Many fans speculated that much of Taylor Swift’s new album, The Tortured Poets Department, would be inspired by her split from Joe Alwyn — and they weren’t completely wrong.

Although less of the record seems to be dedicated to her nearly six-year relationship with the actor than some anticipated, Swift sets aside some of the most heartbreaking songs — including her now-famous track 5 — for her recollection of the breakup, which was confirmed in April 2023.

From “So Long, London” to “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart” and “loml,” Swift gives a candid glimpse at mourning the loss of a longtime love that she thought would last forever. “He said he’d love me all his life but that life was too short,” she sings in “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart,” track 13 on the album. “Now I fall to pieces on the floor.”

When discussing the making of the album at her Melbourne, Australia show in February 2024, Swift referred to TTPD as a “lifeline” during a difficult time in her life.

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“It sort of reminded me of why songwriting is something that actually gets me through life,” she told fans. “And I’ve never had an album where I’ve needed songwriting more than I needed it on Tortured Poets.”

Keep scrolling for every song allegedly about Alwyn on Swift’s TTPD:

‘So Long, London’

Track fives have become famous for being some of Swift’s most gut-wrenching tunes, and The Tortured Poets Department is no different.

“So Long, London” reads as a sister song to Midnights’ “You’re Losing Me,” where Swift sings about the death of her romance with Alwyn (a British actor, in case you somehow missed it).

“I stopped CPR after all it’s no use / The spirit was gone we would never come to / And I’m pissed off you would let me give you all that youth for free for so long, London,” she sings in the second chorus.

In “You’re Losing Me,” Swift — who recorded her own heartbeat for the track — once again compares the relationship to a failing body, claiming that her partner “couldn’t admit that we were sick.”

Swift also notes her “quiet resentment” toward her now-ex in “So Long, London,” which she says has grown over time.“You swore that you loved me but where were the clues,” she asks. “I died on the altar waiting for the proof. You sacrificed us to the God of your bluest days.”

Swift has referenced the color blue in relation to Alwyn many times throughout her music. She’s also touched on wanting to build a life with Alwyn and get married in songs like “Paper Rings,” “Lover,” “Peace” and “You’re Losing Me.

Every Song Taylor Swift Wrote About Joe Alwyn on Tortured Poets Department 2
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Alwyn’s potential struggle with anxiety and depression has also been alluded to in some of Swift’s music. “Lover” claims “My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue,” while “Renegade” questions, “Is it your anxiety that stops you from giving me everything? / Or do you just not want to?”

In “So Long, London,” Swift claims she “carried the weight of the rift” between her and Alwyn until her “spine split from carrying us up the hill.”

“Stopped trying to make him laugh,” she says. “Stopped trying to drill the safe / And I’m just getting color back into my face, I’m just mad as hell because I loved this place for so long, London.”

She ends the song by declaring, “Had a good run .. but I’m not the one, London.”


One of the most heartbreaking songs on TTPD, “loml” seemingly addresses Swift’s feelings of betrayal over her relationship with Alwyn not working out.

There are allusions to “getting married’ and building a life together on the track, which she now resents. “You s–t-talked me under the table talking rings and talking cradles,” she sings in the second verse.

There are also subtle references to someone claiming he was a “reformed” man after getting with Swift, with lines like “Mr. Steal your girl and then make her cry,” and “the coward claimed he was a lion.”

Swift’s earlier music about Alwyn included nods to the actor’s past dating life, like Delicate’s “Do the girl’s back home touch you like I do?” and “Knew he was a killer, first time that I saw him, breaking hearts and never saying sorry,” which appears on Reputation’s “Are You Ready for It?”

There were also rumors that Swift fell for Alwyn while she was dating Tom Hiddleston, which she seemingly alludes to in Midnights’ “High Fidelity.”

“Do you really want to know where I was April 29,” she asks of the date she allegedly met Alwyn. “Do I really need to tell you how he brought me back to life?”

Swift also sings about the love with Alwyn feeling like a “glow,” which is similar to “golden” the color she previously used to describe their romance. “I thought love was red, but it’s golden,” she explains on “Daylight.”

She also sarcastically calls Alwyn a “cinephile” in the song, ragging on his other artistic endeavors, singing, “Impressionist paintings of heaven turned out to be fakes” — which is a far cry from her perspective on Folklore’s “Peace.”

“Your integrity makes me seem small/ You paint dreamscapes on the wall,” she croons on the 2020 track penned when they were still together. “I talk s–t with my friends / It’s like I’m wasting your honor.”

‘I Can Do It With a Broken Heart’

The most upbeat track on the record, “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart” is about Swift trying to hold it together after calling it quits with Alwyn as she launched the worldwide Eras Tour.

“I’m a real tough kid, I can handle my s—t / They said gotta fake it ‘till you make it and baby, I did,” Swift sings of the early days of the tour, which launched less than one month after her breakup with Alwyn was announced. “Lights, camera, bitch … smile.”

Swift confesses that while fans thought she was having “the time of my life,” she was secretly “breaking down” and hitting “the floor” behind closed doors.

“All of the pieces of me shattered while the crowd was shouting more,” she sings. “I was grinning like I’m winning, I was hitting my marks / Because I can do it with a broken heart.”

“I can hold my breath,” she continues. “I’ve been doing it since he left.”

Every Song Taylor Swift Wrote About Joe Alwyn on Tortured Poets Department 3
Jackson Lee/GC Images

‘The Black Dog’

One of TTPD’s three bonus tracks, “The Black Dog” deals with a universal post-breakup struggle: being alerted to the location of an ex and letting the mind run wild with theories.

Swift confesses that after noticing that her former partner forgot to turn his phone location off, she “watches as he walks into some bar” and it “hits her” that he might not “miss” her the way she hopes.

“Old habits die screaming,” she admits as she pictures her ex, presumably Alwyn, with another girl who is “too young” to understand music references that were “intertwined in the fabric” of their love.

“I move through the world heartbroken, longings stay unspoken / And I may never open up the way I did for you,” she says. “And all of those best-laid plans, you said I needed a brave man then proceeded to play him until I believed it, too / And it kills me.”

Every Taylor Swift Song Seemingly Inspired by Joe Alwyn

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Swift also mentions a “cruel fraternity” she pledged with her ex, which could reference Alwyn’s group of friends she often would hang out with at the beginning of their romance.

“And now I love high tea, stories from uni, and the West End,” she sings in “London Boy,” off 2019’s Lover. “You can find me in the pub, we are watching rugby with his school friends.”

Swift ends “The Black Dog” on a raw note. “Tail between your legs, you’re leaving / And I can’t still believe it,” she sings, before taking a final shaky breath. “Because old habits die screaming.”

‘Fresh Out the Slammer’

Swift makes it clear that the term “fresh out the slammer” is a metaphor for the end of her relationship with Alwyn, by dropping retrenches about the actor she’s worked into other songs about him.

“Grey and blue and fights and tunnels / Handcuffed to the spell I was under for just one hour of sunshine,” she sings in the second verse. Blue is the color Swift uses to represent Alwyn in her music. Tunnels, meanwhile, are referenced in “Cornelia Street” where she recalls almost leaving Alwyn but turns around “just before” she “hits the tunnel” because he calls. 

“Fresh Out the Slammer” also seems to reference Alwyn’s depressive episodes as a source of tension, as she sings, “Years of labored locks and ceilings in the shade of how he was feeling, but it’s going to be alright, I did my time.” 

The title of the track also might be a calling back to the Reputation song “Are You Ready for It?” an upbeat love song about Alwyn with lyrics that read, “Now he could be my jailor / Burton to this Taylor.” 


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