UMass Lowell Connector Logo

Exploring Taylor Swift’s alcohol lyrics

(Photo courtesy of: Teen Vogue) “Taylor Swift performs ‘Champagne Problems’ during an Eras Tour show.”

Tyler Browne
Connector Editor

Throughout her long and storied career, Taylor Swift has established several lyrical motifs in her songs. However, it can be argued that none is more prevalent than references to alcoholic beverages.

Swift’s lyrical fascination with alcohol began on 2017’s “Reputation”, which has led many fans to believe that the alcohol motif serves as a sort of metaphor for Joe Alwyn, who Swift dated between 2016 and 2023.

On “…Ready for It”, Swift references the island breeze cocktail multiple times, and on “End Game”, she describes Alwyn as having “eyes like liquor.”

The chorus of “Delicate” revolves around the premise of Alwyn making a drink for Swift during their first meeting, and “Gorgeous” includes a reference to whiskey on ice. “King of My Heart” references beer, while “So It Goes…” alludes to meeting with a lover in a bar.

Swift’s next album, 2019’s “Lover”, continues with the alcohol motif. The bridge of “Cruel Summer” includes the line, “I’m drunk in the back of the car,” while “Cornelia Street” references being “drunk on something stronger than the drinks in the bar.”

In the summer of 2020, Swift released “Folklore”. In the lead single, “Cardigan”, Swift references kissing in cars and downtown bars, while “The Last Great American Dynasty” includes a reference to a pool filled with champagne.

On “August”, Swift laments that “August slipped away, like a bottle of wine,” while “Invisible String” references a dive bar.

“Mirrorball” features a reference to drunkenness, while “The 1” references rosé.

2020’s “Evermore” has an entire song titled “Champagne Problems”. In the song, Swift tells a fictional story of a relationship that falls apart after a rejected proposal, using champagne as a metaphor for the narrator’s struggles with mental health issues. The song has become a fan-favorite, often leading to extended standing ovations after performances on Swift’s 2023 tour.

Another “Evermore” track, “No Body, No Crime”, tells a murder mystery story, featuring a reference to meeting a friend for “dinner and a glass of wine,” while “Willow” includes a reference to being “lost in your current like a priceless wine.”

On “Closure”, there is a reference to beer.

While “Tolerate It” doesn’t feature any mentions of alcoholic beverages, Eras Tour performances saw Swift perform the song with a bottle of wine used as a prop.

In 2022, Swift released “Midnights”. Unlike her previous two releases, “Midnights” returned Swift to writing songs about herself, rather than about fictional situations. During the recording process, the relationship between Swift and Alwyn began to fracture, leading to an incredibly personal album.

The chorus of “Maroon” revolves around the color of a stain of wine on Swift’s shirt, while the first verse mentions getting drunk on cheap rosé. “Question…?” includes a line about having “one drink after another.”

The standard album closer, “Mastermind”, sees Swift describing herself as “the wind in our free-flowing sails, the liquor in our cocktails,” in reference to the way that she plotted her relationship with Alwyn.

“Paris”, from the album’s deluxe edition, features references to meeting someone at a club and pretending that cheap wine is champagne.

“High Infidelity”, which is about the first time Swift and Alwyn met, refers to slurred speech, while “Dear Reader” sees Swift with “my fourth drink in my hand.”

“Hits Different” is about a low point in the breakup of Swift and Alwyn. On a night out with friends in Ireland, Swift gets drunk and imagines her lover with another girl before throwing up on the street, an event that was infamously confirmed by a graffiti artist in Dublin.

These lyrics cover a six-year span and five separate albums. During this time, Swift uses alcohol as a metaphor for her relationship with Alwyn, while also concocting fictional scenarios at times. With the relationship between Swift and Alwyn firmly in the past, it is anyone’s guess if the references to alcoholic beverages will continue on her next album.

Related posts