Taylor Swift’s folklore may be an album of numerous breakup songs (with some tracks being fictional, Swift made clear), but in the 16-track work, the singer did include some love songs to her boyfriend of more than three years, Joe Alwyn. Her most overt track of all appears to be “Invisible String,” which reflects on the bond that ties them and how all the heartbreak she went through with her other exes led her to him.Fans on Genius noticed numerous callouts to Alwyn, as well as Swift’s past growing up in Nashville. She also appeared to reflect on the couple’s private three-year anniversary trip to the United Kingdom’s Lake district, known also as the Lakes.Also revealing? Swift hinting she sent a baby gift to her ex-boyfriend Joe Jonas and his pregnant wife Sophie Turner. The ‘cardigan’ lyrics say a lot about how Swift looks at love now. Take them in, via Genius, below, with references to Alwyn and Jonas annotated. You can also listen to the song below:
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Verse 1Green was the color of the grassWhere I used to read at Centennial ParkI used to think I would meet somebody thereTeal was the color of your shirtWhen you were sixteen at the yogurt shopYou used to work at to make a little moneyFans on Genius note that Alwyn spoke in an interview in Red magazine’s January 2020 issue about working at UK frozen yogurt franchise Snog’s, where employees wear teal uniforms, as a teen. I did have this one job in London,” he said when asked if he had any other jobs before acting. “Do you know that frozen yogurt place, Snog? …I mean, I was paid some money! Then I worked in a menswear shop. I did what I could to make some extra cash.”
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Swift contrasts his experience to hers being in Nashville’s Centennial Park.ChorusTime, curious timeGave me no compasses, gave me no signsWere there clues I didn’t see?And isn’t it just so pretty to thinkAll along there was someInvisible stringTying you to me?Ooh-ooh-ooh-oohVerse 2Bad was the blood of the song in the cabOn your first trip to LAYou ate at my favorite spot for dinnerSwift is suggesting here that Alwyn heard her song “Bad Blood” in a cab during his first trip to Los Angeles, which came out in 2014. Alwyn’s first major film, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, would come out two years later. Swift suggested the two first met at the May 2016 Met Gala in her song “Dress.” Their first documented hangout was in October 2016 at a Kings of Leon concert. In November 2016, Swift would attend a screening of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.Bold was the waitress on our three-year tripGetting lunch down by the LakesShe said I looked like an American singerSwift seems to allude to a private trip the couple took last fall to the United Kingdom’s Lake District. Fans believe she hinted they first began dating on September 28, 2016 when she tweaked her cover of “September” to include that date. Their three-year anniversary trip would have been taken in the fall 2019.ChorusTime, mystical timeCutting me open, then healing me fineWere there clues I didn’t see?Swift of course has several boyfriends and big breakups before meeting Alwyn. Among them were Joe Jonas, Connor Kennedy, Harry Styles, Calvin Harris, and Tom Hiddleston.And isn’t it just so pretty to thinkAll along there was someInvisible stringTying you to me?Ooh-ooh-ooh-oohBridgeA string that pulled meOut of all the wrong arms, right into that dive barSwift sang about meeting Alwyn in dive bars and the beginning of their relationship in her Reputation song “Delicate.” She started the song by singing, “This ain’t for the best / My reputation’s never been worse, so / You must like me for me… / We can’t make / Any promises now, can we, babe? / But you can make me a drink / Dive bar on the East Side, where you at?”Something wrapped all of my past mistakes in barbed wireChains around my demonsWool to brave the seasonsOne single thread of goldTied me to youVerse 3Cold was the steel of my axe to grindFor the boys who broke my heartNow I send their babies presentsSwift’s ex Joe Jonas is expecting his first child with his wife of one year, Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner. In June 2019, Jonas revealed during an interview with ITV’s Lorraine show that he and Swift were friends now, 10 years after their breakup—and Swift blasting him for breaking up with her “over the phone in 25 seconds when I was 18″—during an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. In 2019, she said she regretted it. Jonas said hearing that, “it did feel nice. It’s something that I probably was feeling pretty bad about when I was younger, but at the end of the day, like, I’ve moved on. I’m sure Taylor’s moved on, and it feels nice, and we’re all friends, and it’s all good. We were so young.”Gold was the color of the leavesWhen I showed you around Centennial ParkHell was the journey but it brought me heavenSwift doesn’t talk much about her relationship with Alwyn, but she touches here on showing him around Nashville and confirms they are as strong as ever.ChorusTime, wondrous timeGave me the blues and then purple-pink skiesAnd it’s coolBaby, with meAnd isn’t it just so pretty to thinkAll along there was someInvisible stringTying you to me?Ooh-ooh-ooh-oohMeOoh-ooh-ooh-oohOutro(Ah-ah-ah)(Ah-ah-ah)
News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton).
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