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Taylor Swift’s ‘So Long, London’ Lyrics Are Her Heartbreaking Goodbye to Joe Alwyn



If there is any song on The Tortured Poets Department’s track list that seems to literally have Taylor Swift’s ex Joe Alwyn’s name on it, it’s “So Long, London.” Lyrically, the song matches up, explaining why Swift stopped fighting for their relationship.

The Tortured Poets Department by Taylor Swift

The Tortured Poets Department by Taylor Swift

Alwyn grew up in London, and he and Swift spent a lot of time in the city together while they were dating. She even reportedly bought a house there after their breakup. Additionally, Swift used “London” to refer to Alwyn before in her music, writing her Lover song “London Boy” about him.

In “So Long, London,” Swift reveals far more about her heartbreak than she has in any interview. Here, the lyrics annotated with any Alwyn references. This, of course, wasn’t Swift’s only breakup song seemingly about Alwyn: “loml” is also devastating.

Verse 1:
I saw in my mind ferry lights through the mist
I kept calm and carried the weight of the rift
Pulled him in tighter each time he was drifting away
My spine split from carrying us up the hill
Wet through my clothes, weary bones caught the chill
I stopped trying to make him laugh, stopped trying to drill the safe

Swift sang about their decaying relationship in “You’re Losing Me”. She began the song by saying, “You say, ‘I don’t understand’ and I say, ‘I know you don’t’ / We thought a cure would come through in time, now, I fear it won’t / Remember lookin’ at this room, we loved it ’cause of the light / Now, I just sit in the dark and wonder if it’s time.” Her first verse of “So Long, London,” continues this story, capturing her feelings as she realized they wouldn’t make it. Timeline-wise, Jack Antonoff revealed Swift wrote “You’re Losing Me” on Dec. 5, 2021. Swift shared that she began writing The Tortured Poets Department in February 2022. She and Alwyn broke up in March 2023, with news of their split breaking to media outlets on April 8, 2023.

Thinking how much sad did you think I had, did you think I had in me?
Oh, the tragedy
So long, London
You’ll find someone

Swift sings in the bridge of “You’re Losing Me” about how much sadness they had too: “How long could we be a sad song / ’Til we were too far gone to bring back to life?”

Fans noted that Swift and Alwyn had co-written “sad” songs on evermore and folklore. Their evermore track “champagne problems” was even about a woman rejecting a proposal. In one verse they addressed why the woman said no. Swift sang: “I never was ready so I watch you go / Sometimes you just don’t know the answer / ’Til someone’s on their knees and asks you / “She would’ve made such a lovely bride / What a shame she’s fucked in the head,” they said / But you’ll find the real thing instead / She’ll patch up your tapestry that I shred.”

While the lyrics were fictional, Swift and Alwyn chose an interesting story to tell given the constant tabloid marriage rumors about them. Swift would later sing about her heartbreak over Alwyn’s not proposing in “You’re Losing Me” and “loml.”

Verse 2:
I didn’t opt in to be your odd man out
I founded the club she’s heard great things about
I left all I knew you left me at the house by the Heath
I stopped CPR, after all, it’s no use
The spirit was gone we would never come to

Before dating Alwyn, Swift was largely U.S.-based. While with him, Swift built more of a life in England with Alwyn’s family and friends. Swift even sang about that in “London Boy” verses, “Took me back to Highgate, met all of his best mates” and “You can find me in the pub, we are watching rugby with his school friends.” She was photographed with Alwyn and his mother in London in January 2021, too. “By the Heath” may refer to the park Hampstead Heath. Swift and Alwyn spent time in the London neighborhood Hampstead while dating.

Swift’s reference to stopping CPR plays off of the chorus in “You’re Losing Me”: “I can’t find a pulse / My heart won’t start anymore for you.”

And I’m pissed off you let me give you all that youth for free


For so long, London
Stitches undone
Two graves, one gun
I’ll find someone

Swift and Alwyn dated for six years. A source told Entertainment Tonight on April 11, 2023 that Swift initiated the conversation to break up in March 2023, although the decision was mutual. “Taylor and Joe are in totally different places in their lives right now,” the source said. “It was more of Taylor’s decision to break up, but both of them realized that they weren’t completely right for one another. They had been together for such a long time and were spending so much time together, but their personalities were just too different. Joe is more introverted, shy, and quiet.”

Verse 3:
And you say I abandoned the ship, but I was going down with it
My white knuckle dying grip holding tight to your quiet resentment
And my friends said it isn’t right to be scared
Everyday old love affair, every breath feels like rarest air
When you’re not sure if he wants to be there

Swift sang in the bridge “You’re Losing Me” about how much she was fighting for their relationship, calling herself a frontline soldier: “I gave you all my best me’s, my endless empathy / And all I did was bleed as I tried to be the bravest soldier / Fighting in only your army, frontlines, don’t you ignore me.” She also pled with him to “‘Do something, babe, say something’ (Say something) / ‘Lose something, babe, risk something’ (You’re losing me) / ‘Choose something, babe, I got nothing (I got nothing) / To believe, unless you’re choosing me.’”

Alwyn also had trouble with Swift’s fame. The couple was rarely photographed out while dating.

Swift spoke in her December Time interview about how she feels about that type of secrecy. “When you say a relationship is public, that means I’m going to see him do what he loves, we’re showing up for each other, other people are there and we don’t care,” she said, referencing her relationship with Travis Kelce. “The opposite of that is you have to go to an extreme amount of effort to make sure no one knows that you’re seeing someone. And we’re just proud of each other.”

So how much sad did you think I had, did you think I had in me?
How much tragedy?
Just how low did you think I’d go ‘fore I’d self implode?
‘Fore I’d have to go be free?
You swore that you loved me, but where were the clues?
I died on the altar waiting for the proof
You sacrificed us to the gods of your bluest days

Swift has previously compared Alwyn to the color blue in her music. In Lover’s “Cruel Summer,” she sings a bit about the feeling he gave her “killing me slow, out the window / I’m always waiting for you to be waiting below / Devils roll the dice, angels roll their eyes / What doesn’t kill me makes me want you more / And it’s new, the shape of your body / It’s blue, the feeling I’ve got / And it’s ooh, whoa, oh / It’s a cruel summer.”

Swift’s dying “on the altar” seems like a response to the bridge of “You’re Losing Me” where she was waiting for Alwyn to do something to fight for their relationship.

And I’m just getting color back into my face
I’m just mad as hell ’cause I loved this place for


So long, London
Had a good run
A moment of warm sun
But I’m not the one
So long, London
Stitches undone
Two graves, one gun
You’ll find someone.

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