Taylor Swift's 'Red': Who is Each 'Treacherous, Sad, Beautiful, Tragic' Love Song About? (ANALYSIS)

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If you haven't had time to study the liner notes of Taylor Swift's new album, rest assured: Celebuzz has done it for you. As part of her long-standing tradition, Swift often places hidden messages in her album's liner notes -- and Red is no exception. Some are obvious, while others need a bit more investigating.

“This album is about the other kinds of love that I’ve recently fallen in and out of," Swift, 22, writes on the album. "Love that was treacherous, sad, beautiful, and tragic. But most of all, this record is about love that was red.”

Here are our best guesses as has as to who, exactly, Swift is singing about on each and every one of her new songs -- all 16 of them!

1. State Of Grace

Hidden message: LOVE DOESN'T COUNT AFTER GOODBYE

Who: Jake Gyllenhaal

Lyrical clues:  "Just twin fire signs, four blue eyes"

Both Gyllenhaal and Swift are blue-eyed Sagittariuses, which happens to be one of the three fire signs. Given the sweeping sound of "State of Grace," it sounds like the pair's short romance was anything but a meaningless fling.

2. Red

Hidden message: SAG

Who: Jake Gyllenhaal

Lyrical clues: "Passionate as sin, ended so suddenly... Like the colors in autumn"

Swift and her actor beau only dated briefly, from October 2010 (other wise known as autumn) to January 2011. The singer's hidden message, "SAG," could stand for Sagittarius or Screen Actors Guild -- both of which are good descriptors for Gyllenhaal.

3. Treacherous

Hidden message: WON'T STOP UNTIL IT'S OVER

Who: John Mayer

Lyrical clues: "Until the gravity’s too much/ And I’ll do anything you say/ If you say it with your hands"

Swift's hidden message could easily reference Mayer's harsh remarks toward "Dear John" and her songwriting choices in Rolling Stone. “It made me feel terrible,” he said. “Because I didn’t deserve it. I’m pretty good at taking accountability now, and I never did anything to deserve that. It was a really lousy thing for her to do.”

However, Swift's message to Mayer seems pretty clear: She won't stop writing until this heartache is over. Swift also references two of Mayer's tracks in "Treacherous": "Gravity" and "Your Body is a Wonderland", in which Mayer sings, "Your body is a wonderland/ I’ll use my hands."

4. I Knew You Were Trouble

Hidden message: WHEN YOU SAW ME DANCING

Who: Harry Styles

Lyrical clues: “A new notch in your belt is all I’ll ever be... And the saddest fear comes creeping in/That you never loved me or her or anyone or anything"

Back in April -- before Conor Kennedy -- Swift had a reported fling with One Direction's resident womanizer. Swift was allegedly heartbroken when she saw photographs of Styles, 18, and American model Emma Ostilly on a date in Auckland on April 20. Swift's reference to dancing could be a nod to her enthusiastic cheering during One Direction's performance during the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards back in March.

5. All Too Well

Hidden message: MAPLE LATTES

Who: Jake Gyllenhaal

Lyrical clues: "Left my scarf there at your sister's house... Oh your sweet disposition"

This one is just too easy. Not only does Swift's secret message point toward her and Gyllenhaal's favorite coffee date drink, but the song also mentions his older sister Maggie and their apple-picking adventures in upstate New York. Oh, and one of Gyllenhaal's favorite bands is Temper Trap (ahem, "Sweet Disposition").

6. 22

Hidden message: ASHLEY DIANNA CLAIRE SELENA

Who: Her BBFs: Ashley Avignone, Dianna Agron, Claire Callaway and Selena Gomez.

Swift's fun, flirty "22" is an ode to being young and a nod to her BFFs.

7. I Almost Do

Hidden message: WROTE THIS INSTEAD OF CALLING

Who: Owl City's Adam Young

Lyrical clue: "I bet this time of night you're still up"

On Swift's last album, Speak Now, she penned the track "Enchanted" for Young. Too shy to call her back, he crafted a response in the form of a cover of "Enchanted."

