taylor swift hoax

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.

14 thoughts on “Taylor Swift – Hoax | Lyrics Meaning & Song Review

  1. Here’s One Theory… at least ONE that I’d like to imagine:
    If we’re following the theory that some of the songs on the album are connected (I.E. the ABC trio: August, Betty, and Cardigan are about a love triangle between Betty, James and unnamed girl who we’ll call August each from a different character’s perspective) then there is a possibility that this song is connected to some of the other characters mentioned on the album.

    I suspect that this song is told from the perspective of Rebekah Harkness (The character that “The Last Great American Dynasty” is centered around) standing on the cliffside of that their Rhode Island Set (which was later bought by Swift for 17.7mil CASH) screaming at her dead husband “give me a reason”….to keep going on.
    She finally found the love of her life and “her best laid plan” just up and died of a heart attack. He was probably flawed but that was the only hoax she wanted. Her Kingdom come undone.

    This connection comes from the part of TLGAD where: “They say she was seen on occasion pacing the rocks, staring at the midnight sea”

    Taylor swifts always talks about heartbreak as “Death by a thousand cuts”. “You knew it still hurts underneath my scars from when “THEY” (the men in my past) pulled me apart…… but what you did was just as dark” meaning having the love of her life die on her was “Just as dark” and hurt just as much as the men who broke her heart.

    Only hole in this theory is the fact that Harkness came from St. Louis and only later on moved to NYC which doesn’t tie in with “I left a part of me in NY” but I love the image of the woman from “The Last Great American Dynasty” pacing the rocks mourning here dead husband Bill. Shows you a character from the town’s perspective in one song and her own perspective in another.

  2. My pov: I think that this song about a long term relationship and I think that this is written from prospective of (harry styles) about his illicit affairs with (Louis Tomlinson) and how he is so Attachment to him and how L have betrayed him and made him soo sad and depressed but the wired thing is that harry still wants him and don’t want to leave after all the hurt that he gets
    Sorry for my bad anglais

    1. Oh my gawd… my interpretation of the song had nothing to do with what David mentioned. It’s probably due to the fact that I’m a new fan.

      So here goes my POV of the song:

      I, personally, do not think the song is about Joe. I strongly believe it’s also about What went down with Karlie( my eclipsed sun 🌞(BFF clip)) and what happened back in NYC and also after the betrayal Taylor felt after Karlie shaded her on Twitter. “But what you did was just as dark.” I know a lot of people think because she sings about “shade of blue”, it’s meant to be about Joe. I would totally agree with you… until I went to see some pics of Karlie where her eyes seem to have shade of blue in them. (I’m new as a Taylor swift fan and if I didn’t know better, my first Karlie google pictures search had her with blue eyes 🤷🏽‍♀️. But google said they are Hazel)

      When Taylor sings
      « Stood on the cliffside
      Screaming “Give me a reason”
      Your faithless love’s the only hoax
      I believe in »

      This 3 particular lines made me think of portrait of a lady on fire.

      Also the reason why I think it’s a song about Karlie, it’s because she talks about NYC and what it did to Taylor.
      «You knew the password, so I let you in the door.You knew you won, so what’s the point of keeping score? » wasn’t it an event where Taylor and Karlie had seen less of each their and the reason was never actually mentioned or maybe was about what happened in the apartment. (Karlie had the 🔑(password))
      So whatever Karlie did to Taylor… Taylor sang « But what you did was just as dark »
      « Darling, this was just as hard. » whatever the *THIS* (the reason why it was just as hard) is about, Taylor compared it as how much hurt she felt when they pulled her apart. And since the event of the song was when she wasn’t living in New York anymore.
      I’m thinking the songs is like a movie you play to yourself about someone you loved who deceived you in a way you didn’t except it and how would betray you like that.

      Anyway I’m pretty sure I’m off track here, but I just wanted to give my POV because many times Taylor has giving us really good love song… and this one is just not it. Even hearing her sing that song breaks my heart.

      No matter how much history you have with someone long or short, when betrayal, lost of trust of anything like that happens, it’s hard to get back to. And I’m not saying that just in a romantic way. Friendship too.

      Oh well…

  3. 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. 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?

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

    2. 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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