While Taylor Swift may not have created the most intensive Easter egg process with the release of "Folklore," connections can still be made between her eighth album and her personal life. The fandom has exploded in a search for deeper meanings and references to the parts of her life that Swift tries to keep private.
Here is a list of 10 of our favorite theories:
10. 'Betty' is queer cannon
The LGBTQ+ community has a lot to say about “Betty,” the 14th track on the album, told from the perspective of someone named James. While some fans think Swift wrote the song from the perspective of a 17-year-old boy, queer fans are not buying it. According to Vulture, “Taylor Alison Swift is named after one James Taylor. So when she’s singing as James, telling a story about James, she’s telling a story about herself.”
UMMMM???? BETTY IS SO GAY????? IS ANYONE ELSE HEARING THIS?????? pic.twitter.com/HrSYYmVJfC
— nat (@sharpobjects) July 24, 2020
— milla🧚🏼♀️ (@c0rneIiastreet) July 24, 2020
9. Taylor broke up with Joe Alwyn
Many of the songs on “Folklore” are sad. The sad songs often address themes that hint at a breakup or ended relationship. Thus, as Elle puts it, fans are panicking over the breakup songs on “Folklore” because they associate the songs with Taylor’s personal life, meaning she may have broken up with longtime boyfriend Joe Alwyn. Elle also interprets Taylor’s follow-up statement, made after the album was released, in this context.
I’m sorry... I’m drunk but please please please someone please tell me that this album isn’t following a Taylor Swift Joe Alwyn breakup please GOD
— Jenna (@jennaherbs) July 24, 2020
Did Taylor and joe breakup!? I want to throwup
— 𝓜iranda (@GodsPrincess13_) July 24, 2020
8. There are different photos on the eight versions of the album. What do their titles mean?
Swift plans to release eight different versions of digital albums and vinyls for "Folklore." The eight different photos she uses all have titles from her songs or related to the photo they caption.
“Betty” strikes again in this roundup of theories from Elite Daily. Harry Styles also has some mentions by fans.
okay but hear me out:
betty — karlie elizabeth kloss — betty’s garden — i snuck in through the garden gate every night that summer just to seal my fate.
i rest my case. pic.twitter.com/vBBg2HcTTb
— n🌼 sipped away like a bottle of wine (@deepbluebut) July 23, 2020
— L Y C A 🇵🇭 (@FlyingPengWing) July 23, 2020
taylor swift announcing the release of a surprise album on the day of her ex boyfriend’s 10 year anniversary of his broken up band ❤️❤️❤️ ya
— 𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐞 (@talliesinyoung) July 23, 2020
7. 'The Last Great American Dynasty' and 'Betty' are connected
Add another point for “Betty,” but also beware of “The Last Great American Dynasty.” “The Last Great American Dynasty” is basically a history report on the previous owners of Taylor Swift’s Rhode Island mansion. Fans start speculating when they connect the name "Betty" to the name of the wife in the song, Rebekah Harkness.
🔎 | Various fans and critics have discovered that ‘the last great american dynasty’ is based on the love story between Rebekah Harkness and her husband William who were the previous owners of Taylor Swift’s Rhode Island home.
Rebekah’s nickname was also Betty. pic.twitter.com/IKlQkzakCO
— Taylor Swift News (@TSwiftNZ) July 24, 2020
Fans are going off the rails about the elements of "cottagecore" in "Folklore." "Cottagecore" is an aesthetic or style that emphasizes the return to older times and traditions such as baking, pottery and foraging as ways of life. The internet has taken the concept and adopted its surface-level looks and whimsical atmosphere as evidenced in her album art and photos.
taylor swift saving 2020 with an witchy cottagecore album after her successful lover album is truly an iconic move pic.twitter.com/td5J56MRit
— 𝚏𝚘𝚕𝚔𝚕𝚘𝚛𝚎 (@kniqhtley) July 23, 2020
Taylors album making me want to hold a coffee mug with two hands and cut bangs 😍 #Folklore
— JOHNNY SIBILLY (@JohnnySibilly) July 24, 2020
Taylor Swift found the cottagecore Pinterest boards I see
— Rose Dommu (@rosedommu) July 23, 2020
5. Swift revealed the name of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ third child
“Betty” seems to be dominating the fan theories, and with good reason. Pop Sugar has highlighted the idea shared by many fans that the song reveals the name of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ third daughter. According to the article, “Because the 30-year-old singer mentions the names of Blake and Ryan's two older daughters, Inez and James, fans theorized that Betty, the only other name in the song, belongs to the youngest Reynolds girl.”
4. The Teenage Love Triangle
The teenage love triangle that Swift mentioned in the lyric videos for her new songs, which she announced in the YouTube comments on her official lyric videos for all 16 songs. has received a lot of fan analysis. The consensus is that it involves the three songs “Betty,” “Cardigan" and “August.”
📲 YT | Taylor Swift on the #cardiganMusicVideo
“For example there’s a collection of 3 songs I refer to as the Teenage Love Triangle. These 3 signs explore a love triangle from all 3 people’s perspectives at different times in their lives” https://t.co/Aa9THWe9GD pic.twitter.com/10JVNYu70V
— Taylor Swift News (@TSwiftNZ) July 24, 2020
— cay🦝 (@BURNlNGTEARS) July 24, 2020
Cardigan - Betty's point of view
August - Inez' point of view
Betty - James' point of view
TS is a genius ❣ https://t.co/fewW3cmkxn
— Always, Gracey ❄ (@alwaysgracey) July 24, 2020
3. The cardigan Swift is wearing in the album photos belongs to Joe Alwyn
Hopeless-romantic fans are musing that the "Cardigan" of such high importance that it inspired a song belongs to Joe Alwyn. Apparently Taylor is wearing said cardigan in the photos for her album.
— V (@snakesnst0nes) July 23, 2020
2. The meaning of 'Folklore' and why Swift chose it for her album title
Refinery 29 explores this topic with a roundup. According to Refinery 29, "'Folklore' itself has two main meanings: one being the traditional customs preserved among a community, like stories, legends, songs, sayings, dances, and popular beliefs. The other meaning of folklore is a belief that's been widely circulated and well-known without any supporting evidence." Fans seem to believe Swift chose the title for reasons of her own, but both of those definitions can apply to her life.
#folklore and reputation both have lower case names, YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS
— 𝒻𝑜𝓁𝓀𝓁𝑜𝓇𝑒 🤍 (@AlexStarlight13) July 23, 2020
I don't know if it's possible for an album to be "introverted," but if it is, #Folklore is that. It's easily the most introspective and contemplative of Taylor's albums, which is saying something, because this is @taylorswift13 we're talking about.
— Lauren Huff (@_LaurenHuff) July 24, 2020
1. Who is William Bowery?
Bowery is believed to be an alias for Alwyn, hinting at a future collaboration between him and Swift. This theory seems to be the one most fans want to prove. Swift and Alwyn’s relationship has always been so private, so the idea that she would hint at this is alluring. Bustle put together a great explainer post about this.
WILLIAM BOWERY theory
on oct 2016, taylor (w her squad) & alwyn were spotted in BOWERY hotel. (smth special mustve happened here, that's why she used d name "BOWERY" i guess?)
WILLIAM alwyn is literally joe alwyns great-grandpa. he was was composer, conductor, and music teacher pic.twitter.com/pDOaBieGgL
— a folkWHORE (@taylowkey13) July 23, 2020