Are Taylor Swift’s ‘Glitch’ Lyrics About Joe Alwyn?


Taylor Swift didn’t go without devoting one of her bonus “3 A.M. Edition” tracks off Midnights to her partner of six years, Joe Alwyn. The singer seemingly explored her own surprise that their relationship became the great love story it has in “Glitch.” Swift and Alwyn started dating in fall 2016, the summer after she was “canceled” by the Kim Kardashian-Kanye West Snapchat scandal.

As Genius users pointed out, Swift dropped the exact amount of time she and Alwyn have been dating in the line, “I was supposed to sweat you out / In search of glorious happenings of happenstance on someone else’s playground / But it’s been 2,190 days of our love blackout.” For those keeping count, 2,190 days is equivalent to six years—the amount of time they’ve been together.

The lyrics paint an intimate picture of the beginning of their romance, and how Swift viewed love while entering her relationship with the British actor. Here, take in the lyrics with some contextual annotations. Listen to the song below, too.

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We were supposed to be just friends
You don’t live in my part of town but maybe I’ll see you out some weekend
Depending on what kind of mood and situation-ship I’m in
And what’s in my system

Swift and Alwyn started dating when the singer was in New York City. She sang in the Reputation track “Delicate” about traveling to see him in the city (“Dive bar on the East Side, where you at? / Phone lights up my nightstand in the black / Come here; you can meet me in the back”). Swift has a TriBeCa apartment in the city and rented a Cornelia Street townhouse in Greenwich Village while her apartment was being renovated the summer she met Alwyn. Swift is rumored to have sung about the beginning of their love story in the Lover track “Cornelia Street,” addressing the relationship’s longevity toward the end (“You hold my hand on the street / Walk me back to that apartment
Years ago, we were just inside / Barefoot in the kitchen / Sacred new beginnings / That became my religion, listen / I hope I never lose you / I’d never walk Cornelia Street again.”) However, the subject of that particular song is up for debate.

As far as Swift’s “what kind of mood and situation-ship I’m in” line, the singer had just ended her relationship with Calvin Harris when she met Alwyn during the 2016 Met Gala. She went on to have a high-profile romance with Tom Hiddleston that summer before they broke up. She suggested in her Midnights track “Mastermind” that she always had her eye on Alwyn though, and wanted to date him right when she met him.

I think there’s been a glitch, ah-yeah
Five seconds later I’m fastening myself to you with a stitch, ah-yeah
And I’m not even sorry
Nights are so starry
Blood moonlit
It must be counterfeit
I think there’s been a glitch, ah-yeah

I was supposed to sweat you out
In search of glorious happenings of happenstance on someone else’s playground
But it’s been 2,190 days of our love blackout
(Our love is blacking out)
The system’s breaking down
(The system’s breaking down)

Swift and Alwyn have dated each other for over 2,190 days, a.k.a. six years. They decided early on to keep their relationship private (“love blackout”), and it was months before the fact that they were dating was reported publicly in May 2017. Swift explained her decision to keep their relationship private to The Guardian in August 2019.

“I’ve learned that if I do [talk about my relationship with Alwyn in interviews], people think it’s up for discussion, and our relationship isn’t up for discussion,” Swift said with a laugh. “If you and I were having a glass of wine right now, we’d be talking about it—but it’s just that it goes out into the world. That’s where the boundary is, and that’s where my life has become manageable. I really want to keep it feeling manageable.”

Swift’s romance with Alwyn has been her most private ever, with details about him only really emerging via song.

I think there’s been a glitch, ah-yeah
Five seconds later I’m fastening myself to you with a stitch, ah-yeah
And I’m not even sorry
Nights are so starry
Blood moonlit
It must be counterfeit
I think there’s been a glitch, ah-yeah

A brief interruption
A slight malfunction
I’d go back to wanting
Dudes who give nothing
I thought we had no chance
And that’s romance
Let’s dance

Swift’s line about “dudes who give nothing” may be a jab at her exes, particularly Calvin Harris, her last serious boyfriend before Alwyn. When they broke up, a source told E! that Swift didn’t feel Harris was supportive enough of her. “[She] was really disappointed in Calvin and felt like he wasn’t there for her,” the source said in June 2016. “The relationship wasn’t progressing the way she wanted it to. She felt like he wasn’t taking it seriously enough and wouldn’t come through for her when she needed him most.”

Glitch, ah-yeah
Five seconds later I’m fastening myself to you with a stitch, ah-yeah
And I’m not even sorry
Nights are so starry
Blood moonlit
It must be counterfeit
I think there’s been a glitch