"Dearest Taylor," he wrote. "I’ll be the first to admit I’m a rather shy boy and since music is the most eloquent form of communication I can muster, I decided to record something for you... This is what I wanted so badly to tell you in person but could never quite put into words." However, Young says he never got a response from the country-pop singer.

So it makes perfect sense that she would follow that up with another song -- with the message, "Wrote this instead of calling." Also, Swift sings, "I bet this time of night you're still up," which could be a nod to Young's insomnia.

8. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Hidden message: WHEN I STOPPED CARING WHAT YOU THOUGHT

Who: Will Anderson

Lyrical clues: "And you, will hide away and find your piece of mind with some indie record that's much cooler than mine"

Swift dated the Parachute frontman -- an indie rock enthusiast with a wide array of Ray Ban glasses -- on-and-off in December 2011.

9. Stay Stay Stay

Hidden message: DAYDREAMING ABOUT REAL LOVE

Who: Conor Kennedy

Lyrical clues: "That’s when you came in wearing a football helmet"

Since Swift and Kennedy's relationship is so new, they may not have achieved “real love” yet, but Kennedy's good manners (he carries her groceries!) make it easy for her to daydream. “This morning I said we should talk about it/ Cause I read you should never leave a fight unresolved/ That’s when you came in wearing a football helmet.” Conor plays football at Deerfield Academy.

10. The Last Time

Hidden message: L.A. ON YOUR BREAK

Who: Jake Gyllenhaal

Lyrical clues: "And all the times I let you in/ Just for you to go again/ Disappear when you come back/ Everything is better"

It looks like Gyllenhaal and Swift had some kind of on-and-off-again crazy beautiful romance given the amount of tracks he inspired. With his filming schedule, Gyllenhaal could have easily met with Swift "in L.A. on his break," so the hidden message points toward the actor.

11. Holy Ground

Hidden message: WHEN YOU CAME TO THE SHOW IN S.D.

Who: Joe Jonas

Lyrical clues: "Well I guess we fell apart in the usual way/ And the story’s got dust on every page/ Sometimes I wonder how you think about it now/ And I see your face in every crowd"

The book is certainly closed when it comes to Swift's romance with Jonas. That relationship has already inspired three of Swift's hits -- "Forever and Always," "Last Kiss" and "Better Than Revenge." But "Holy Ground" represents a young woman finally at peace with her first love.

Back in 2008, Swift flew to New York to be with her JoBro while they filmed a segment for the Jonas Brothers' 3-D concert movie. "We had this big wide city all to ourselves," she sings, which could easily refer to her and Joe's time in the Big Apple together. Also, Swift's secret message is a reference to Joe being spotted at two of Swift's concert in L.A. and San Jose. Could the middle Jonas have snuck into her show in San Diego as well? All signs point to yes.

12. Sad Beautiful Tragic

Hidden message: WHILE YOU WERE ON A TRAIN

Who: John Mayer or Jake Gyllenhaal

Lyrical clues: "Good girls, hopeful they'll be and lonely will wait"

Only Mayer would travel by train. Isn't that what Shadow Days is all about? And Swift's reference to "good girls" could be a nod to Mayer's now-famous cover of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'." Also, "Sad Beautiful Tragic" pretty much sums up the entirety of Mayer and Swift's ill-fated romance.

However, "While you were on a train" could also refer to Gyllenhaal's film, Source Code, which he filmed while dating Swift. Perhaps "Sad Beautiful Tragic" was written as a culmination of Swift's past heartaches.

