Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is known for giving her fans creative ways to connect the stories told in her songs. She did this back when they were all autobiographical and has continued through her 2020 releases. Here’s why one Evermore track might be linked to one from Red, about her ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal.
Taylor Swift released her ninth studio album, ‘Evermore’
Following the release of her July 2020 surprise album, Folklore, Swift did something she’s never done before: She wrote it a companion album. “In the past I’ve always treated albums as one-off eras and moved onto planning the next one after an album was released,” she wrote. “I loved the escapism I found in these imaginary/not imaginary tales.”
Evermore debuted on December 11, 2020, two days before Swift’s birthday. “I wanted to surprise you with this the week of my 31st birthday,” she wrote to her fans. “You’ve all been so caring, supportive and thoughtful on my birthdays and so this time I wanted to give you something!”
She recorded the album while re-recording old records
Did Taylor Swift Just Reveal ‘You Belong With Me’ Is Her Next Re-Recorded Song Headed for Release?
In November 2020, Swift told fans that she had begun re-recording her first five albums. A snippet of one old hit, “Love Story,” was featured in a Match.com ad written by her friend, Ryan Reynolds. So a brand new album was the last thing anyone thought she was working on — until she announced Evermore.
Swift began working on Evermore right after finishing Folklore but continued as she started her re-recording. “There would be days where I would be recording ‘You Belong With Me,’ and then I’d be recording a song like ‘Happiness’ which is on Evermore,” she told Zane Lowe for Apple Music.
‘Happiness’ was the last song she wrote on ‘Evermore’
Speaking of “Happiness,” this was among the last songs written for Evermore, completed just a week before the album’s release. Swift described the various meanings of the track, including how it sums up how she has “no idea what comes after this,” adding, “it does feel like this is it for a bit.”
In “Happiness,” Swift sings about learning to say goodbye to a relationship. In the second two post-choruses, she sings, “Across our great divide/There is a glorious sunrise/Dappled with the flickers of light/From the dress I wore at midnight.” Many found connections between the song and the book The Great Gatsby.
Here’s why it may be about Jake Gyllenhaal
Swift said the stories in Evermore are primarily fictional. But the themes of “Happiness” is similar to that of her 2012 album Red. “It’s all the different ways that you have to say goodbye to someone,” she told Billboard. “When you’re experiencing the ups and downs of a relationship, especially when you’re 22 years old, they all strike you different ways.”
For Rolling Stone’s Music Now podcast, Rob Sheffield connected “Happiness” to a Red track via the “party dress.” “I think it’s the dress that she was wearing in ‘The Moment I Knew,’” he explained. “That’s a song about her 21st birthday and getting stood up at her 21st birthday party at midnight. And realizing that he’s not gonna show.”
The “he” in question at the time was Gyllenhaal. While Swift may or may not be reflecting on her relationship with the actor, there’s another reason it lines up nicely: The date. “It’s funny that she timed [Evermore] very much to go with her 31st birthday,” noted Sheffield.