taylor swift cardigan

Taylor Swift – Cardigan | Lyrics Meaning & Song Review

“Cardigan” is the second track on Taylor Swift’s 2020 album ‘Folklore.’ The song talks about love and relationships when you are young and how fickle they are eventhough you assume them to the world at the time.

Taylor Swift announced her 8th studio album ‘Folklore‘ just a few hours ahead of the album release on July 24, 2020. The album had no singles prior to the album release, and Taylor stated the reason for the ‘surprise’ album release as the “uncertainty” surrounding the world right now.

Taylor Swift also announced the release of a music video for “Cardigan” along with the album. Due to prevalent Coronavirus COVID-19 conditions, Taylor had to take extra precautions when shooting the music video; “The entire shoot was overseen by a medical inspector, everyone wore masks, stayed away from each other, and I even did my own hair, makeup, and styling Face with tears of joy.”

During a Live Q&A session before the release of the video, Taylor explained the idea behind the song; “The song is about a lost romance and why young love is often fixed so permanently within our memories. Why it leaves such an indelible mark.”

Catch “Cardigan” Video on Premiere

Buy ‘Folklore’ Album on Apple Music and Amazon

“cardigan” Lyrics Meaning & Song Review

Verse 1

Taylor Swift talks about the things that seem important when you are young: a vintage tee-shirt, brand new phone, lipstick, a little bit of politics, high heels, and a lover. If you had all these, you were the king/queen. However, later down the life, you realize that none of these really matter. So this is the blame that elderly people always have on the teenagers. However, teenagers themselves don’t reazlie these facts until they themselves are older.


Taylor claims to have known one thing when she was young–and that was him! This guy, drunk dancing under the streetlights, in his classic blue Levi’s jeans, had a certain appeal to Taylor that she could not put to words. She assumed that was all love is about.

His hands running under her sweatshirt, Taylor calls him to kiss “it” better. Let’s leave further explanations to your curiosity.


‘Cardigan’ is a knitted sweater fastening down the front, typically with long sleeves.

He came into her life when she was feeling like an old piece of clothing forgotten under the bed. But he made her feel brand new.

Watch Taylor Swift Perform Acoustic Cover of “cardigan”

Verse 2

“A friend to all is a friend to none” is an idiom used to describe how you cannot make everyone happy.

Chasing two girls in the song and album’s context is reference to Taylor and Betty. Taylor crashed into Betty and this guy’s relationship looking for love, but soon realized that she was poking in businesses that weren’t hers.


In the second chorus, Taylor claims that she knew him even in his act of deceit.


These lyrics narrate how Taylor perceived what love was back then. Kiss in the backseat of a car and run around the city with him was all she wanted. He healed her previous scars, but left with new ones when he moved out.


Taylor Swift compares him leaving her to the classic tale of ‘Peter Pan‘ by J. M. Barrie, where Wendy goes to meet Peter Pan at his house in Neverland and eventually falls in love with him, however has to break his heart when she has to return back.

Taylor’s lover also got onto the last train leaving the city (possibly metaphorically) and left her heart bleeding out.

Verse 3

In the third verse of the song, Taylor Swift reflects back to the aftermath of their relationship. She knew that it would not last and she knew it would very difficult to get rid these memories–like a tattoo. However, Taylor half-expected him to return to her when the thril he was looking for eventually wore out. But may be it did not, he never returned.

Taylor imagined he would be standing on her front porch light asking her to take him back. This scene correlates with a scene from “betty,” when Taylor goes to Betty’s doorstep to apologize.

Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.

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