Taylor Swift’s ‘Guilty as Sin?’ Is Full of Matty Healy References

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Taylor Swift’s romance with The 1975 frontman Matty Healy might have been brief, but it’s referenced all over her new album, The Tortured Poets Department. In the title track, she likens him to a “tattooed golden retriever,” while in “But Daddy, I Love Him,” she defends their unexpected relationship from judgmental fans. And in “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived,” well, we’ll let the title speak for itself.

Then there’s “Guilty as Sin?” which seems to have Healy’s name written all over it, too. The song even begins with a reference to the singer: “Drownin’ in the Blue Nile / He sent me ‘Downtown Lights’ / I hadn’t heard it in a while.” Swift sings about the ’80s Scottish band The Blue Nile and their song “Downtown Lights.” Healy is a known fan. “The Blue Nile are my favorite band of all time. They’re fucking amazing. Musically, they’ve inspired me so much,” Healy told Vulture in 2016. You can hear the influences in The 1975’s music, especially in their earlier albums.

Swift also seems to reference how she went from her six-year relationship with Joe Alwyn into her summer fling with Healy. “My boredom’s bone deep / This cage was once just fine / Am I allowed to cry? / I dream of crackin’ locks.” She compares coming out of that relationship to getting released from prison in the song, “Fresh Out the Slammer.” In her 2023 Time interview, she also shared what it was like stepping back into the public eye, after being so private with Alwyn. “Me locking myself away in my house for a lot of years—I’ll never get that time back. I’m more trusting now than I was six years ago,” she said.

That said, Swift is still aware of how the public would perceive her relationship with Healy, who had a problematic reputation. She sings lines like, “Throwin’ my life to the wolves or the ocean rocks,” and “Am I bad or mad or wise?” and “They’re gonna crucify me anyway.” And yet, with all of that considered, she doubles down on her feelings for him. “They don’t know how you’ve haunted me so stunningly / I choose you and me religiously,” she says in the bridge.

She also reminds us of her and Healy’s on-off history with the lyric “I’m slippin’, fallin’ back into the hedge maze.” They were romantically linked as early as 2014. It was reportedly their mutual friend, producer Jack Antonoff, who “reconnected them.”

Listen to “Guilty as Sin?” and read the full lyrics below, courtesy of Genius.

Drownin’ in the Blue Nile
He sent me “Downtown Lights”
I hadn’t heard it in a while
My boredom’s bone deep
This cage was once just fine
Am I allowed to cry?
I dream of crackin’ locks
Throwin’ my life to the wolves or the ocean rocks
Crashin’ into him tonight, he’s a paradox
I’m seeing visions
Am I bad or mad or wise?

What if he’s written “Mine” on my upper thigh only in my mind?
I’m slippin’, fallin’ back into the hedge maze
Oh, what a way to die
I keep recalling things we never did
Messy top lip kiss, how I long for our trysts
Without ever touchin’ his skin
How can I be guilty as sin?

I keep these longings locked
In lowеrcase inside a vault
Someone told me, “There’s no such thing as bad thoughts
Only your actions talk”
These fatal fantasies
Giving way to labored breath takin’ all of me
We’ve already done it in my head, if it’s make-believe
Why does it feel like a vow we’ll both uphold somehow?

What if he’s written “Mine” on my upper thigh only in my mind?
I’m slippin’, fallin’ back into the hedge maze
Oh, what a way to die
My bed sheets are ablaze
I’ve screamed his name
Buildin’ up like waves crashin’ over my grave
Without ever touchin’ his skin
How can I be guilty as sin?

What if I roll the stone away?
They’re gonna crucify me anyway
What if the way you hold me is actually what’s holy?
If long-suffering propriety is what they want from me
They don’t know how you’ve haunted me so stunningly
I choose you and me religiously

What if he’s written “Mine” on my upper thigh only in my mind?
I’m slippin’, fallin’ back into the hedge maze
Oh, what a way to die
I keep recalling things we never did
Messy top lip kiss, how I long for our trips
Without ever touchin’ his skin
How can I be guilty as sin?

He sent me “Downtown Lights”
I hadn’t heard it in a while
Am I allowed to cry?

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