A London Girl Tries To Make Sense Of Taylor Swift’s “London Boy”

Shh, shh. Quiet for a second. Do you hear that? If you listen really carefully you'll hear approximately 8.13 million people cringing. The entire population of London squirming uncomfortably at some unbearably miscalculated references to our beloved city. No, this isn't the work of a strange TfL campaign. It's Taylor Swift.
She just dropped her long-awaited seventh album Lover and with it came a standout song that has prompted a wave of absolute bewilderment. It's called "London Boy" and you can consider it an unsolicited companion piece to Ed Sheeran's "Galway Girl".
The track is an ode to the actor Joe Alwyn, who Taylor has been in a relationship with for the last two years. Joe is her London boy and the song documents all of the things she loves about spending time with him in the capital. It'd be sweet if it wasn't overridden by the wildly misjudged references to rogue locations and activities. It'd be cute if it wasn't for the fact that, if we're playing on British stereotypes here, we're all incredibly cynical and don't care for outlandish outpourings of affection. It'd be adorable if only our immediate response wasn't awkward embarrassment on Joe's behalf. It'd be cool if it were Estelle's 2008 banger "American Boy".
Nevertheless, we're fascinated. Fixated, even. There's almost too much to unpick from these 3 minutes and 10 seconds. But we've given it a good go...
Idris Elba: "We can go driving in, on my scooter, ah you know, just round London"
What the hell, Idris? A clip of Idris on James Corden's Late Late Show is at the very beginning of the track. Did he okay this? Does he need legal counsel? Disappointed in our future Bond.
"I enjoy walking Camden Market in the afternoon"
False. No one enjoys walking around Camden at any time of day. It is stress. It is hell. It is not an area to mooch as a civilian or celebrity. Peak tourist error, Taylor.
"He likes my American smile"
Fair play for squeezing in a subtle dig at the stereotype that all English people have bad teeth. Touché.
"I fancy you", "best mates", "stories from uni"
Ooh, the British colloquialisms just don't sit right, do they? Yes, she will have picked them up from her bae but we're pretty certain Taylor has never said the words 'fancy', 'mate' or 'uni' in any context outside of this song. 'Uni' is a lot easier to rhyme than 'college', though.
"Now I love high tea"
We don't doubt that you do, Taylor. But please be aware that no one actually goes to high tea. No one calls it 'high tea'. A cucumber sandwich, scone and Earl Grey for £50 really isn't a vibe.
"You can find me in the pub, we are watchin' rugby"
Advertisement
There is absolutely zero chance that Taylor didn't have a massive face on when Joe dragged her to the White Lion to watch England v Italy in the Six Nations. Still, she should be pleased it wasn't the cricket.
"Babes, don't threaten me with a good time"
SCREAMING! Too much, babes, too much.
"I enjoy nights in Brixton, Shoreditch in the afternoon"
Brixton is a good time, to be fair. And Refinery29 HQ is in Shoreditch so next time you're in the area, Tay, pop in for a tea (casual, not the high sort).
"So please show me Hackney, doesn't have to be Louis V, Up on Bond Street"
Let's not throw shade at Hackney, now. There's a Burberry discount store there. Also this is the first of two times you mention Bond Street (outrageous, why do that to yourself?) but you only make it south of the river once. Huge mistake, my friend.
"I'm your queen like a Tennessee Stella McCartney"
This makes *absolutely* no sense but we get that you need to plug your Stella McCartney collab. We see you.
"Walking Soho drinking in the afternoon"
We highly doubt that Taylor is mingling with the office suits who are "coming back from a meeting with Martin that's slightly overrun", who are the sole frequenters of Soho pubs in the afternoon.
Advertisement

More from Music

R29 Original Series