“The Lakes” is the only bonus track appearing on the deluxe edition of Taylor Swift’s 2020 album ‘Folklore.’ The song makes references to the Lake District in the UK, where a group of poets pioneered the Romantic Movement in poetry.
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.
The song alludes to the different aspects of society that Taylor Swift had to battle and overcome throughout her career. From shameless media to her own ex-record label ‘Big Machine Records’ have burned a permanent scar on her skin. She feels like the world might be growing too painful to her and urges for isolation in the Lakes District, where she would feel at home with other late poets.
“the lakes” Lyrics Meaning & Song Review
An elegy is a romantic poem usually composed to memorialize a person. A eulogy is a tribute to a person. Taylor Swift is wondering if her songs on her tragic love affairs are how she is going to be remembered forever. She already has cemented the phrase “long list of ex-lovers” under her name from her song “Blank Space.”
Taylor Swift lets us know that she is not cut out for these “cynical clones” who just want to create a nice headline for their article–the juicier the better.
The lyric “these hunters with cell phones” is a hint at the paparazzi media who literally spy on Taylor’s life for headlines. Also, this is a hint at the Kanye West and Kim Kardashian feud with Taylor Swift relating to the edited phone conversations on getting Taylor’s approval for the controversial track “Famous.”
On the hook of the song, Taylor Swift expresses her wishes for isolation among her past peers–dead poets. The Lake District was home to the group of poets named ‘Lake Poets’ consisting of William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey. All these poets were from the nineteenth century.
Windermere is the biggest lake in the UK and the reference to “my beloved” is most likely for Taylor’s current boyfriend Joe Alwyn who is also from the UK. Taylor is intending that she would prefer to leave everything behind just to be with her lover and peace of mind.
In the second verse of the song, Taylor laments about what she could have done about the situation she has come to. But she also realizes that, the more she tries to swallow everything that is thrown at her, the more she breaks inside. She might not have the thickest skin, but even if she did, it might not be enough to store everything underneath.
To be ‘namedropped’ is to have your name mentioned by someone. A ‘sleaze’ is an act of shame or humiliation, most likely false too. Taylor Swift has grown to be one of the biggest names in the world, and she would hate to lose it all just because of the ‘games’ others play. This could be a reference to Kanye-Taylor fued, among others.
‘Words worth’ is a reference to William Wordsworth, the poet mentioned above. And this is an example of a namedrop.
In the bridge of the song, Taylor Swift goes into a poetic trance to describe the scenery she wishes to surround herself in. In a nutshell, she is painting a picture of the beautiful skies, the scenic mountains, green grass, blooming flowers, and her lover beside her.
Let us hear what you think of this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.