Everyone Taylor Swift Has Written Songs About — And Which Song Is About Each

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Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift delighted fans with the surprise release of “Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor’s Version),” her second song “From the Vault” after “You All Over Me” was released in late March.

Swift announced the new/old tune on Twitter, explaining that it had been written in 2008 but she only recently felt compelled to release it.

The song's release prompted a response from Sophie Turner, now wife of Swift's ex Joe Jonas, who many believe the song is about.

In a post on her Instagram stories, Turner cheekily wrote about the song, "It's not NOT a bop."

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While the consensus seems to be that Swift is, indeed, most likely referring to her then-recent ex-boyfriend, Joe Jonas, others have also theorized that it might be about John Mayer or Jake Gyllenhaal.

One thing is for sure: Swift is known for writing songs inspired by people who have played a significant role in her life.

In honor of Taylor Swift’s new releases and the resurgence of public curiosity about her inspirations, we revisited the human subjects of Swift’s past songs, from A-listers to unknowns.

Complete (as we can tell) List of People Taylor Swift has Written Songs About

1. Singer Joe Jonas

Taylor Swift's songs about Joe Jonas: "Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor's Version)," “Forever and Always,” "You All Over Me," "Last Kiss," "Better Than Revenge," and "Holy Ground"

Judging by the timeline of the relationship, much of Swift’s 2008 album Fearless is likely based on her relationship with Jonas, and “Forever and Always” in particular infamously references Joe.

Her later songs “Last Kiss” and “Holy Ground” are also thought to be about the fellow singer.

2. Actor Taylor Lautner

Taylor Swift's song about Taylor Lautner: "Back to December"

Swift dated Lautner for a brief period in 2009, and apparently regretted the way she ended things with him, as the song “Back to December” was apparently inspired by their rough breakup.

It was the timeline and the song’s reference to “tan skin” and a “sweet smile” that initially led to suspicion, and in 2016 Lautner confirmed that he was the subject of the song.

3. Singer Stephen Barker Liles

Taylor Swift's song about Stephen Barker Liles: "Hey Stephen"

Swift wrote “Hey Stephen” after touring with the fellow musician in 2008, and apparently crushing on him.

Liles told Taste of Country in 2011 that Taylor’s song was “one of the nicest things anybody’s ever done for me.”

He returned the favor, releasing a song about Swift shortly afterward called “Try to Make It Anyway.”

4. Actor Cory Monteith

Taylor Swift's song about Cory Monteith: "Mine"

Swift and Monteith were briefly rumored to be dating in the spring of 2010.

Swift has said that the song “Mine” was written about a guy she barely dated but saw a future with, leading many to connect the song to Monteith.

5. One of high school boyfriends, Brandon Borello

Taylor Swift's song about Brandon Borello: "Our Song" and "Tim McGraw"

This early high school boyfriend of Swift’s is believed to be the subject of “Our Song” and “Tim McGraw,” which the singer said she wrote about a guy she was dating who moved away.

Borello is also likely referenced in “Fifteen.”

6. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal

Taylor Swift's songs about Jake Gyllenhaal: "Red," "We Are Never Getting Back Together," "The Last Time," State of Grace," "The Moment I Knew," and "All Too Well"

Swift and Gyllenhaal dated for several months between 2010 and 2011, and apparently, he didn’t have much time for her.

The last song most obviously refers to Jake, referencing a trip the couple took and a scarf Swift apparently left at the home of his sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal.

7. Singer Harry Styles

Taylor Swift's songs about Harry Styles: “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Out Of The Woods,” and “Style”

“I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Out Of The Woods,” and “Style” are all believed to be about Swift’s relationship with Styles from late 2012 to early 2013.

The singer appeared to admit that “I Knew You Were Trouble” was about Styles in a 2013 interview, when she said of her Brit Awards performance, “It’s not hard to access that emotion when the person the song is directed at is standing by the side of the stage watching.” Styles was confirmed to be in this position at the time.

The title of “Style” is believed to reference Styles’ name, and the music video features his look-alike.

“Out of the Woods” appears to mention a snowmobile accident that Styles and Swift were involved in during their relationship, and the paper airplane necklaces the two of them wore. The song also sparked a bizarre rumor that the former couple had committed vehicular manslaughter together.

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8. Conor Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Taylor Swift's song about Conor Kennedy: "Begin Again"

Taylor’s single “Begin Again” is thought to be about her brief connection to Conor Kennedy in 2012.

The singer, then 22, was infatuated with then-18-year-old Kennedy around the same time the song was written.

9. Singer and rapper Kanye West and Kim Kardashian

Taylor Swift's songs about Kanye West: "Innocent," "Look What You Made Me Do" and "Call It What You Want”

West is believed to have inspired the song “Innocent” when he interrupted Swift’s speech at the 2009 VMAs. The line “32 and still growin' up now” aligns with Kayne’s age at the time, and the song seems to simultaneously criticize and forgive his behavior.

“Look What You Made Me Do” also contains several references to Swift’s renewed feud with West after the older musician took digs at her in some of his own songs and music videos.

