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Taylor Swift’s “loml” Doesn’t Mean What We All Thought It Did

If you were to say “Taylor Swift is the loml” before The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD), most Swifties would agree with you. But in a post-TTPD world, you’ll have some explaining to do.

“loml” is track 12 on TTPD. It’s the only title on the album written completely in lowercase, so get comfy under a mountain of blankets and make sure you have tissues nearby. It’s also the only Swift track ever to be named after a text acronym. It’s not the only Gen Z-adjacent track on TTPD; track 4 is called “Down Bad” (ngl, that made me lol). In text speak, “loml” is short for “love of my life.” In Swift speak, this is only partially true. By the end of “loml,” Swift’s given the acronym a whole new, much sadder meaning.

The song’s lyrics give us a vulnerable look at the breakdown of a relationship Swift thought would be endgame. Lyrical callbacks to some of her most romantic songs suggest that “loml” is about her six-year relationship with Joe Alwyn. At the end of the first verse, Swift sings, “I thought I was better safe than starry-eyed.” In “Call It What You Want” from Reputation (the first album Swift released while dating Alwyn), she sings, “Starry eyes sparking up my darkest nights.”

Additionally, referring to love as a “glow” is one of Swift’s lyrical hallmarks. In the first verse of “loml,” Swift admits, “I felt a glow like this never before and never since.” That sounds like something you’d only say about the love of your life.

She confirms in the chorus that “loml” stands for the love of someone’s life — but not hers. In fact, the words “love of my life” never come up in the lyrics. Instead, Swift sings directly to her ex in the post-chorus: “You said I’m the love of your life about a million times.”

But don’t be fooled: “loml” isn’t a love song. Swift reveals that the relationship was a lot more on-and-off than people knew with the opening line, “Who’s gonna stop us from waltzing back into rekindled flames if we know the steps anyway?” When the news of Swift’s and Alwyn’s breakup broke the internet in April 2023, a source revealed to People, “They’ve had rough patches before and always worked things out, so friends thought they would take some time apart but eventually come back together.”

As we know now in April 2024, the couple have seemingly called it quits for good. Swift says she’s “still alive / killing time at the cemetery / never quite buried” in the chorus. Maybe their break-up started as a temporary break that just fizzled out. After all, she calls it a “bland goodbye” in the last verse. I can’t imagine a more unsatisfying end to a six-year relationship. No wonder Swift wrote a 31-track album about it.

Their relationship also wasn’t as perfect as it looked from the outside. All within the second verse, Swift hits us with the hard-hitting lines “Who’s gonna tell me the truth,” “When your impressionist paintings of heaven turned out to be fakes,” and “A con man sells a get-love-quick scheme.” Ouch. Her starry eyes have definitely burnt out. Swift clearly feels like her relationship was a lie. She never explicitly says it in the song, but “loml” could even stand for “lie of my life.”

So, what does “loml” actually mean, Taylor?

She makes us wait for the answer until the very last line of the song. She says it plain and simple: “You’re the loss of my life.” The anger and betrayal she feels toward her ex are symptomatic of a much deeper feeling: grief for the relationship she thought she would be in for the rest of her life.

“loml” is Swift’s heartbreaking attempt to reconcile love and loss in the same breath.

Fabiana Beuses is a senior at Florida State University double majoring in Media/Communication Studies and English (Editing, Writing, and Media). She is the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at FSU. She previously served as Her Campus' Summer 2023 Entertainment & Culture Intern and is currently a National Culture Writer, where she profiles celebrities and professionally fangirls over pop culture phenomena. When she's not polishing her latest article, you can find her browsing bookstore aisles, taste testing vanilla lattes around town, or rewatching the Harry Potter series for the millionth time.