Obviously, an artist's songs do not necessarily reflect the actual goings-on in their lives—in fact, they rarely do, at least in real time.
Happily married musicians with four kids can write the saddest songs ever about love gone wrong, recently single artists have penned the most optimistic love songs, 27-year-olds in the bloom of health brood about mortality, 18-year-old pop stars go on about feelings and sex they've probably never had... Etc.
But most of the best songwriters mine personal experience, recent or long ago, for their music—including Taylor Swift, who has proudly autopsied her past relationships for art's sake and ended up with five memorable albums for her efforts.
If you listen to her music, she's fallen hard and fast; has had plenty of , um, evenings to remember; and has tasted the bittersweet fruit of love and its demise a few times over.
Sure, all it takes is one to make all the dating that's come before seem like child's play, but Hiddleston must have made Taylor's proverbial cartoon bow-tie spin around at warp speed if she's saying she has "never felt this way before."
So does this truly mean that she's having that inexplicable feeling that occurs when it's all of a sudden right, the blissful realization that it's all been B.S. up till now? Or better yet, she's so busy feeling right (and meeting parents and hopping jets) that she hasn't even had time to compare?
Or is thinking Tom's "the one" just a completely trite phase that we're all buying into because, well, if famous people say it, it means more than when regular people say it?
Or, could Taylor's music have been, gasp!, embellished along the way? Because otherwise, hasn't she had all the feelings? When set to music at least, her previous relationships sound pretty intense right from the start as well...
"Everything I need is right here by my side / And I know everything about you / I don't wanna live without you."
OK, "I'm Only Me When I'm With You," off her eponymous debut album, gets a pass, written as it was when Taylor was barely 17—and "love" is never deeper or more important than when you're 17. Or "Fifteen," as she would soon note on Fearless.
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And presumably she's more in tune now with what she wants than when she sang, "I love each freckle on your face / I've never been so wrapped up, honey /I like the way you're everything I ever wanted" on "Jump Then Fall."
We're also going to assume that the way she loved whoever inspired "The Way I Loved You"—with all its screaming, fighting, kissing in the rain, name-cursing at 2 a.m., acting insane, breaking down and coming undone—is not a feeling she wants to replicate, no matter how much she thought she missed the drama at the time.
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But perhaps Tom is the first to truly get her, unlike the guy in "Mine," from Speak Now, whom she only thought got her: "You learn my secrets and you figure out why I'm guarded / You say we'll never make my parents' mistakes." (Like meeting your daughter's new boyfriend too soon?)
We've been told that she "loves that Tom is older" and actually acts like a "mature man," so she's learned since her "Dear John" phase.
And the new way she's feeling apparently topped how she felt before "The Story of Us," when "I used to think one day we'd tell the story of us / How we met and the sparks flew instantly / and people would say, 'They're the lucky ones.'"
Taylor's wise enough to know now that nothing is ever so simple, when millions of armchair critics are involved.
A source has also said that Taylor feels "very safe and protected with him" and adores how he treats her—and she knows the difference! She said as much in "Begin Again": "I walk to you / You pull my chair out and help me in / And you don't know how nice that is / But I do."
And we certainly hope that she's never compelled to compare loving Tom Hiddleston to "driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street," or, if this too is a "beautiful magic love," that it never turns into a "Sad Beautiful Tragic" love.
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So we're left to wonder, what is so different this time that Taylor is singing someone's praises with no actual song involved?
Of course it isn't fair to make Taylor swear by every word along the way, but she herself has double-downed on the notion that she writes straight from the heart, and many times a broken heart at that.
"I wrote my first album when I was 14 and 15, so now we're going on 10 years of making albums right now. The formula has never changed, in that I try to make an album that best represents the last two years of my life," Taylor explained to NRP in February 2015, a few months after 1989 dropped.
"People have essentially gotten to read my diary for the last 10 years. I still write personal songs, and sometimes people like to put a very irritating, negative, spin on that—as if I'm oversharing, as if it's too much information—when this has been the way I've lived my life and run my career the entire time. So I do think it's really important that I continue to give people an insight into what my life is actually like, even though it comes at a higher cost now."
That is seemingly has, because Taylor's relationship songs have become inextricably linked to Taylor's relationships. Whether that just includes her millions of fans or all the potential suitors out there too remains to be seen.
"Wildest Dreams," for instance, "is actually a really good example of the way I go into relationships now," she also told NPR. "If I meet someone who I feel I have a connection with, the first thought I have is: 'When this ends, I hope it ends well. I hope you remember me well." Which is not anything close to the way I used to think about relationships. It's that realization that it's the anomaly if something works out; it's not a given."
But now, she "thinks she's in love" and Hiddleston "could be the one, as odd and new as it sounds."
It doesn't sound odd at all. In fact, it sounds really familiar.
And for the first time in 10 years, it isn't Taylor's songs that are serving as the ultimate kiss-off. She's actually living it.