While Taylor Swift may not have created the most intensive Easter egg process with the release of ‘Folklore’, connections can still be made between her eighth album and her personal life.
The fandom has exploded in a search for deeper meanings and references to the parts of her life that Swift tries to keep private. Here is a list of 10 of our favourite theories:
‘Betty’ has a lot to say
The LGBTQ+ community has a lot to say about ‘Betty’, the 14th track on the album, told from the perspective of someone named James. While some fans think Swift wrote the song from the perspective of a 17-year-old boy, some fans are not buying it. According to Vulture, “Taylor Alison Swift is named after one James Taylor. So when she’s singing as James, telling a story about James, she’s telling a story about herself.”
Swift broke up with Joe Alwyn
Many of the songs on ‘Folklore’ are sad. The sad songs often address themes that hint at a breakup or ended relationship. Thus, as Elle puts it, fans are panicking over the breakup songs on ‘Folklore’ because they associate the songs with Swift’s personal life, meaning she may have broken up with longtime boyfriend Joe Alwyn. Elle also interprets Swift’s follow-up statement, made after the album was released, in this context.
There are different photos on the eight versions of the album. What do their titles mean?
Swift plans to release eight different versions of digital albums and vinyls for ‘Folklore’. The eight different photos she uses all have titles from her songs or related to the photo they caption. ‘Betty’ strikes again in this roundup of theories from Elite Daily. Harry Styles also has some mentions by fans.
‘The Last Great American Dynasty’ and ‘Betty’ are connected
Add another point for ‘Betty’, but also beware of ‘The Last Great American Dynasty’. The latter is basically a history report on the previous owners of Swift’s Rhode Island mansion. Fans start speculating when they connect the name ‘Betty’ to the name of the wife in the song, Rebekah Harkness.
Fans are going off the rails about the elements of ‘cottagecore’ in ‘Folklore’. ‘Cottagecore’ is an aesthetic or style that emphasises the return to older times and traditions such as baking, pottery and foraging as ways of life. The internet has taken the concept and adopted its surface-level looks and whimsical atmosphere as evidenced in her album art and photos.
Swift revealed the name of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ third child
‘Betty’ seems to be dominating the fan theories, and with good reason. Pop Sugar has highlighted the idea shared by many fans that the song reveals the name of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ third daughter. According to the article, “Because the 30-year-old singer mentions the names of Blake and Ryan’s two older daughters, Inez and James, fans theorised that Betty, the only other name in the song, belongs to the youngest Reynolds girl.”
The Teenage Love Triangle
The teenage love triangle that Swift mentioned in the lyric videos for her new songs, which she announced in the YouTube comments on her official lyric videos for all 16 songs. has received a lot of fan analysis. The consensus is that it involves the three songs ‘Betty’, ‘Cardigan’ and ‘August’.
The cardigan Swift is wearing in the album photos belongs to Joe Alwyn?
Hopeless-romantic fans are musing that the ‘Cardigan’ of such high importance that it inspired a song belongs to Joe Alwyn. Apparently Swift is wearing said cardigan in the photos for her album.
The meaning of ‘Folklore’ and why Swift chose it for her album title
Refinery 29 explores this topic with a roundup. According to Refinery 29, ‘Folklore’ itself has two main meanings: one being the traditional customs preserved among a community, like stories, legends, songs, sayings, dances, and popular beliefs. The other meaning of folklore is a belief that’s been widely circulated and well-known without any supporting evidence.” Fans seem to believe Swift chose the title for reasons of her own, but both of those definitions can apply to her life.
Who is William Bowery?
Bowery is believed to be an alias for Alwyn, hinting at a future collaboration between him and Swift. This theory seems to be the one most fans want to prove. Swift and Alwyn’s relationship has always been so private, so the idea that she would hint at this is alluring. Bustle put together a great explainer post about this.