Who Is Taylor Swift’s “Hits Different” About? Fans Have Some Theories
Taylor Swift is a master of breakup songs, but perhaps none of those tracks have married heartbreaking lyrics and a very danceable beat like “Hits Different.” Back when “Midnights” was released in October 2022, “Hits Different” was exclusive to the deluxe edition of the album that was sold at Target. While some enterprising fans ripped the song from their CDs and uploaded it online, Swift waited a few months to make the song accessible everywhere. On May 26, Swift will release the “Til Dawn” version of “Midnights” that includes “Hits Different,” plus a “Karma” remix with Ice Spice and a new version of “Snow on the Beach” with “more” from collaborator Lana Del Rey.
Like with all of her breakup songs, many fans have wondered what Swift’s “Hits Different” means and who it’s about. The song details how a specific breakup feels so different from the ones Swift has had before: it hits different. The answer about which relationship inspired it, though, isn’t totally clear. Swift and boyfriend Joe Alwyn recently split, but news of their separation only broke in April, many months after “Midnights”‘s release. Still, many fans believe songs on the album are about the end of their romance, though they seemed to still be together at the time.
But there are parts of the song that hint at Swift’s other exes. “I washed my hands of us at the club,” she sings at the start of the track. That could allude to Swift’s ex DJ Calvin Harris, though there aren’t very many other clues about him.
A big part of “Hits Different” is about how Swift usually can move on quickly from breakups, and at the start of the second verse, she sings, “I used to switch out these Kens / I’d just ghost.” As Ryan Gosling (who plays Ken in the upcoming “Barbie” movie) has said repeatedly, the whole point of a Ken doll is to be an accessory to Barbie, a support. In fact, as the movie’s director Greta Gerwig noted in a Vogue article published on May 24, Ken came into being after Barbie because people wrote Mattel letters begging Barbie to get a boyfriend. Swift evokes that history with this line about her exes being “Kens.”
Some of the song’s lyrics also call to mind her song “Cornelia Street,” which most fans believe is about the start of her romance with Alwyn. In that song, she sings that a split would be “the type of heartbreak time would never mend.” In “Hits Different,” she cries over the “artifacts” of their relationship and the memories she has of them together. She specifically calls out “your hair,” which may be telling since she also makes references to Alwyn’s hair in “Gorgeous” and “Gold Rush.” She also calls herself an “argumentative antithetical dream girl,” which conjures the arguing she sings about in “Gold Rush.”
But, of course, the song could be about a relationship Swift has never been public about. Now that the song is officially released on streaming, Swifties will have to wait and see if she sheds more light on the track, which could definitely happen if she features it as a surprise song during her Eras Tour.