There's a reason why "exile" and "evermore" hit right in the feels. Taylor Swift is finally opening up about what it was like to co-write songs with her boyfriend Joe Alwyn—and why they love creating "sad songs" together.
The Grammy winner previously revealed on her Disney+ studio session that he helped her write "exile" and "betty" on folklore, as well as three of the most gut-wrenching songs on her new evermore album, under the pseudonym William Bowery.
"Joe and I really love sad songs," the singer spilled during her interview on Tuesday, Dec. 15, with Zane Lowe on Apple Music. "We've always bonded over music. So it was… We write the saddest. We just really love sad songs. What can I say?"
Though she's typically very private about her relationship with The Favourite actor, Taylor continued to describe how they became closer over their shared taste in music. She said, "I say it was a surprise that we started writing together, but in a way, it wasn't because we have always bonded over music and had the same musical tastes."
The 31-year-old added, "And he's always the person who's showing me songs by artists and then they become my favorite songs or whatever."
She then dove into detail about how the lovers penned the tear-jerker "evermore" for the album. Specifically, she said there's a double meaning behind the months that are mentioned, July and November, and the feelings involved.
"One of the meanings is that I wrote this song and these lyrics when we were coming up to the election, and I didn't know what was going to happen," she said in reference to the 2020 presidential election on Nov. 3, in which she backed now President-elect Joe Biden. "So I was almost preparing for the worst to happen, and trying to see some sort of glimmer at the end of the tunnel."
(Fans have previously speculated that "Only the Young" and "Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince" referred to politics as well).
Taylor said the last verse follows her walking through the forest barefoot in the middle of winter, or standing on a balcony and letting the icy wind just hit you. "You're catching your death, and then in the last chorus, the person goes inside, and finally is warm, and finally is safe," she explained. "It's about sort of the process of finding hope again."
It also ties into a 2016 experience that she called "pretty life altering," which we assume is her infamous feud with Kanye West.
"When I went through a bunch of bad stuff in 2016, July, November. All those times were just sort of taking it day-by-day to get through, trying to find a glimmer of hope, all of that," the songwriter continued. "So I was coming from both of those perspectives."
She and Joe, who have been dating for about four years, developed it "exactly the same way" they did for "exile," where the actor wrote the piano and Taylor based the vocal melody on his tune. Justin then added the bridge.
Tay said, "Justin really latched onto that, and just 100 percent embraced it and wrote this beautiful sort of... The clutter of all your anxieties in your head, and they're all speaking at once."
She believes that in the end of the song, listeners realize the pain wouldn't be forever, or as the superstar described, "That it could get better. So that was why I wanted to end it there."
It sounds like songwriting came very naturally for them. Taylor explained, "He's always just playing instruments and he doesn't do it in a strategic, 'I'm writing a song right now' thing. He's always done that."
However, the Miss Americana star admitted that if lockdown wouldn't have happened, she doesn't think they would have collaborated. "But I'm so glad that it did. We're so proud of ['exile']," the artist said. "All I have to do is dream up some lyrics and come up with some gut-wrenching, heart-shattering story to write with him."
And as for their not-so-bubbly track "champagne problems," Taylor hinted she'll one day perform it live at a concert for fans. "I'm so excited to one day be in front of a crowd when they all sing, 'She would have made such a lovely bride. What a shame she's f--ked in the head,'" she said, adding, "I love a sad song."
Before any shows, Swifties still have another type of "closure" to look forward to, because the 2021 Grammy nominee has two bonus songs coming that she sees as "a second ending, which I'm excited about."
For now, though, the pop star appears to be taking a much-needed break. After clearing up those Woodvale rumors to Jimmy Kimmel on Monday night, she doubled down on Tuesday by saying that evermore is the "quiet conclusion" to her folksy era.
After wrapping up folklore, she felt like she still had a "foot on the gas, like, let's keep going," but implied a third album is not on the way. "I have absolutely no idea what the next decade holds," she said.
Watch the full hour-long interview with Taylor Swift and Zane Lowe above.