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Taylor Swift’s ‘So Long, London’ Lyrics Are Her Heartbreaking Goodbye to Joe Alwyn

Taylor Swift’s ‘So Long, London’ Lyrics Are Her Heartbreaking Goodbye to Joe Alwyn

If there is any song on The Tortured Poets Department’s track list that seems to literally have Taylor Swift’s ex Joe Alwyn’s name on it, it’s “So Long, London.” Lyrically, the song matches up, explaining why Swift stopped fighting for their relationship.

Alwyn grew up in London, and he and Swift spent a lot of time in the city together while they were dating. She even reportedly bought a house there after their breakup. Additionally, Swift used “London” to refer to Alwyn before in her music, writing her Lover song “London Boy” about him.

In “So Long, London,” Swift reveals far more about her heartbreak than she has in any interview. Here, the lyrics annotated with any Alwyn references. This, of course, wasn’t Swift’s only breakup song seemingly about Alwyn: “loml” is also devastating.

Swift sang about their decaying relationship in “You’re Losing Me”. She began the song by saying, “You say, ‘I don’t understand’ and I say, ‘I know you don’t’ / We thought a cure would come through in time, now, I fear it won’t / Remember lookin’ at this room, we loved it ’cause of the light / Now, I just sit in the dark and wonder if it’s time.” Her first verse of “So Long, London,” continues this story, capturing her feelings as she realized they wouldn’t make it. Timeline-wise, Jack Antonoff revealed Swift wrote “You’re Losing Me” on Dec. 5, 2021. Swift shared that she began writing The Tortured Poets Department in February 2022. She and Alwyn broke up in March 2023, with news of their split breaking to media outlets on April 8, 2023.

Swift sings in the bridge of “You’re Losing Me” about how much sadness they had too: “How long could we be a sad song / ’Til we were too far gone to bring back to life?”

Fans noted that Swift and Alwyn had co-written “sad” songs on evermore and folklore. Their evermore track “champagne problems” was even about a woman rejecting a proposal. In one verse they addressed why the woman said no. Swift sang: “I never was ready so I watch you go / Sometimes you just don’t know the answer / ’Til someone’s on their knees and asks you / “She would’ve made such a lovely bride / What a shame she’s fucked in the head,” they said / But you’ll find the real thing instead / She’ll patch up your tapestry that I shred.”

While the lyrics were fictional, Swift and Alwyn chose an interesting story to tell given the constant tabloid marriage rumors about them. Swift would later sing about her heartbreak over Alwyn’s not proposing in “You’re Losing Me” and “loml.”

Before dating Alwyn, Swift was largely U.S.-based. While with him, Swift built more of a life in England with Alwyn’s family and friends. Swift even sang about that in “London Boy” verses, “Took me back to Highgate, met all of his best mates” and “You can find me in the pub, we are watching rugby with his school friends.” She was photographed with Alwyn and his mother in London in January 2021, too. “By the Heath” may refer to the park Hampstead Heath. Swift and Alwyn spent time in the London neighborhood Hampstead while dating.

Swift’s reference to stopping CPR plays off of the chorus in “You’re Losing Me”: “I can’t find a pulse / My heart won’t start anymore for you.”

Swift and Alwyn dated for six years. A source told Gistfox News on April 11, 2023 that Swift initiated the conversation to break up in March 2023, although the decision was mutual. “Taylor and Joe are in totally different places in their lives right now,” the source said. “It was more of Taylor’s decision to break up, but both of them realized that they weren’t completely right for one another. They had been together for such a long time and were spending so much time together, but their personalities were just too different. Joe is more introverted, shy, and quiet.”

Swift sang in the bridge “You’re Losing Me” about how much she was fighting for their relationship, calling herself a frontline soldier: “I gave you all my best me’s, my endless empathy / And all I did was bleed as I tried to be the bravest soldier / Fighting in only your army, frontlines, don’t you ignore me.” She also pled with him to “‘Do something, babe, say something’ (Say something) / ‘Lose something, babe, risk something’ (You’re losing me) / ‘Choose something, babe, I got nothing (I got nothing) / To believe, unless you’re choosing me.’”

Alwyn also had trouble with Swift’s fame. The couple was rarely photographed out while dating.

Swift spoke in her December Time interview about how she feels about that type of secrecy. “When you say a relationship is public, that means I’m going to see him do what he loves, we’re showing up for each other, other people are there and we don’t care,” she said, referencing her relationship with Travis Kelce. “The opposite of that is you have to go to an extreme amount of effort to make sure no one knows that you’re seeing someone. And we’re just proud of each other.”

Swift has previously compared Alwyn to the color blue in her music. In Lover’s “Cruel Summer,” she sings a bit about the feeling he gave her “killing me slow, out the window / I’m always waiting for you to be waiting below / Devils roll the dice, angels roll their eyes / What doesn’t kill me makes me want you more / And it’s new, the shape of your body / It’s blue, the feeling I’ve got / And it’s ooh, whoa, oh / It’s a cruel summer.”

Swift’s dying “on the altar” seems like a response to the bridge of “You’re Losing Me” where she was waiting for Alwyn to do something to fight for their relationship.

 

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