you ever dreaming of me? [vs. Jo$h] Sometimes when I look into your eyes I pretend you're mine, all the damn time 'Cause I like you

Dress is the Met Gala (2014 or 2016?). Things were sexy, there was attraction, they had undeniable chemistry.

Wildest Dreams is looking backward at the Big Sur trip Kaylor took after they met. So looking about here in the timeline. They were in love.

I believe Taylor was writing songs that went on the Lover album and was interrupted by KimYe/Snakegate. That's why some of the Lover tracks fit chronologically between Reputation tracks.

A stressor to Kaylor is election season ramping up. Miss Americana and the Heartbreak King [Taylor doesn't want her brand associated with Ku$hners/Trump. Thus she could not be open that her and Karlie are in a romantic/sexual relationship (even though she feels so much for Karlie).]

Getaway car

1st lens: Leaving Calvin (Tom?!) for Joe. Makes no sense. Too many people and an inconsistent timeline.
2nd lens: leaving beards for true love Karlie. Occasional lines don't make sense- did Taylor switch perspectives within the lyrics?
3rd lens: ditching Jo$h to have Kaylor sex. And lines like:

No, nothing good starts in a getaway car [Kaylor is doomed]
He [not Calvin, not beards. Jo$h] poisoned the well, [Jo$h was working against Kaylor, he was doing his best to thwart Taylor and persuade Karlie to stay with him] I was lying to myself [That she was hetero/bi (she's not), that she could handle a casual relationship, and that Karlie would leave Jo$h forever to be with her]. I knew it from the first Old Fashioned, we were cursed
We were flyin', but we'd never get far
There were sirens in the beat of your heart [this trist is exciting but problematic. Both for the public finding out about WLW. But also bc TS is seriously in love and that will cause problems.]

*This stanza:

It was the great escape, the prison break

Both from the Met gala (a bit confusing bc Kaylor went at least twice-2014 and 2016 I think) but also Taylor from comp-het. Now she realizes she's lesbian. I say that because Taylor already knew she liked women. She dated Diana. And I'm assuming it wasn't just a Kaylor sex, 'I am sexually attracted to women' epiphany, because Swiftgron lasted awhile and I'm assuming they were sexual. But there is some sort of revelation Taylor has in this part of the song. A change has taken place, and something is different about Taylor compared to before.

The light of freedom on my face

A change has taken place within Taylor, and it's evident to observers. Even though Taylor previously dated Diana, she has this "prison break" moment where she realizes she wasn't bisexual after all. I wonder if Taylor had previously felt like her dalliances with women were just about sex. She may not have taken them as seriously, and still thought she would end up with a guy (compulsory heterosexuality). But in this Getaway Car prison break, she sees in her negative reaction to Karlie's commitment to Jo$h (and perceived indifference to Kaylor) that her (Taylor's) love is different. She realizes she is serious about wanting a relationship, not just having funsy sex.

But you weren't thinking [Karlie wasn't thinking of more then sex, and especially not considering the long term implications of a lesbian relationship] And I was just drinking Well, he [Not any beard, Jo$h] was running after us, I was screaming, "Go, go, go!" But with three of us, honey, it's a sideshow And a circus ain't a love story [There are Jo$h, Karlie, and Taylor involved.]

I knew it from the first Old Fashioned, we [Kaylor] were cursed It hit you [Karlie]  like a shotgun [not romantic, deadly]  shot to the heart We were jet-set, Bonnie and Clyde (oh, oh) [the sneaking and sexing was fun and exciting]

Until I switched to the other side, [Taylor tells again of a revelation. She has the realization that she is not bisexual just wanting a friends w/benefits, or casually playing, but that she's actually full-lesbian with serious feelings] to the other si-i-i-i-ide [She emphasizes there is a change.]

There were sirens in the beat of your [Karlie- it's all fun and games until Taylor falls in love]  heart (should've known) [that Karlie didn't want that lesbian life] Should've known I'd be the first to leave

Taylor tells us that she broke up with Karlie. She thought Karlie wasn't taking Kaylor seriously because she remained committed to Jo$h. Taylor tells us she was angry that her conveying a true love was received with anxiety by Karlie. And also, Taylor couldn't be outed by the relationship for her public image. And thirdly, she didn't want to be associated with Ku$hners and Trump.


