Music

Wait, Does Taylor Swift’s Route In ‘London Boy’ Even Make Logistical Sense?

There are some obvious errors here, the biggest of course being the decision to leave Shoreditch for Highgate, then head to Hackney. Absolute bedlam!

Taylor Swift UK Flag photo London Boy

Taylor Swift’s seventh album Lover dropped last Friday, and one stand-out — for better or worse — is ‘London Boy’, a song about living it up with her partner, actor and London local Joe Alwyn.

By name-dropping a whole heap of suburbs, ‘London Boy’ sets out her dream days and nights in the city, though some listeners are a little confused by Swift’s roundabout commute.

Swift’s spent the last three years mostly living in London, but the song treats the city — and British boys — like a twee novelty. Swift sings about loving high tea, watching rugby in the pub, and saying Anglo idioms like ‘Darling, I fancy you’. In our first impressions, we called it about as “cringe-worthy” as hearing someone droning on about their gap year.

It’s the mentions of Camden Market, Highgate, Shoreditch and The West End that really stand out. By song’s end, the lyrics read like a Tube map torn-to-shreds. Twitter user Ethan Beer was so perplexed by the whole thing, he dedicated a detailed, now viral thread to not only the public transport options between stops, but the cost and time.

The 12 part trip, in short, is a mess. To help illustrate Beer’s point, we’re going to add in a little annotated Google Map, detailing the 12 stops Swift makes.

This is a nightmare.

There are some obvious errors here, the biggest of course being the decision to leave Shoreditch for Highgate, then head to Hackney. Absolute bedlam! Having said that, we — and the Swifties who have responded to Beer’s viral tweet — do have to point out that ‘London Boy’ never claims to take place in one day.

It’s also perhaps a little unfair to list out the chorus each time, but, in our map’s defence, the opening suburb changes each time, suggesting a new, different journey — first, Camden Markets, then Brixton and Soho.

The inclusion of the Bond Street stops on the map is also pretty suspect, as the line “please show me Hackney/doesn’t have to be Louis V up on Bond Street” implies Swift doesn’t want to visit fancy shops. Then again, you could read slightly against the grain, and imagine that the choice of ‘doesn’t have to be’ is a pointed passive-aggressive note that Swift does want to go to Bond Street. (Update: We’ve been informed the Bond Street with the Louis Vuitton store is in London central not Stratford, which both makes a lot more sense and is pretty en-route to Soho. Nice one, Swift!)

Finally, our map differs from Beer’s slightly. His third stop is Imperial College in South Kensington, because Beer decides that Alwyn must meet his old uni mates there for a pint.

Joe Alwyn did not attend Imperial, but the University of Bristol, which is not in London. Since this song is called ‘London Boy’ and not ‘London Boy Who Visits His Old Mates At Bristol For A Pint’, it’s unlikely he takes Swift out to another city. It’s simply impossible to know where Alwyn and Swift go from Highgate; the stop remains a mystery, and we respect their privacy.

Still, even if we concede that this map is a little off, we still have to deal with that Shoreditch > Highgate > Hackney route. Unseemingly! Then again, who of us haven’t done something crazy for love?

Read Beer’s full thread below.