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Taylor Swift Said ‘So Long’ To Joe Alwyn’s Reputation

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

From the majestic Harry Styles to the interesting (to say the least) Matty Healy, and everyone in between, The Tortured Poets Department perfectly provides closure to Taylor Swift. The most important one that got away, Joe Alwyn, definitely faced the most direct payback from Miss Americana. Her catchy and moody song “So Long, London” (along with several others) tears this man apart. Although this isn’t the relationship to Reputation that many of us longed for, there was definitely no explanation and just a mass destruction of Joe Alwyn’s reputation. 

Simply glancing at the title of the fifth song on her 11th studio album, we can see Taylor is bidding her final goodbye to what may go down in history as her worst ex yet. “So long” is used more in a mysterious connotation, suggesting that Joe has no idea what’s ahead of him. This warning to the London boy prefaces all of the punches that Swift throws throughout the 31-song album precisely put together to chip away at his egotistic persona. Also the careful placement of a comma before London, suggests that London is a person and not just the city. Who knew that three words could scream such a message of revenge?

Onto the actual composure of the beautiful 4 minutes and 23 second song; Swift goes for Alwyn’s throat in every single aspect. The very beginning sounds almost identical to wedding bells ringing. Taylor’s voice emulates a harmonious and peaceful ensemble that echoes the beauty of love and serenity. But immediately after, the beat picks up and you can almost instantly recognize a parallel to “Call It What You Want”. The idea of going from a “holy matrimony” vibe to a connection to “my castle crumbled overnight,/I brought a knife to a gun fight” spurs out an insane attack simply from the construction of the musical background. 

Throughout the rest of the song, it feels like a constant build up of the beat which leads us to wait for some sort of major bridge to connect it all. And shocking news: she never has that bridge that we were waiting for the entire time. Similar to her six year build-up with Joe Alwyn, we as fans were led to believe that this build up of notes would lead to some grand ending. She basically emulated the feeling of despair and loss at the end of such a long commitment in the composition of her song, leaving us to not only relate to her words, but subconsciously to the song as a whole. The constant and quick beat throughout the entirety of the song also allows us to connect to her emotions in her relationship with Joe. It almost sounds like the feeling of anxiety. With heart palpitation-like beats flowing with the spur of her words display the constant anxiety and unpredictability of what was coming next in their relationship.

As for the lyrics, there is SO MUCH to digest. When I say that my jaw was on the floor for almost the whole song, you better believe it! I’d love to discuss this entire song line for line, but I’ll just share four of my favorite parallels that come directly for Joe Alwyn’s reputation. 

“I stopped CPR after all it’s no use” (“So Long, London”)

“I can’t find a pulse, my heart won’t start anymore” (“You’re Losing Me”)

This parallel essentially shows that after the breakup, Taylor came to the realization that she can no longer put all of her energy into a relationship that can’t be fixed. It also shows that her constant effort to revive this relationship was “no use” because Joe wouldn’t change his ways. 

“And I’m just getting color back into my face” (“So Long, London”) 

“My face was gray, but you wouldn’t admit that we were sick” (“You’re Losing Me”)

Here, Taylor Swift is explaining that Joe and her were basically toxic, causing them to grow sick with each other. She also points out that she evidently lost her sparkle because of the damage that he did, and now in her new relationship, she’s gaining her old personality and self-love back. 

“I stopped tryna make him laugh, stopped tryna drill the safe.” (“So Long, London”) 

“I’m still trying everything to get you laughing at me. I’m still a believer but I don’t know why.” (“mirrorball”)

Taylor Swift’s parallel here reveals that “mirrorball” might have had a connection to Joe all this time. In “mirrorball”, Swift shows her constantly trying to please others and make them happy, believing that she could change their minds about her. But, in “So Long, London”, she puts her hands up and expresses how she gave up on trying to open up Joe’s closed off personality that wouldn’t fully open his heart to her. 

“But I’m not the one” (“So Long, London”) 

“But it would’ve been fun if you would’ve been the one” (“the 1”) 

As a final piece of closure, Taylor connects her hope and desire to finally have the dream relationship she’s longed for with Joe, but comes to the conclusion that she wasn’t the one for him. The invisible string between these two lyrics goes back to the whole idea that they weren’t the ones for each other, no matter how much effort she put in to change herself and him.

Overall, “So Long, London” is such an amazingly composed piece, both lyrically and musically. The connections that she makes is actually insane, and I can’t imagine how many more she actually made in the song. It was almost like there was a parallel for every line in the song. Taking the compliments back, revealing their true toxicity, and making her final punch at his name are just a few of the many ways Taylor Swift attempted to destroy Joe Alwyn’s reputation in her latest song.

Hannah is a second-year Economics and Political Science major at UCLA, from Yuba City, California. She enjoys writing about a variety of topics from finance to up-and-coming trends! In her free time she loves baking, going to the beach, exploring the coffee shops of LA, and playing tennis.