Cruel Summer cements this.
Shape of your body is new. [Taylor with a woman. Taylor's lesbian status is new to her.] Blue. [Taylor is depressed about the implications of being gay. But also...] It's cool, that's what I tell 'em No rules in breakable heaven [She's also depressed that it's a casual sex thing with Karlie despite agreeing to those terms .] I'm drunk in the back of the car [getaway car?] And I cried like a baby coming home from the bar (oh) Said I'm fine, but it wasn't true [what this song is about] I don't wanna keep secrets just to keep you And I snuck in through the garden gate [but Taylor can't get enough of Karlie] Every night that summer just to seal my fate (oh) [sex] And I screamed for whatever it's worth "I love you, " ain't that the worst thing you ever heard? [Because this isn't what Karlie wants (remember the shotgun to the heart)] He looks up grinning like a devil [kissgate, or Jo$h wins bc if they're outed Kaylor falls apart]

After this realization of being a lesbian, Taylor shuts Kaylor down bc of internalized homophobia, fear, and all the outside factors making Kaylor overly complicated.

Tolerate It [(song on folklore that could be looking back) parent and industry homophobia]

The Archer [worried about losing fans and career if she comes out]

Even though Daylight is the last track of the next album (Lover) I think it belongs here in the sequence of events. In the song, Taylor comes to terms with her sexuality.  I'm about to trade Daylight lyrics in what I believe to be a Chronological way:

Clearing the air, I breathed in the smoke [kissgate] I've been sleeping so long in a 20-year dark night [realization she knew she liked girls since she was 7, but was in the closet and also comp-het and bearding. Now she knows she's a lesbian.] My love was as cruel as the cities I lived in [internalized homophobia]

[Taylor comes to accept her sexuality] Like daylight It's golden like daylight You gotta step into the daylight and let it go Just let it go, let it go [Let fear and homophobia go] Maybe you ran with the wolves [Ku$hners] and refused to settle down [with Taylor under the condition that they could never have a public family bc of Taylor's image] Maybe I've stormed out of every single room in this town [Taylor is upset her and Karlie can't have real Love]

[Despite all the outside factors, Taylor cannot just leave Karlie]
I don't wanna look at anything else now that I saw you (I can never look away) I don't wanna think of anything else now that I thought of you And now I see daylight, I only see daylight And I can still see it all (In my mind) All of you, all of me (Intertwined) I once believed love would be (Black and white) [Male female love] But it's golden (Golden) And I can still see it all (In my head) Back and forth from New York (Singing in your bed) I once believed love would be (Burning red) [Passionate, sex/fighting, bisexual?] But it's golden Like daylight, like daylight

This Love Happened around this point but looking back to the Wildest Dreams times. Folkmore has call-backs to this song.

Death by a Thousand Cuts is the next part of the Kaylor story.

Trying to find a part of me that you didn't touch [so much sex, but also touched heart] Gave up on me like I was a bad drug [Karlie wants a public family and didn't want some covert hidden closeted one] Now I'm searching for signs in a haunted club Our songs, our films, united we stand Our country, guess it was a lawless land [call back to Miss Americana and the Heartbreak King where she describes GOP winning the 2016 election. This also explains 1 reason why in the Getaway Car Taylor was unwilling to publicly be out with Karlie. Taylor didn't want to be associated with Ku$hners/Trump.] Quiet my fears with the touch of your hand [Fears of a public family with Karlie are gone.]

Taylor is regretful and heartbroken she left Karlie:

get drunk but it's not enough 'Cause you're not my baby I look through the windows of this love Even though we boarded them up [Kaylor broke up] Chandelier's still flickering here [Taylor still loves Karlie] 'Cause I can't pretend it's ok when it's not [being without Karlie] No, it's not It's death by a thousand cuts Trying to find a part of me that you didn't touch My body, my love My trust But it [The sex. Taylor's trust.] wasn't enough, it wasn't enough, no,

Taylor is very depressed without Karlie. And she's re-thinking her reasons for breaking up with her.

