Did Taylor Swift Get ‘Folklore’ Inspiration From ‘Friends’?
While singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is known to sing about her relationships (like actor Joe Alwyn), she has also drawn from pop culture. Her Lover track “Death by a Thousand Cuts” was, in part, inspired by the film Someone Great, and she’s cited Game of Thrones characters like Arya Stark as an influence for Reputation.
So it’s not a stretch to assume that Friends, one of the most popular TV series during her formative years, could have found its way into a song. Here’s why some believe that the words of the character Phoebe Buffay were in Swift’s mind while writing a track on her 2020 album, Folklore.
‘Folklore’ features a fictional love triangle
In the YouTube chat leading up to the music video debut of the first Folklore single, “Cardigan,” Swift answered some fan questions. One such reply, as captured in screenshots by a fan on Twitter, is below:
One thing I did purposely on this album was put the Easter eggs in the lyrics, more than just the videos. I created character arcs & recurring themes that map out who is singing about who. For example there’s a collection of 3 songs I refer to as The Teenage Love Triangle. These 3 songs explore a love triangle from all 3 people’s perspectives at different times in their lives.
After the album dropped, it didn’t take long for fans to connect the dots. “Listen to cardigan, August and Betty they are songs from different perspectives of a love triangle/cheating situation – so so so good it’s like listening to a movie,” wrote one Twitter user, identifying the three tracks.
In ‘Betty’ two characters are named after Blake Lively’s kids
In “Betty,” Swift sings from the perspective of James. This is revealed in the lyrics, “Just thinking of you when she pulled up like/A figment of my worst intentions/She said “James, get in, let’s drive.” Additionally, the character Betty, who James is singing to, “heard the rumors from Inez.”
Fans were quick to point out the James and Inez are the names of actor Blake Lively’s children with her husband, actor Ryan Reynolds. Lively and Swift have been friends for years. And James is the baby saying “gorgeous” at the beginning of the Reputation track of the same name.
The other could be from this episode from ‘Friends’
Reynolds and Lively have a third daughter, whose name they have not announced as of August 3, 2020. While some now believe it could be “Betty” — in keeping with Swift’s theme — there are other possible reasons that’s the name their friend chose for her song. And one, as shared on TikTok, relates to Friends.
In season 2, Ross kisses Rachel while he’s still dating Julie. In the episode “The One With the List,” Phoebe performs at Central Perk. She says, “This is a story about a love triangle between three people that I made up.” She then sings, “There was a girl, we’ll call her Betty…” From there, the song doesn’t connect to Swift’s.