Taylor Swift’s Tortured Poets Department Tracklist Seemingly Hints at Joe Alwyn Breakup Songs

Taylor Swift unveiled the tracklist for her upcoming album The Tortured Poets Department, with songs like "I Can Do It With a Broken Heart" seemingly alluding to her breakup with Joe Alwyn.

By Lindsay Weinberg Feb 06, 2024 3:16 AMTags
Watch: Taylor Swift’s Rep Slams Joe Alwyn Marriage Rumors

It looks like Taylor Swift is saying bye bye baby to her London Boy. 

After announcing her upcoming album The Tortured Poets Department at the 2024 Grammys Feb. 4, Swift dropped the tracklist of every song title—including collaborations with two popular artists. Post Malone will feature on the opener "Fortnight," while Florence + the Machine will appear on "Florida!!!"

And while his name didn't appear in any of the titles, her ex Joe Alwyn seemingly inspired several tracks on Swift's 11th studio album, out April 19. 

Considering she released "London Boy" in 2019 during her romance with the British actor, go ahead and take a guess at who may be the muse behind her upcoming number "So Long, London."

And fans are already bracing for the heart-wrenching lyrics, with one user writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, "So long, London is going to HURT."

Her songs "Down Bad," "But Daddy I Love Him," "I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)," "loml" and "I Can Do It With a Broken Heart" may also hint at a devastating breakup, as do some lyrics she teased in the Instagram announcement: "I love you, it's ruining my life."

Taylor Swift & Joe Alwyn: Romance Rewind

Furthermore, since Swift said at the Grammys that she's been keeping this album a "secret" for two years, fans are speculating that the timing may align with their split, which was revealed publicly in April 2023. However, neither Swift or Alwyn have publicly spoken about the end of their relationship.

It appears that more of her poetic tracks will dive into some complicated emotions, including "Who's Afraid of Little Old Me?" and "The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived" (the latter of which prompted one X user to write, "good luck Joe Alwyn.")

Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff & Jon Kopaloff / Stringer (Getty Images)

As for "My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys," Swifties believe it could be a follow-up to 2019's "Cruel Summer," in which she sings, "Bad, bad boy, shiny toy with a price / You know that I bought it."

And of course, there's the titular song "The Tortured Poets Department," which is seemingly inspired by Alwyn's group chat called "The Tortured Man Club." The Conversations With Friends actor revealed in 2022 he was part of the text chain with Normal People's Paul Mescal and Fleabag's Andrew Scott as a reference to their onscreen characters.

Christopher Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

"Tortured man club group chat lighting up i fear," one fan shared on X in light of Swift's album announcement, while another user wrote, "joe alwyn are you ready for your tape."

Rounding out her tracklist are "Fresh Out the Slammer," "Guilty as Sin?" "The Alchemy," "Clara Bow" and the bonus track "The Manuscript." 

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Before The Tortured Poets Department drops April 19, read on for more songs allegedly inspired by Swift's romance with Alwyn:


The first song Taylor Swift collaborated on with her former boyfriend Joe Alwyn, the ballad appears on 2020's Folklore as a duet with Bon Iver. At the time of the album's release, Joe was credited under the pseudonym William Bowery, though Taylor confirmed William and Joe were one and the same during her Disney+ concert film, Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions.

Taylor revealed Joe had written the entire piano part, along with singing, "I can see you standin' honey/With his arms around your body/Laughin' but the joke's not funny at all." She went on to say The Favourite actor was "always just playing and making things up and kind of creating things," but the couple may have never worked together if it wasn't for the COVID-19 shutdown. 

"I was like, 'Hey, this could be really weird, and we could hate this,'" she explained, "'because we're in quarantine and there's nothing else going on, could we just try to see what it's like if we write this song together?'" 

The result of their professional collaboration? Winning Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammys.

"We're so proud of 'Exile,'" Taylor gushed. "All I have to do is dream up some lyrics and come up with some gut-wrenching, heart-shattering story to write with him."


For the title track off her ninth studio album, Taylor explained to Apple Music's Zane Lowe that she and Joe worked together the same way they did on "Exile," with Joe crafting the melody, Taylor writing the lyrics and Bon Iver once again serving as the male singing voice.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, the song's co-producer Aaron Dessner said it was "really important" for Joe to play the piano part on "Evermore" as he wasn't able to on "Exile" due to recording issues.

