Taylor Swift – Hoax | Lyrics Meaning & Song Review

“Hoax” is the sixteenth and final track on the standard edition of Taylor Swift’s 2020 album ‘Folklore.’ Taylor talks about a toxic relationship that she is stuck in because she is unable to move on from it.

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.

In the song, Taylor talks about how this fake love has broken her down to pieces and left her scarred. The two verses of the song list down all the ways Taylor perceives this toxic relationship as.

Listen to “hoax” by Taylor Swift

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“hoax” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review

Verse 1

Taylor Swift lists down all the ways she perceives him/this relationship–and they are not pretty. An eclipsed sun is dark and gloomy. A smoking gun has just been shot, and guns don’t shoot for fun. A twisted knife would cut horribly, not serving its purpose. And more metaphors follow!

These are all the ways Taylor symbolizes her broken/twisted/useless relationship with this person she is in love with.

However, the fact that the song starts with “My only one,” makes us reazlie that she is unable to move on from this relationship no matter how unappealing it has become.


In the chorus of the song, we find Taylor Swift standing at the edge of a cliff screaming “give me a reason” to stay in this relationship! This is just after she listed down so many ugly metaphors to describe her relationship. Maybe it is just that the love has fallen through the cracks of the relationship that only a pale and tasteless pulp is all that remains between them. Maybe there is no exact reason for her to move on.

But… in the next line, Taylor says “your faithless love,” which is a certain reference to an adultery situation. Isn’t that reason enough?

Verse 2

In the second verse of “hoax,” Taylor admits that this relationship was the most work she put in to. But it was all ruined with his “sleight of hand,” referring to a misconception, possibly hinting at cheating. And this fire (not the good kind) in their relationship has burnt her to a crisp. Possibly no flowers of love will ever bloom in Taylor’s barren lands again.


In these lyrics, Taylor talks about the movie that was never made based off of their great love story. The hero (love) is already dead in the script, so there is no point of making a movie based on this story!

It still hurts from all the deceit that took place in the relationship and every day that she spends in this relationship, it is as if he is pulling out the bullets from her healing scars! Ouch!

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

Adam McDonald

Hi! I am the founder and lead author and editor of Justrandomthings music community. A vast range of personal interests from Hip-Hop to Country to Hard Rock and Punk music will keep you entertained.

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8 Responses

  1. Claudia Goenaga says:

    i agree with David. Both Hoax and my tears riccochet are about her former label.

  2. Leslie says:

    I agree. Hoax and Tears Ricochet……. such a betrayal and she was so young and gave them success.

  3. Jen says:

    When I listened to this song, it made me think she was writing about her fame. In her documentary, she talks about how being an idol to so many people is like the seal of approval that she needed throughout her life. The song could mean that the fame has left her scarred. I do like the interpretation that David has suggested, it makes a lot of sense.

  4. Saanvi says:


  5. David says:

    I think she’s talking to Scott Borchetta. She’s out of the relationship for the most part but he’s still hurting her.
    The faithless love is the fact that they were together all those years and she thought he was family. But he believed in controlling her because. He didn’t believe she could run her own career by herself. So he didn’t allow her to buy her masters unless he could control her. The sleight of hand was him offering her masters with all the strings attached. And then claiming she turned them down. And then selling them to someone who’s treated her like garbage with no strings attached.
    She left Big Machine and that was really hard for her to do. They had to pull her apart. But what he did after was just as dark. She’s the hero who died (or is no longer part of Big Machine) so what’s the movie (current Big Machine) for?

    • Lindsay says:

      Yes. 100% agree with this interpretation.

    • Brandy A Ramm says:

      THIS!!!! This is exactly who I think this song is about!! I came to the comments to say the same thing!

    • emma says:

      I’ve been down many rabbit holes on this song’s meaning and everyone has a different interpretation of this song, because it is SO great, so it’s relatable on many levels under many different circumstances.

      But I think it ultimately boils down to Taylor’s relationship with music itself. She has given EVERYTHING to music, but it keeps hurting her and being a faithless lover. Her music career doesn’t give a shit about her, and she knows that, but loves music so much that she will continue creating it anyway.

      I think we all have a “no other shade of blue would do” in our lives when it comes to vices. Glad to see someone else believing that this song can be applied to things outside of romantic relationships!

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