Taylor Swift's 'The Lakes' Lyrics Reveal How She Feels About Joe Alwyn—and How She Sees Their Future

Taylor Swift dropped her final bonus track from folklore last night, "the lakes." The song, named after the United Kingdom's Lake District, contains several references to her boyfriend of three years, British actor Joe Alwyn—and makes it clear those other breakup songs on the album were certainly not about him.

It also lyrically reflects on her time in the spotlight and the scrutiny she has faced on social media as she navigated her teens and twenties in the spotlight.

Here, the lyrics, via Genius, with references annotated. The song isn't officially on any streaming services yet, as it is exclusive to the album's physical formats. (It was actually accidentally released earlier this week in the UK—three days earlier than Swift intended—according to Variety). Some lyric videos for the song are on YouTube for now though.

taylor swift and joe alwyn
Jackson LeeGetty Images
Verse 1
Is it romantic how all of my elegies eulogize me?
I'm not cut out for all these cynical clones
These hunters with cell phones

Genius fans note that Swift seems to address her public persona here, from how others viewed her for writing so many breakup songs earlier in her career to how the internet has affected her mental health. Swift spoke candidly about cancel culture during an interview with Vogue last September, and how the public backlash she faced after Kim Kardashian's Snapchat takedown of her changed her. “A mass public shaming, with millions of people saying you are quote-unquote canceled, is a very isolating experience,” Swift said. “I don’t think there are that many people who can actually understand what it’s like to have millions of people hate you very loudly. When you say someone is canceled, it’s not a TV show. It’s a human being. You’re sending mass amounts of messaging to this person to either shut up, disappear, or it could also be perceived as, kill yourself.”

Swift said after that experience, she decided to drastically change the way she lived her life. “I realized I needed to restructure my life because it felt completely out of control,” she said. “I knew immediately I needed to make music about it because I knew it was the only way I could survive it. It was the only way I could preserve my mental health and also tell the story of what it’s like to go through something so humiliating.”

Chorus
Take me to the lakes, where all the poets went to die
I don't belong and, my beloved, neither do you
Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry
I'm setting off, but not without my muse

Joe Alwyn, Swift's boyfriend of more than three years, has been a muse to her during her last three albums. The bulk of her love songs, including on folklore, are about him. He's also British: "Windermere peaks" appear to be a reference to Windermere Lake in England. The two have spent a lot of time in the country together while dating mostly out of the spotlight.

Verse 2
What should be over burrowed under my skin
In heart-stopping waves of hurt
I've come too far to watch some namedropping sleaze
Tell me what are my words worth

This is likely a reference to Swift's drama with Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta. Braun acquired Big Machine, along with the catalogs for Swift's first six albums (when she was signed with them), for $300 million. She has spoken out publicly multiple times about how upset she was about Braun owning the masters of her first years of work. "This is my worst case scenario," she wrote on Tumblr when the purchase was first announced last summer. "This is what happens when you sign a deal at 15 to someone for whom the term 'loyalty' is clearly just a contractual concept. And when that man says 'Music has value,' he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it. When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them. Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter. Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words 'Scooter Braun' escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to. He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever."

She added that when she heard about Braun being the buyer, "All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years."

Chorus
Take me to the lakes, where all the poets went to die
I don't belong and, my beloved, neither do you
Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry
I'm setting off, but not without my muse

Bridge

I want auroras and sad prose
I want to watch wisteria grow right over my bare feet
'Cause I haven't moved in years
And I want you right here
A red rose grew up out of ice frozen ground
With no one around to tweet it
While I bathe in cliffside pools
With my calamitous love and insurmountable grief

Swift seems to reflect here about how she wants her life to look now and how much she loves living a more private life. After the summer of 2016, Swift made a point to withdraw from the spotlight. When Swift isn't actively promoting an album, she stays off social media for the most part. Little is known about her day-to-day life. Swift and Alwyn have also consciously chosen to keep their relationship off social media. They have never shared a photo together. Swift explained to the Guardian last year why she won't talk about their relationship in interviews. “I’ve learned that if I do, people think it’s up for discussion, and our relationship isn’t up for discussion,” she said with a laugh. “If you and I were having a glass of wine right now, we’d be talking about it—but it’s just that it goes out into the world. That’s where the boundary is, and that’s where my life has become manageable. I really want to keep it feeling manageable.”

Chorus
Take me to the lakes, where all the poets went to die
I don't belong and, my beloved, neither do you
Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry
I'm setting off, but not without my muse
No, not without you

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Celebrity