Taylor Swift’s ‘LOML’ Lyrics Offer a Devastating Look at Her Joe Alwyn Breakup

Taylor Swift’s ‘LOML’ Lyrics Offer a Devastating Look at Her Joe Alwyn Breakup

It turns out Taylor Swift’s fifth track of The Tortured Poets Department, “So Long, London,” isn’t the album’s most devastating breakup song. That slot is arguably reserved for track 12, “loml.”

Taylor's “loml” lyrics seem to capture her deep grief over the end of her six-year relationship with Joe Alwyn, along with his ultimate legacy as the “loss of my life.” The word “loss” replaces “love” in the original acronym loml (“love of my life”).

In the lyrics, Taylor alludes to feeling like her relationship was “counterfeit.” Her partner “shit-talked me under the table, talking rings and talking cradles. I wish I could un-recall how we almost had it all.” She ends the song sharing her disappointment over the person her partner ultimately was: “a coward [who] claimed he was a lion.”

There are a lot of brutal revelations in the 4-minute-and-37-second track. Here are the lyrics of “loml” broken down, with possible Joe references annotated.

Verse 1:
Who’s gonna stop us from waltzing back into rekindled flames
If we know the steps anyway?

News of Joe and Taylor's breakup broke on April 8, 2023. They had split a few weeks before.

On April 10, 2023, a source told People that Taylor and Joe's relationship was more on-off than people knew. “They’ve had rough patches before and always worked things out, so friends thought they would take some time apart [now] but eventually come back together. Ultimately [they] weren’t the right fit for one another.” Taylor's word choice of “rekindled flames” in her first lyric may allude to this.

We embroidered the memories of the times I was away
Stitching, “We were just kids, babe”
I said, “I don’t mind, it takes time”
I thought I was better safe than starry-eyed

Taylor and Joe started dating on Sept. 28, 2016. At that point, Taylor was only 26 years old, while Joe was 25.

I felt a glow like this, never before and never since
If you know it in one glimpse it’s legendary
You and I go from one kiss to getting married
Still alive, killing time at the cemetery
Never quite buried

Taylor and Joe didn’t actually get married, as Taylor's publicist Tree Paine made clear on X, formerly known as Twitter, in November. “There was NEVER a marriage or ceremony of ANY kind,” she wrote.

Multiple sources told People on April 10, 2023, that before their breakup, Taylor and Joe had been “talking about marriage as recently as a few months ago” though.

It is possible that Taylor could be referencing the media’s portrayal of them in the verse, too. Taylor and Joe were constant targets of secret engagement and marriage rumors because they kept their relationship so private.

Taylor spoke about that when discussing her relationship and how it inspired Midnights song, “Lavender Haze.” She said, “I happened upon the phrase ‘lavender haze’ when I was watching Mad Men. I looked it up because I thought it sounded cool. And it turns out that it’s a common phrase used in the ’50s where they would describe being in love. If you’re in the ‘lavender haze,’ then that meant you were in that all-encompassing love glow. And I thought that was really beautiful.”

“I guess, theoretically, when you’re in the ‘lavender haze,’ you’ll do anything to stay there,” she continued. “And not let people bring you down off of that cloud. I think that a lot of people have to deal with this now, not just like ‘public figures,’ because we live in the era of social media, and if the world finds out if you’re in love with somebody they’re going to weigh in on it. Like my relationship for six years we’ve had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it. So this song is about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff.”

Taylor, notably, uses the word “glow” to describe the love between her and her partner in the “loml” verse: “I felt a glow like this, never before and never since.”

In your suit and tie, in the nick of time
You low-down boy, you stand-up guy
Holy ghost, you told me I’m the love of your life
You said I’m the love of your life
About a million times

Verse 2:

Who’s gonna tell me the truth when you blew in with the winds of fate
And told me I reformed you?
When your impressionist paintings of heaven turned out to be fakes
Well, you took me to hell too
And all at once, the ink bleeds
A con man sells a fool a “get love quick” scheme
But I felt a hole like this, never before and never since


If you know it in one glimpse it’s legendary
What we thought was for all time was momentary

While dating Joe, Taylor wrote several love songs that suggested he was the one, from Lover’s “Paper Rings” and folklore’s “invisible string” to Midnights’ “Mastermind.” Taylor, in “invisible string,” sang about Joe being her destined endgame: “And isn’t it just so pretty to think / All along there was some / Invisible string / Tying you to me?”

She used words like “heaven” to describe the way she saw his love too in that same song: “Hell was the journey but it brought me heaven.”

Joe was Taylor's longest and most serious relationship. The couple never spoke about their relationship to the press, but look no further than their longevity and Taylor's past lyrics as evidence of the deep love they shared.

Still alive killing time at the cemetery
Never quite buried

You sent a file in black and white
All those plot twists and dynamite
Mr. Steal-Your-Girl, then make her cry
Said I’m the love of your life

The “never quite buried” lyric could refer again to how on-off their relationship was before their final breakup.

You shit-talked me under the table
Talking rings and talking cradles
I wish I could un-recall
How we almost had it all

This bridge contains some of the most brutal lyrics on the album. Taylor and Joe never got engaged, a sore point Taylor sang about in the bridge of Midnights bonus track, “You’re Losing Me”: “And I wouldn’t marry me either / A pathological people pleaser / Who only wanted you to see her.” She also sang in “So Long, London,” that “I’m pissed off you let me give you all that youth for free.”

While Joe and Taylor spoke in private about getting engaged, Joe played coy about it publicly. He told WSJ in April 2022, “If I had a pound for every time I think I’ve been told I’ve been engaged, then I’d have a lot of pound coins. I mean, the truth is, if the answer was yes, I wouldn’t say, and if the answer was no, I wouldn’t say.”

Dancing phantoms on the terrace
Are they second-hand embarrassed
That I can’t get out of bed
’Cause something counterfeit’s dead
It was legendary
It was momentary
It was unnecessary
Should’ve let it stay buried


Oh what a valiant roar, what a bland goodbye
A coward claimed he was a lion
I’m combing through the braids of lies
I’ll never leave, never mind
Our field of dreams engulfed in fire
Your arson’s match, your somber eyes
And I’ll still see it until I die
You’re the loss of my life

Neither Taylor nor Joe ever spoke about their breakup publicly.

Taylor suggests here she gave their relationship one last chance that she regretted. This last verse offers an intimate look at how disappointed she was at Joe, a sentiment all those sources close to Taylor and Joe never shared with tabloids.

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