13. The Lucky One

Hidden message: WOULDN'T YOU LIKE TO KNOW

Who: Joni Mitchell

Lyrical clues: "It was a few years later, I showed up here/ And they still tell the legend of how you disappeared/ How you took the money and your dignity, and got the hell out"

Swift is set to play her idol, Joni Mitchell, in an upcoming, albeit top-secret, biopic (i.e. "Wouldn't you like to know). Mitchell retired from the spotlight years ago, choosing the "Rose Garden over Madison Square." Swift has not only called Mitchell one of her idols, but she's also one of her songwriting inspirations.

14. Everything Has Changed

Hidden message: HYANNIS PORT

Who: Conor Kennedy

Lyrical clues: "And all I've seen since 18 hours ago is green eyes and freckles and your smile in the back of my mind making me feel right"

This duet with Ed Sheeran is obviously about her current boyfriend Conor because the hidden message is “Hyannis Port.” Hyannis Port just so happens to be where the Kennedy Compound is located -- and where Swift just purchased a home. Sheeran and Swift sing, “I just wanna know you better,” on the chorus, and the singer-songwriter will definitely get to know her beau better when she moves in right across the street. Also, the song mentions green eyes, which wouldn't you know, is the same eye color of the young Kennedy.

15. Starlight

Hidden message: FOR ETHEL

Who: Ethel Kennedy

Oh boy. Now Swift has even penned a song for her beau's grandmother Ethel. "I met Bobby [Kennedy] on the boardwalk, summer of '45." The song, written from Ethel's perspective, is an ode to young love, dancing like "we're made of starlight," and having "10 kids" (Ethel and Bobby actually had 11 kids) and teaching them "how to dream." Adorable or creepy? We're not quite sure.

16. Begin Again

Hidden message: I WEAR HEELS NOW

Who: Will Anderson / Conor Kennedy

Lyrical clues: "I've been spending the last 8 months/ Thinking all love ever does/ Is break and burn and end"

The Parachute frontman -- you know, the indie rock enthusiast --wasn't Swift's tallest ex, so if we had to guess which former flame had an issue with Swift's height, we're going to say it was Anderson. That fling fizzled in January 2012, but things between Swift and Kennedy started heating up in August 2012 -- "eight months" after her last breakup. "And you throw your head back laughing/ Like a little kid," could be a reference to Kennedy's age. After all, he's three years her junior. Plus, it's seems only natural that Swift would conclude her album with a nod to her current love.

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Discuss

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  • Joy Owens
    Joy Owens

    WANGBT is about Jake, not Will. Jake and her made an attempt to reconcile, but it didn't work out, a relationship that was emotionally exhausting. The scarf in the video is probably the same scarf that she talks about in All Too Well.

  • Joy Owens
    Joy Owens

    No songs on Red are about Harry Styles. He is on the next album, I'll wager!

  • swiftmixer
    swiftmixer

    IKYWT IS NOT ABOUT HARRY JESUS CHRIST ITS ABOUT JOHN MAYER!!! TAYLOR DIDNT EVEN HANG OUT W HARRY UNTIL AFTERRRRRR RED WAS REALEASED WHICH WAS IN OCTOBER! THEY DID HANG OUT UNTIL FEBRUARY WHEN THEY WERE BOTH IN NEW YORK!!! GET UR FACTS RIGHT

  • Brittney LeClair
    Brittney LeClair

    All Too Well- Jake

  • ahannahh
    ahannahh

    ALSO, STAY STAY STAY IS DAY DREAMING ABOUT REAL LOVE!!!!!! IT'S NOT ABOUT ANYONE!!! THAT IS THE MOST OBVIOUS ONE!!!! ALSO I ALMOST DO IS NOT ABOUT ADAM YOUNG BECAUSE THEY NEVER PROPERLY DATED AND THAT SONG IS ABOUT AN ENDED RELATIONSHIP ISN'T THAT OBVIOUS?? AND WANEGBT IS ABOUT JAKE OBVIOUSLY!!!!!!!! THIS WHOLE ARTICLE IS ILL THOUGHT THROUGH I MUST SAY

