Taylor Swift’s ‘All of the Girls You Loved Before’ seems to be a love letter to all of Joe Alwyn’s exes
Surprise! Ahead of her very, very, very sold-out Eras worldwide tour, which kicks off in Glendale, Arizona, this weekend, Taylor Swift has presented us with four previously unreleased songs from her discography. So while we’re sobbing at home on show night with only an old Swiftie merch tee to wipe away our tears because we couldn’t bag tickets, we at least have some new music to cry to.
Three of the four titles to have been released come from the singer’s re-recorded projects, meaning you can now happily listen to “Eyes Open”, “Safe and Sound”, and “If This Was A Movie” on Spotify in the knowledge that you’re not contributing to Scooter Braun’s bank account. But most of the attention is on “All of the Girls You Loved Before”, a track that was initially recorded for 2019’s Lover. It didn’t make the final cut on the album, however. The fact that the song was leaked a few weeks ago and subsequently did the rounds on Tiktok was probably not an insignificant factor in why Swift chose to release it now. You’ve got to love someone who takes control of their own destiny.
The song is Lover all over. It’s dreamy and ethereal pop gold, awash in soft synths and breezy lyrics about being in love. As with the title track of the record for which it was intended, all signs suggest the song is about Swift’s relationship with Joe Alwyn (her boyfriend of six years). “All of the Girls” is self-assured in a way that recalls Ariana Grande’s 2018 hit “Thank U, Next” – but while Grande took the opportunity to shout out her exes for making her the person she is, Swift is giving it up for the exes who made Alwyn who he is. “Starsâ all aligned, they intertwined/ And taught you the way you call me baby,” she sings. “Treatâmeâlikeâa lady, all thatâI can sayâis / All of the girls you’ve loved before (Oh) / Made you the one I’ve fallen for.” No jealous girlfriends here!
As ever, Swift has parcelled up some little details for her most fervent fans to unwrap. One lyric within the second verse, in which the singer recalls “crying in the bathroom for some dude whose name I cannot remember now”, has been linked to a similar moment in which Swift sings about “weeping in a party bathroom” during the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” (thought to be about her ex Jake Gyllenhaal. Elsewhere, Swift fans recognise the metaphor of “dead-end streets” that she uses here to represent past relationships from her 2012 song “Red”. Similarly, in the pre-chorus to “All of the Girls”, Swift sings: “Your past and mine are parallel lines/ Stars all aligned and they intertwine.” This somewhat echoes her Midnights song “Mastermind”, on which she sings: “Once upon a time/ The planets and the fates and/ all the stars aligned.”
Released on the eve of her Eras worldwide tour, “All of the Girls” brims with so much positivity that listening to it may ease the pain of not nabbing a ticket. Maybe.