If you're Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, or, for that matter, Beyoncé Knowles, then your albums are essentially public riddles — messages for stans and the interested public to decode. And what fun! Harry Styles just announced on Twitter the track list for his upcoming solo debut album, which means we have a whole 10 songs to explore.
There are 10 tracks on the album, all with great names. We are here, however, to discuss one song in particular. This song is titled "Ever Since New York." Now, you or may not have noticed that this title bears some similarity to the song "Welcome to New York" from Taylor Swift's most recent album 1989. This two-word parallel has led some to believe that this song must be about Swift.
First, a little history. Swift, 27, dated Styles in 2012 for almost exactly one month. Records show that they dated — at least publicly — from December 2012 to January 2013, although rumours place the beginning of the relationship several months earlier. Albeit brief, the relationship left a lasting impression, probably because the two keep writing songs about each other and alluding to the fling in interviews. Swift's song "Out of the Woods" from the album 1989 is widely seen as a description of their romance. The evidence there isn't hard to deduce — Swift mentions "December," the month in which the relationship took place, and brings up "hitting the brakes too soon," which she herself admitted is about a snowmobile accident with an ex. (This accident, which somehow never made the tabloids, is also widely seen as part of the Styles-Swift narrative.) There's also talk of "necklaces" in the song, and the erstwhile couple once wore matching paper-airplane necklaces, as BuzzFeed helpfully pointed out at the time.
It's been over four years since the two dated, but the internet is still fascinated by memories of this pop power couple. Styles' most retweeted post in 2016 involves a line from Swift's song "22." ("I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22," he wrote simply.) Basically, any time either of them does anything, we've got to examine it for possible clues about the other.
This reaction has invited its own backlash. Other Twitter users recognise the absurdity of relating a 2017 single to a relationship from 2012. Some just seem be anti-Haylor overall — "Haylor" is the ungainly title the fandoms gave the couple.
Whether or not this song is about Taylor Swift, or Haylor, the idea that it might be is certainly driving interest. The song title is already a global trending topic on Twitter. Taylor Swift and Harry Styles may have failed to forge a lasting relationship, but they really know how to reap the artistic benefits of a breakup. And for that, we applaud them, those business-savvy fuckers.
Soon enough, we'll have the lyrics of the song itself, which will also be subject to scrutiny. Styles will perform "Ever Since New York" as well as the song "Angels" on Saturday Night Live this weekend.