It’s been a hot second since folklore came into the world and it delivered some of the best Taylor Swift tracks in recent memory. It took on a more alternative, folk-rock vibe than her previous three albums. Folklore is definitely closer to her country roots, similar to Red.
One of the most popular songs off of the album was “Betty.” That’s for many reasons, with the biggest being the story element in it. While many have guessed what the song is about, including where Swift got the names of her characters, she just confirmed a major theory.
Taylor Swift’s ‘Betty’ has quickly become one of the most-talked-about songs on ‘folklore’
“Betty” is the 14th track on the album and is about a girl named Betty, of course. And while a lot of people thought there was gay subtext — and there very well still could be — the song is from the perspective of someone named James.
Essentially the track talks about how James really didn’t understand what he had until he messed up big time and cheated on Betty with Inez. It almost seemed like he didn’t appreciate Betty either until it was too late.
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
Later that night, he went off with Inez and had a fling with her for the summer. It sounds like he begs Betty at the end to forgive him, but the outcome isn’t really revealed.
Swift confirmed that the characters in the song are named after her ‘friends’ kids’
E! Online reported on Aug. 6 that Swift spoke on a country radio station the day before, and right as the song played she described it a bit.
Swift said that it’s the first time James has ever done something like losing “the love of his life,” and he has no idea “how to get it back.” It’s when he really learns how to “give a heartfelt apology” for the first time in his life, after Inez tells Betty they were together.
“Everyone makes mistakes, everybody really misses up sometimes. This is a song that I wrote from the perspective of a 17-year-old boy,” Swift said. “I’ve always loved that in music you can kind of slip into different identities, and you can sing from other people’s perspectives. So that’s what I did on this one.”
Swift also delivered the moment a lot of people have been waiting for, too, which was confirming that she used Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s kids’ names for the song.
“I named all the characters in this story after my friends’ kids,” she said. The public already knew James and Inez were two of their daughters’ names, but “Betty” confirmed the newest baby’s name.
The song is one part of a story about a ‘Teenage Love Triangle’
This story of these three teens and their horribly fated love is a part of three songs that tell their full story.
“There’s a collection of three songs I refer to as The Teenage Love Triangle,” Swift said during a YouTube live stream, according to Metro U.K. when the album came out on July 24. “These three songs explore a love triangle from all three people’s perspectives at different times in their lives.”
“Betty” is from James’ perspective, and it’s either the first or second, chronologically, in the series of tracks. Then there’s “August,” which is Inez’s perspective. In the song, she talks about liking James more than he likes her, but “’you were never mine,” she sings.
And lastly, there’s “Cardigan,” which is from the perspective of Betty. She’s reminiscing on the good times in their relationship, but then also touches on how he cheated. “A friend to all is a friend to none / Chase two girls, lose the one,” she sings.
Overall, it’s nice that fans have this confirmation, although super sleuths were all on it a day after the song came out.