Swift, 33, dropped her much anticipated 1989 (Taylor’s Version) on Friday, October 27 — the fourth of her six planned re-recordings. In addition to all 19 original tracks, the album features five extra never-before-heard songs “from the vault” — including a few that fans think could hint at her split from Styles, 29, whom she dated prior 1989’s initial 2014 release.
In “Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Verison),” a synthy pop ballad, Swift appears to be singing about the difficulty of moving on from a past relationship when both people are living in the public eye.
“And did you think I didn’t see you? / There were flashin’ lights,” Swift sings, seemingly about her ex being photographed with a new partner. “At least I had the decency / To keep my nights out of sight / Only rumors ’bout my hips and thighs /And my whispered sighs,” she adds.
Swift goes on to call the former flame a “lying traitor” before accusing them of searching in “every model’s bed for something greater.” (Styles was linked to Kendall Jenner from 2013 to 2014.) Elsewhere in the song, Swift calls the ex’s “new girl” her “clone” and makes quips about their mutual inability to let the romance go.
“Let’s fast forward to three hundred awkward blind dates later,” she croons. “If she’s got blue eyes, I surmise that you’ll probably date her.”
Swift’s biggest tease that the song could be about Styles, however, comes in the second verse, where she paints a picture of past memories. “When you lost control / Red blood, white snow,” she recalls. The images seem to parallel “Out of the Woods” off of 1989’s original tracklist, in which Swift recounts the ordeal, singing, “Remember when you hit the brakes too soon/Twenty stitches in a hospital room/When you started crying, Baby, I did too.”
Swift revealed in a 2014 Rolling Stone interview that she and an ex were once involved in a snowmobile accident. “You know what I’ve found works even better than an NDA?” she told the outlet. “Looking someone in the eye and saying, ‘Please don’t tell anyone about this.” Styles, meanwhile, was photographed with a bandage on his chin just days after the incident took place.
Also in the second verse, Swift remembers a “blue dress on a boat.” In 2013, Swift and Styles reportedly called it quits during a getaway to the Virgin Islands. “They had a fight,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly at the time, adding that Styles “said something he shouldn’t have.” At the time, Swift was photographed leaving the vacation on a boat while looking forlorn and donning a now-famous royal blue dress.
Swift and Styles were first linked in late 2012 before their split in January 2013. While their whirlwind romance appeared brief, 1989 — which was released in October 2014 and marked Swift’s official transition into the pop world — is believed by fans to be largely inspired by her relationship with Styles, with tracks like “Out of the Woods,” “Style” and more.
Swift has never officially confirmed any of her music is about the former One Direction singer — as she famously doesn’t “name names” when it comes to her songwriting — but she has heavily teased the idea. After 1989 hit shelves, she told Rolling Stone that “Style” should have been titled, “I’m Not Even Sorry.’” In December 2014, she opened up about her inspiration behind the track during an appearance on The Morning Show.
“‘Style’ is actually bout those relationships that are never really done,” she quipped of the tongue-in-cheek track. “You always kind of have that one person who you feel like might interrupt your wedding and be like, ‘Don’t do it, we’re not over yet.’ I think everybody has that one person who kind of floats in and out of their life and the narrative is never truly over.”
Styles, for his part, shared his thoughts on potentially being the subject of Swift’s songs during a 2014 interview with Google Hangout. “We always say that we write from personal experience, and I think everyone does. So, it would be hypocritical to say ‘Oh, you can’t write songs.’ And she’s really good, so, they’re good songs,” he said of the 12-time Grammy winner. “I’m really lucky in that sense.”
While speaking to Rolling Stone in 2017, he expanded on his thoughts further, telling the outlet, “I’m lucky if everything [we went through] helped create those songs. That’s what hits your heart. That’s the stuff that’s hardest to say, and it’s the stuff I talk least about. That’s the part that’s about the two people.”
Swift and Styles have seemingly remained on good terms since their split — often seen chatting it up at awards shows over the years — and have both gone on to date other A-list stars. Swift was linked to Tom Hiddleston, Calvin Harris and Joe Alwyn before moving on with Travis Kelce earlier this year. Styles, meanwhile, split from Olivia Wilde in November 2022 after nearly two years of dating. In June, he sparked romance rumors with Taylor Russell after the twosome were spotted together in London.