Taylor Swift's Tortured Poets Confirmed What We Suspected About Joe Alwyn

The title of "The Tortured Poets Department" hinted that Joe Alwyn inspired at least some of the songs on Taylor Swift's 11th studio album, and a few tracks seemingly confirmed some Swifties' beliefs about why Alwyn was a bad fit for Swift.

While it might seem that there are only so many things you can say about how much breakups suck, Swift is an accomplished lyrical alchemist who is always conjuring up riveting tales about the well-tread topic of heartbreak that don't feel stale. Of course, it helps that she often has fresh material to mine from. She was with Alwyn for six years, and closing a chapter that long was something new for Swift. The frustration of putting so much time into a relationship only for it to end in heartbreak is something she touches on in her "TTPD" track "So Long, London." In it, she sings, "I'm pissed off you let me give you all that youth for free." In 2019, sources told Us Weekly that Swift was hoping to marry Alwyn, so perhaps she feels that she wasted too much of her youth waiting for a proposal that never came. The lyric, "You swore that you loved me but where were the clues? I died on the altar waiting for the proof," definitely sounds like it's about a wannabe bride-to-be venting her woe over having no wedding to plan. The album may also include confirmation that Swift and Alwyn weren't compatible because of their lifestyles.

Did she compare their relationship to being in jail?

If the song "Fresh Out the Slammer" is about Joe Alwyn, it supports the reports that he and Taylor Swift broke up because they wanted to live their lives differently. Sources told People that Alwyn wasn't comfortable with being in the spotlight, which was something Swift was reportedly cool with at the start of the pandemic; being in lockdown together helped the couple bond. But once they were free to do as they pleased, perhaps Swift felt that catering to Alwyn's preference for privacy was like being locked up. "Handcuffed to the spell I was under / For just one hour of sunshine / Years of labor, locks and ceilings / In the shade of how he was feeling," she sings on the track. When Time named Swift its Person of the Year in 2023, she expressed regret over spending years trying to stay out of the public eye and indicated that hiding is not something she's willing to do anymore.

One source told People that Swift and Alwyn split up because they realized they "weren't the right fit for one another." Swift could be bemoaning that purported incompatibility when she sings, "Another summer, taking cover, rolling thunder / He don't understand me." 

If Swift really felt like she was in the clink while tightly clinging to her relationship with Alwyn, it's a good thing she finally decided to forget the ring and free herself from those metaphorical handcuffs.