Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift Dishes on "Betty"

"In music you can sing from other people’s perspectives."

August 10, 2020

Three of the songs ("August," "Cardigan," and "Betty") on Taylor Swift's surprise album Folklore are widely believed to be about the same three characters, all involved in a love triangle: James and his girlfriend Betty, and the "other woman" (or the local gossip?), Inez. 

“The song ‘betty’ is about a 17-year-old named James learning to apologize, because James has lost the love of his life basically and doesn’t understand how to get it back," Taylor elaborates in a statement from her label. "I think we all have these situations in our lives where we learn to really, really give a heartfelt apology for the first time.

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"Everybody makes mistakes," she continues. "Everybody really messes up sometimes, and this is a song that I wrote from the perspective of a 17-year-old boy. And I always loved that in music you can kind of slip into different identities and you can sing from other people’s perspectives.

"So, that’s what I did with this one. I named all the characters in this story after my friends’ kids, and I hope you like it.”