- Taylor Swift released her new album “Lover” on Friday.
- One of the tracks has caught a lot of Brits’ attention: “London Boy.”
- Swift’s ode to the English capital and her British boyfriend Joe Alwyn is undoubtedly catchy, but has left many true Londoners cringing at the lyrics.
- Fans questioned Swift’s choice of afternoon walking spots, which are actually some of the busiest areas in London, and wondered how she would manage to travel to all the places she mentions.
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Taylor Swift loves London. Loves it.
She is desperate for you to know how much she loves London, and pints in the pub, and the rain, and her tea-swilling British boyfriend Joe Alwyn.
In her new song fittingly entitled “London Boy,” Swift waxes lyrical about the English capital, and the many, many, many places she likes to visit in the city.
To settle any immediate doubts about just how embedded in London culture Swift might be, “London Boy” starts with a soundbite from the most London man in the world: Idris Elba. “We can go driving on my scootah [scooter], uh, you know, just riding in London,” the “Luther” star says in his patented cockney drawl.
In case you weren’t sure where Swift hails from herself:
I love my hometown as much as Motown, I love SoCal
And you know I love Springsteen, faded blue jeans, Tennessee whiskey
I’m fairly sure these are all American things.
They say home is where the heart is, but that’s not where mine lives
Her heart belongs to London. Or Alwyn. One of the two.
In the choruses, Swift details her favourite walking spots in the city that’s home to 10 million people: Camden Market and Soho.
I enjoy walking Camden Market in the afternoon
Let’s be clear, there are very few worse places the singer could have chosen for her afternoon strolls – no one in their right mind visits these places for a ramble. They are stressful, very touristy places with little to see or do other than the obvious: shops and restaurants.
More than 100,000 people visit Camden Market each weekend, and SoHo occupies the busiest square mile in the capital. Does Swift also spend her Sunday afternoons in New York ambling around Times Square, taking in the sights?
It also seems very hard to believe that someone with the omniscient celebrity of Swift could remain incognito in these places, let alone go for a quiet walk.
She would be much better off in the stunning expanse of Hampstead Heath, for example, just a stone’s throw from her boyfriend’s house in Highgate.
Took me back to Highgate, met all of his best mates
Alwyn’s affluent neighbourhood rarely gets a name check in popular culture largely because it is just that: a very affluent neighbourhood which is, admittedly, lovely, but really only for the most privileged members of the city’s high society. The average house price in Highgate, for instance, is £1,369,411($US1,674,570) – which is a lot.
You know I love a London boy, I enjoy nights in Brixton
Shoreditch in the afternoon
From Brixton, to Shoreditch, and back to Highgate. These are undoubtedly places that exist in London, but to visit them in the order that Swift describes is frankly farcical, not to mention time-consuming.
“Taylor Swift’s ‘London Boy’ is super-nice, but the idea of doing Shoreditch in the afternoon, Brixton in the evening and then back to Highgate is giving me major London Underground anxiety,” Neil Studd tweeted with a public transport map of Swift’s route.
Taylor Swift's "London Boy' is super-nice, but the idea of doing Shoreditch in the afternoon, Brixton in the evening and then back to Highgate is giving me major London Underground anxiety #TaylorSwift #Lover pic.twitter.com/0WHoi9R59R
— Neil Studd (@dustlined) August 23, 2019
According to Google Maps, it would take Swift about 40 minutes to get from Shoreditch to Brixton via London’s underground metro system. She’d take the Northern Line to Stockwell and then a change of trains to the Victoria Line to Brixton.
Getting back to Highgate would be a serious headache since the two areas are polar ends of London. She’d have a grand total of 13 stops, taking the Victoria Line to Euston and then the Northern Line onto Highgate – all presumably while shielding her face from fans. Her limo, meanwhile, would take at least an hour for that journey.
And now I love high tea, stories from uni, and the West End You can find me in the pub, we are watching rugby with his school friends
Let’s ignore the fact that she rhymed “pub, we” with “rugby.” Let’s not even raise that as a discussion.
No one in London takes high tea apart from the Queen. The lyrics are pretty much what you’d expect someone to write if their sole impression of London was based on “Paddington Bear.” The only surprise is no marmalade references throughout.
Show me a grey sky, a rainy cab ride
No one actually likes the rain, it’s just there, and we all use Ubers, not cabs.
So please show me Hackney
Doesn’t have to be Louis V up on Bond Street
Here Swift is saying: you can keep your designer shops in affluent central London, show me the rougher, edgier side of the city. Except, over the last decade or so, Hackney has been the subject of aggressive gentrification. It has a Burberry discount store, and countless smashed avocado-serving cafes. In fact, Hackney homes are the most expensive in the UK relative to the wages of its inhabitants. Not quite roughing it, Tay.
Stick with me, I’m your queen
Like a Tennessee Stella McCartney
It doesn’t get more British than Stella McCartney – if only Swift had a gratuitous clothing collaboration with the designer that she could subliminally promote here.
Taylor Swift may love London, but between the afternoon walks in Soho and Highgate rugby pubs, it sounds like she could do with a new tour guide (sorry Joe).
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