Then is Cornelia Street:
Back when we were card sharks, playing games I thought you were leading me on [Taylor broke-up with Karlie after Getaway car because she thought Karlie wasn't taking their WLW thing more seriously. Karlie kept going back to Jo$h] I packed my bags, left Cornelia Street Before you even knew I was gone [getaway car]

But then you [Karlie] called, showed your hand [told Taylor Jo$h and her weren't real. Just a cover and means to have a public family] I turned around before I hit the tunnel Sat on the roof, you and I [Kaylor]

[Kaylor is back on]

I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends [but Taylor's afraid it's tenuous] I'd never walk Cornelia Street again That's the kind of heartbreak time could never mend [folkmore confirms this] I'd never walk Cornelia Street again


In paper Rings (through the 3rd lens)
The wine is cold Like the shoulder that I gave you in the street Cat and mouse for a month or two or three [after the 1st break-up there was still an attraction between Kaylor] Now I wake up in the night and watch you breathe [Cornelia Street told us Kaylor got back together after Karlie told Taylor Jo$h is not a real relationship. Then they sat on the roof together. Taylor looks back to Getaway car where she couldn't give Karlie that family life. But 2-3 months later here Taylor is watching Karlie sleep.] I want to drive away with you [Big Sur and also living happily ever after] I want your complications too [Jo$h situation. So Taylor says she'll accept Kaylor as it is. Karlie will still be entangled with the Ku$hners, but Taylor would rather accept that then not have Karlie at all.]

And Taylor suggests a solution that would work for Kaylor. She suggests:

I like shiny things, but I'd marry you with paper [Kaylor marriage is not socially legitimate but paper rings is Karlie's "marriage" to Jo$h (you showed your hand)] rings Uh huh, that's right Darling, [Karlie] you're the one I want, and I hate accidents except when we went from friends to this Uh huh, that's right Darling, you're the one I want In paper rings, in picture frames [Polaroid], in dirty dreams You're the one I want


Lover song:

Ladies and gentlemen, will you please stand? With every guitar string scar on my hand I take this magnetic force of a man [Karlie] to be my lover [committed lesbian partner, but socially illegitimate] My heart's been borrowed [beards] and yours has been blue [Taylor hurt her with the 1st break-up] All's well that ends well to end up with you Swear to be overdramatic and true to my lover And you'll save all your dirtiest jokes for me And at every table, I'll save you a seat, lover

Yet there's still some uncertainty and instability:

Have I known you 20 seconds or 20 years? [Mercurial soulmate] Can I go where you go? Can we always be this close forever and ever? [Taylor is still not sure that Karlie won't up and leave her permanently for Jo$h (and it's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy given what we learn in folkmore). And ah, take me out, and take me home

In Afterglow Taylor says:
This ultraviolet morning light below [Karlie marrying Jo$h while Taylor was in Australia. When Karlie got "married"  Taylor flips out  But it's not real.  She got jealous and forgot paper rings. Jo$h and Karlie have some sort of agreement on paper, a fake marriage. And in Paper Rings Taylor said she accepted that.]

Taylor broke up with Karlie a second time.

But in this song she takes responsibility for their demise, and is regretful for her blow-up. Taylor wants Karlie back.

Fighting with a true love is boxing with no gloves [Bad Blood] Chemistry 'til it blows up, 'til there's no us Why'd I have to break what I love so much? It's on your [Karlie's] face, and I'm [Taylor for thinking the marriage was real] to blame, I need to say Hey It's all me in my head [jealousy for the Jo$h situation] I'm the one who burned us down But it's not what I meant I'm [Taylor] sorry that I hurt you [Karlie] I don't wanna do, I don't wanna do this to you I don't wanna lose, I don't wanna lose this with you I need to say, hey It's all me, just don't go Meet me in the afterglow Tell me that you're still mine Tell me that we'll be just fine Even when I lose my mind I need to say Tell me that it's not my fault Tell me that I'm all you want Even when I break your heart

So that is what I think Taylor is telling us through her music. I've just rearranged it in a way I think is more linear to the actual Kaylor timeline. Also, this is not supposed to be all-inclusive. It does not include every song, nor every bit of the Kaylor relationship (I mean, this is already too long). I largely omitted a lot of their happy times, and other things. But this chunk includes some Kaylor happy times, sexy times, strife, and 2 break ups.

After this part I do think Karlie gave Taylor another chance after the paper rings break-up. The first part of the Lover era was all rainbows and butterflies and a possible coming out. But the latter half was dark and depressing. So they might have broken up in the middle of the era? I think the masters heist caused Taylor to delay a coming out publicly another time. It was just another blow and let down to Karlie in a series of promises (Coney Island) and probably Karlie thought time was running out for her to have a child. She couldn't delay a family life much longer.

After that even Kaylor had to be 'on' for a bit because prior to the surprise drop folklore, Karlie was in a cardigan and amongst trees. Karlie HAD to know. And nobody else did, and there was a bit of hope in folklore. So I don't know what occurred between sad-Lover era and folklore, but something gave Taylor hope. I think it ended for good (4th? break-up was final) because Evermore was all super-sad.