Who Is Betty? Song Meaning, Lyrics, & Easter Eggs

Taylor Swift

Getty Taylor Swift’s eighth studio album, “Folklore,” dropped at midnight on July 24.

Betty is the fourteenth song on Taylor Swift’s eighth studio album, “Folklore.” Swift announced the surprise album on July 23. It contains 16 tracks and one bonus track. The track is notably about two young women in love, leading many to ask: who is Betty? Are the girls in this song based on real people, or totally made up?

In announcing her album, Swift mentioned how her plans for the summer had changed amid the coronavirus pandemic — namely, she had planned on a massive global tour for her seventh album, Lover, which came out last August. She wrote on Instagram,

“Most of the things i had planned this summer didn’t end up happening, but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen. And that thing is my 8th studio album, folklore. Surprise […] Tonight at midnight I’ll be release in my entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into. I wrote and recorded this music in isolation but got to collaborate with some musical heroes of mine…

Before this year I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the ‘perfect’ time, but the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed. My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world. That’s the side of uncertainty I can get on board with.”

Here’s what you need to know:


Betty Full Lyrics: ‘When I Passed Your House, It’s Like I Couldn’t Breathe’

Here are the lyrics to Betty, per genius:

[Verse 1]
Betty, I won’t make assumptions
About why you switched your homeroom but
I think it’s ’cause of me
Betty, one time I was riding on my skateboard
When I passed your house
It’s like I couldn’t breathe

[Pre-Chorus]
You heard the rumors from Inez
You can’t believe a word she says
Most times, but this time it was true
The worst thing that I ever did
Was what I did to you

[Chorus]
But if I just showed up at your party
Would you have me?
Would you want me?
Would you tell me to go fuck myself?
Or lead me to the garden?
In the garden would you trust me
If I told you it was just a summer thing?
I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anything
But I know I miss you

[Verse 2]
Betty, I know where it all went wrong
Your favorite song was playing
From the far side of the gym
I was nowhere to be found
I hate the crowds, you know that
Plus, I saw you dance with him

[Pre-Chorus]
You heard the rumors from Inez
You can’t believe a word she says
Most times, but this time it was true
The worst thing that I ever did
Was what I did to you

[Chorus]
But if I just showed up at your party
Would you have me?
Would you want me?
Would you tell me to go fuck myself?
Or lead me to the garden?
In the garden would you trust me
If I told you it was just a summer thing?
I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anything
But I know I miss you

[Bridge]
I was walking home on broken cobblestones
Just thinking of you
When she pulled up like
A figment of my worst intentions
She said “James, get in, let’s drive”
Those days turned into nights
Slept next to her, but
I dreamt of you all summer long

[Verse 3]
Betty, I’m here on your doorstep
And I planned it out for weeks now
But it’s finally sinkin’ in
Betty, right now is the last time
I can dream about what happens when
You see my face again

[Pre-Chorus]
The only thing I wanna do
Is make it up to you
So I showed up at your party
Yeah, I showed up at your party

[Chorus]
Yeah, I showed up at your party
Will you have me?
Will you love me?
Will you kiss me on the porch
In front of all your stupid friends?
If you kiss me, will it be just like I dreamed it?
Will it patch your broken wings?
I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anything
But I know I miss you

[Outro]
Standing in your cardigan
Kissin’ in my car again
Stopped at a streetlight
You know I miss you

 


Betty: Song Meaning & Easter Eggs

As a stylistic song, Betty fits firmly in Swift’s musical canon as a teenage love song. But the track is massively notable, given that it seems to be the first story Swift has sung about two women being in love.

Following the release of Swift’s album, she took to Twitter to make something clear that she usually doesn’t: she pointed out that many of these songs are made up, and are not, like her other albums, to be taken so diaristically. She wrote, “In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve. Now it’s up to you to pass them down.”

So it’s fully possible that this entire song was made up as fiction. Of course, many Swifties might want to draw the song somehow back to Swift’s mysterious friendship with model Karlie Kloss; fans have speculated about a romance between the two women for years.

Another Swift fan questioned whether the song has subtle nods to another friendship in Swift’s life. The fan tweeted, “Ok but she’s definitely referencing Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds daughters Ines and James right? Or am I going crazy? She drops both names in that song and they are bffs”

Swift has not clarified whether James, the protagonist of the song, is a man or woman.


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