  • ahannahh
    ahannahh

    IKYWT IS ABOUT JOHN MAYER 'CAUSE TAYLOR SAID IN AN INTERVIEW TREACHEROUS AND IKYWT ARE ABOUT THE SAME PERSON, AND SHE WROTE IT BEFORE SHE WAS PROPERLY DATING HARRY, AND THE TSHIRT AND NECKLACE IN THE VIDEO SHE WORE BACK WHEN SHE WAS DATING JOHN

  • Swayer
    Swayer

    Girl At Home = Definitely JOHN MAYER

  • online business
    online business

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  • Anon
    Anon

    Treacherous= Harry or Jake. She referenced the song sweet disposition ALSO in the song all too well, which is definitely about jake. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together=Jake Starlight=Ethel Kennedy Everything Has Changed=Conor Kennedy The Last Time=Jake I Knew You Were Trouble = no one knows for sure, probably jake (maybe john mayer or harry styles) The Moment I Knew = DEFINITELY jake

  • Niki
    Niki

    anyone got anything on THE MOMENT I KNEW or GIRL AT HOME?? dying to know!!

  • Niki
    Niki

    definitely agree on WE ARE NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER. the video makes it pretty obvious. JAKE all the way. and wasn't there something about how he flew her on a private jet for a date?? he was prolly TROUBLE too.

  • Stephanie
    Stephanie

    SOME OF THESE ARE WRONG!!! WE ARE NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER is about JAKE, not Will. You guys said she had an on again, off again thing with JAKE, SO WHY DID YOU SAY IT WAS SOMEONE ELSE??? DUH. The video has TONS OF CLUES, and she basically said it was about Jake, during her interview with Kaite Curic. I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE - JOHN MAYER "never loved me or her or anyone or anything," in their song "Half of My Heart" he says "Half of my heart is the part of a man who's never truly loved anything." or JAKE- hew 'flew hew to places' he was filming, London, etc. I think it was in the fall/November when that happened. BEGIN AGAIN- WILL ANDERSON (not Conor) They went on a coffee date 8 MONTHS AFTER Jake. She wasnt with Conor till a year after Jake. Will loves Christmas, they were together near Christmas, and he loves James Taylor.

  • Monica
    Monica

    I love the poetic justice, she is brilliant! Go Taylor!

  • Sarah
    Sarah

    Interesting insight. But unfortunately Taylor has stated in interviews that while picking the tracklist order for the album she had some difficulty except for the first and last tracks because she wanted to bookend the album with two songs about the same relationship. So, if logic follows, Jake Gyllenhaal also inspired "Begin Again" since "State of Grace" is certainly about Jake. Maybe her line "like a little kid" alludes to the fact that Jake is significantly older than her, so him laughing makes him look younger than he is. Commenting how young someone looks when they're already young is sort of redundant and not like Taylor.

  • Krystine
    Krystine

    Obviously you cared enough to waste your time commenting about it. Ding bat. Love Taylor :)

  • who cares?
    who cares?

    Who really cares about these "secret" messages? I thought it was pretty much a given she's dated every guy in Hollywood and then some. I mean, she writes cheesy pop songs about love, not the Da Vinci Code.

  • Ing
    Ing

    Some have said that Treacherous is about Harry Styles as well, mostly for the secret message being "Won't Stop Till It's Over" which is the line in Sweet Disposition right before "Won't Stop Till We Surrender" which is tattooed on Harry's arm, since it is one of his favorite songs. Also because she knew he was trouble and falling for him was "treacherous". The song being about falling for them, and not being bitter also makes me think its about someone newer since she was done with John already before Speak Now came out...But who knows.

  • Crystal Bell
    Crystal Bell

    Oh, Source Code! Didn't think of that one. Good catch!

  • Caroline
    Caroline

    Sad Beautiful Tragic is about Gyllenhall. While you were on a train = Source Code movie. His daemons that all look alike = blonde girlfriends: Dunst, Witherspoon, Swift.