Why Taylor Swift Fans Think "coney island" Is About Harry Styles, Calvin Harris and More A-List Exes

From John Mayer to Jake Gyllenhaal, Taylor Swift's famous ex-boyfriends seem to be referenced all on her new song, "coney island." For a mind-blowing breakdown, keep scrolling.

By Samantha Schnurr Dec 15, 2020 4:51 PMTags
Watch: Taylor Swift's "Evermore" Album Decoded: All Hidden Easter Eggs

Fans can't shake this theory about one of Taylor Swift's new songs. 

Less than a week ago on Dec. 11, the singer blessed devoted Swifties with the surprise sister album to folklore, titled evermore. Ever since dropping her ninth studio album, fans have left no lyric undissected, including what sound like very carefully chosen words for the track, "coney island." 

More broadly, the song juggles themes of loss, regret and nostalgia, but with a closer look—or should we say, listen—some Swifties have theorized the song references many of the star's A-list exes, from John Mayer to Calvin Harris, all within just a few verses. 

To start, with the lines "Were you standing in the hallway/with a big cake, happy birthday," the song harkens back to seemingly the same birthday Swift sang about on her Red track, "The Moment I Knew," which tells the story about her boyfriend not showing up for her at her 21st birthday. As fans know well, her boyfriend at that time was Jake Gyllenhaal.  

Taylor Swift & Joe Alwyn: Romance Rewind

Then, with the lyrics "Did I paint your bluest skies the darkest grey?/A universe away," fans think the line is a callback to "Dear John" from 2010. On that song, which she famously wrote about Mayer, she sang, "You paint me a blue sky and go back and turn it to rain."

The next "coney island" lyric, "And when I got into the accident/ The sight that flashed before me was your face," echoes these previous ones from 1989's "Out of the Woods"—"Remember when you hit the brakes too soon?/Twenty stitches in a hospital room/When you started crying, baby, I did too/But when the sun came up, I was looking at you." The lyrics were inspired by a snowmobile accident Swift allegedly suffered with ex Harry Styles.  

Kevin Winter/BMA2015/Getty Images for dcp

And, finally, there's the "coney island" line, "But when I walked up to the podium I think that I forgot to say your name," which fans believe is a nod to Harris. While she was dating him at the time of her Album of the Year win at the 2016 Grammys, she later said in her Netflix documentaryMiss Americana, "I had my mom, but I just wondered, shouldn't I have someone that I could call right now?" 

Once again, it seems the Swifties have cracked a code. Keep scrolling to take a walk down memory lane and revisit the star's celebrity exes. 

Calvin Harris

Just a few short months following their one-year anniversary, Swift and Harris decided to call it quits. Initially, their split appered amicable enough, with Calvin writing on Twitter, "The only truth here is that a relationship came to an end & what remains is a huge amount of love and respect". Taylor retweeted his sentiments.

However, around the time photos surfaced of Swift locking lips with Tom Hiddleston, the Scottish DJ unfollowed Swift and deleted his initial breakup tweet.  

Harry Styles

Talk about your true romantics. No matter what happened with the guy before, Taylor Swift is always willing to give love a chance. But if your musical bread and butter is the based-on-experience breakup tune, you can never have too much material, right? Here's a look back at the famous loves of Taylor Swift:

Swift enjoyed a seemingly chance meetup with the 18-year-old One Direction heartthrob on the set of the U.S. X Factor—she enjoyed it so much, in fact, she took off to London with him and they dated for two months.

Conor Kennedy

The 18-year-old scion of one of the U.S.' most stories political dynasties caught Taylor's eye after she struck up a friendship with his cousin Patrick Schwarzenegger, and they had a few good months together. You know, until Conor had to go back for his senior year of prep school.

Jake Gyllenhaal

This one was random—and brief. But, Swift made enough of an impression to merit an introduction to Jake's sister, Maggie, in Brooklyn. And he made enough of an impression to merit a mention in the liner notes for "All Too Well" on her Red album.

John Mayer

Let's just say, the music brought these two together and then reality pushed them apart. Taylor was 19 when when she hooked up with the legendary lothario—but she got her revenge with "Dear John," which the "good man with a good heart" thought was really mean of her to write.

Joe Jonas

These two were still teenagers when they made the burgeoning-pop-star scene together. Things went deeply south toward the end of 2009, but, in denying that "We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together" was about him, Joe made mention that he and Taylor are friendly nowadays.

Cory Monteith

Before he coupled up with Lea Michele, the Glee star romanced Swift. Maybe. He feigned ignorance when asked about the rumors that "Back to December" off of Speak Now was about him—and Swift got all quiet and blushy when Ellen DeGeneres sprang a pic of Monteith on her during an interview.

Taylor Lautner

It couldn't get any cuter—the Valentine's Day costars had the same name, for goodness' sake! Lautner didn't get the urge to imprint, however, and this innocent liaison instead marked the beginning of Swift's serial monogamy.

NEXT GALLERY: Madonna's Ex-Files

Latest News