"But this time, we could," Aaron said. "I just think it's an important and special part of the story."

"All the Girls You Loved Before"

Just hours before Taylor kicked off The Eras tour in Glendale, Ariz., on March 17, the Grammy winner treated fans to four brand-new songs, including "All of the Girls You Loved Before." Originally intended for her 2019 album Lover, fans theorized that the track was about Joe. 

Taylor begins her pre-chorus by singing, "Your past and mine are parallel lines / Stars all aligned and they intertwined." Those lyrics reminded fans of another song she wrote about Joe on Midnights titled "Mastermind" on which she sings, "Once upon a time, the planets and the fates / And all the stars aligned / You and I ended up in the same room / At the same time."

Later in the song, Taylor croons, "The way you call me 'baby' / Treat me like a lady." Swifties quickly flashed back to Taylor's reputation hit "King of My Heart," which is also about Joe. In the track, she sings, "We met a few weeks ago / Now you try on callin' me 'baby' like tryin' on clothes."


Part of the high school love triangle trilogy on Folklore, Taylor said "Betty" was the result of her hearing Joe "singing the entire, fully formed chorus from another room." 

"I really liked that it seemed to be an apology," she continued. "And I've written so many songs from a female's perspective of wanting a male apology, that we decided to make it from a teenage boy's perspective, apologizing after he loses the love of his life because he's been foolish."

"Lavender Haze"

While Joe wasn't actively involved with the production on Midnights' opening track—Zoë Kravitz is credited as a co-songwriter though!—Taylor's desire to protect their relationship from the public was the inspiration for the song.

"If the world finds out that you're in love with somebody, they're going to weigh in on it," she explained on Instagram. "My relationship for six years, we've had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff—and we just ignore it. This song is sort of about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff."

The title comes from a phrase commonly used in the 1950s that Taylor first heard while watching Mad Men, sharing that it meant an "all-encompassing love glow."

"Champagne Problems"

Though the couple co-wrote the Evermore song about a failed engagement, Taylor shot down the speculation that it was about their relationship.

"I say it was a surprise that we started writing together, but in a way, it wasn't," she told Zane Lowe. "Because we have always bonded over music and had the same musical tastes, and he's always the person who's showing me songs by artists and then they become my favorite songs or whatever."

Taylor continued, "Joe and I really love sad songs. We've always bonded over music. So...we write the saddest [ones]. We just really love sad songs. What can I say?"

In addition to the title track and "Champagne Problems," Joe also co-wrote "Coney Island," a dark duet featuring The National frontman Matt Berninger,  on Evermore.


Described by Taylor as the most vulnerable song on Folklore, the ballad was the result of the superstar feeling "more rooted in my personal life" because of Joe, she told Paul McCartney in an interview for Rolling Stone.

"I think that in knowing him and being in the relationship I am in now," she said, "I have definitely made decisions that have made my life feel more like a real life and less like just a storyline to be commented on in tabloids."

"Sweet Nothing"

The only track Joe co-wrote on Midnights, this sweet love song opens with a pebble picked up from a beach in Wicklow, which is the county in Ireland where the actor filmed the Hulu series Conversations With Friends.

"You're Losing Me"

Taylor wrote the ballad "You're Losing Me" about a dying relationship on Dec. 5, 2021, according to collaborator Jack Antonoff. He revealed the "very special track from the midnights sessions" was "written and recorded at home" just weeks after she released Red (Taylor's Version) and the "All Too Well" short film.

Taylor waited over a year to release it, debuting it as a Midnights bonus song in May 2023 (one month after news broke of her split with Joe, leading fans to speculate it's about their breakup). 

"I can't find a pulse / My heart won't start anymore / For you / 'Cause you're losin' me," she sings. "How long could we be a sad song / 'Til we were too far gone to bring back to life? / I gave you all my best me's, my endless empathy."

The lyrics also hint at a rejected marriage proposal: "And I wouldn't marry me either / A pathological people pleaser / Who only wanted you to see her."

"London Boy"

Um, Joe is British. Enough said. 

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