10. Tom Hiddleston

Taylor Swift's song about Tom Hiddleston: "Getaway Car"

In “Getaway Car,” Swift sings about a rebound relationship that ended badly. She dated Tom Hiddleston briefly in 2016, shortly after breaking up with Calvin Harris.


11. Singer Calvin Harris

Taylor Swift's song about Calvin Harrus: "Getaway Car"

Because of the timing, people believe this song could be about either or both Harris and Hiddleston.

12. Singer Adam Young

Taylor Swift's song about Adam Young: "Enchanted"

The Owl City frontman observed that Swift’s song “Enchanted” was inspired by communication that followed her first meeting with him.

“She made some comment that I used the word ‘enchanted’ and the word ‘wonderstruck’ in an email,” Young told US Weekly. “And she said how she had never heard anyone really use that word before. So when that word was in the song, I was like, ‘this song has to be about me.’”

13. Former crush, Andrew Hardwick

Taylor Swift's song about Andrew Hardwick: "Teardrops On My Guitar"

Taylor drops Hardwick’s nickname, “Drew,” in each verse of “Teardrops On My Guitar.”

He was an unrequited crush of hers back in 2006, and the lyrics of the song are apparently true to life. Unfortunately, Hardwick has since been arrested for child abuse.

14. Singer John Mayer

Taylor Swift's song about John Mayer: "Dear John"

Taylor Swift wrote the song “Dear John,” from her 2010 album Speak Now, about the older singer, who she dated briefly in 2009, when Mayer was 32 and she was just 19.

The lyric “don’t you think I was too young to be messed with?” references their vast age gap.

Mayer responded to the song in a Rolling Stone interview, telling reporters that he was “humiliated” by the song, and “I never did anything to deserve that.”

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15. Fourth grade crush, Cory Robertson

Taylor Swift's song about Cory Robertson: "Stay Beautiful"

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The “Cory” referenced in “Stay Beautiful” was Swift’s fourth-grade crush, as she revealed in a 2010 Target commercial.

“He liked the cool girl,” Taylor said of the young Robertson. “Little did he know I was writing songs about him after school, dreaming one day of becoming a country singer.”

16. High school boyfriend, Sam Armstrong

Taylor Swift's song about Sam Armstrong: "Should've Said No"

The lyrics to Taylor’s song “Should’ve Said No” contain a hidden message in their repeated capitalization of the letters “SAM,” apparently in reference to her high school boyfriend, Sam Armstrong, who allegedly cheated on her.

17. High school boyfriend, Jordan Alford

Taylor Swift's song about Jordan Alford: “Picture to Burn”

Alford was another of Swift’s high school boyfriends, and she reportedly wrote the angry ballad “Picture to Burn” about him after he left her for his current wife, Chelsea.

About finding out about the song’s inspiration, Chelsea said, “We just thought it was funny. [Jordan] was like, ‘I'm not a redneck! She makes me look like some redneck!’ but other than that we just thought it was kind of funny.”

18. Betty Reynolds, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' youngest daughter

Taylor Swift's song about Betty Reynolds: "Betty"

Taylor Swift confirmed rumors that her song "Betty" revealed the name of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' youngest daughter.

Taylor is close with the couple, and her song also names their two older children, James and Inez.

19. Current boyfriend, Joe Alwyn

Taylor Swift's song about Joe Alwyn: "Call It What You Want"

It is widely suspected that the song “Call It What You Want,” from Swift’s 2017 album Reputation, was written about her current boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, as well as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

Swift characterizes the “lover” figure in the song as her single refuge from a tumultuous world, and it was published while she and Alwyn were already together.

20. A neighboring couple

Taylor Swift's song about a neighboring couple: “Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)”

“Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)” was apparently inspired by the relationship of a married couple who once lived next door to Swift.

“They’d been married forever and they came over one night for dinner and were just so cute,” the singer said. “They were talking about how they fell in love and got married and how they met when they were just little kids... it was really comforting to know that all I had to do was go home and look next door to see a perfect example of forever.”

21. Best friend Abigail Anderson

Taylor Swift's song about Abigail Anderson: "Fifteen"

The song “Fifteen” is about Swift’s freshman year of high school, and the “Abigail” mentioned the song is her real-life best friend, Abigail Anderson.

The two remain close to this day, and Taylor was even a bridesmaid at Abigail’s wedding in 2017.

22. Another friend from high school

Taylor Swift's song about another friend from high school: "Tied Together With A Smile"

Taylor Swift told Entertainment Weekly in 2007 that her song “Tied Together With A Smile” was written about “one of my friends… a gorgeous, popular girl in high school.”

Swift also revealed that she “wrote that song the day I found out she had an eating disorder.”

23. Her mother, Andrea Swift

Taylor Swift's song about her mother: "The Best Day"

The lyrics to “The Best Day” make it perfectly clear who inspired this sweet song: Taylor’s mother, Andrea Swift. Her father and brother also make a cameo.

The song recalls Taylor’s childhood, and with lines like “I know you were on my side even when I was wrong / And I love you,” the singer celebrates the strong bond she shares with her mom.

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Allie McGlone is a writer who covers a variety of topics for YourTango, including pop culture and entertainment.