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Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘The Grudge’ and other songs believed to be about Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, often hailed as the queen of songwriting herself, has inspired a plethora of artists to pen songs about her over the years. These tracks delve into various aspects of her life, from her relationships to her career ups and downs. One such song that recently garnered significant attention is Olivia Rodrigo’s “The Grudge,” but there are others too, each with its unique story and emotions. Today, come along on this fun ride, as we explore some of the artists who have written songs about Taylor Swift, and shed light on the alleged motivations behind these musical tributes and insinuations.

Taylor Swift is famous for two things: Her army of protective superfans and her knack for turning her dating life into chart-topping hits. Over the years, Taylor has romanced her fair share of high-profile celebs, from Jake Gyllenhaal to Taylor Lautner, Joe Jonas to Joe Alwyn. She’s now rumoured to be dating NFL athlete Travis Kelce, and their purported romance has sent social media into a tizzy.

It all makes perfect sense when you consider that the pop sensation has penned songs about a veritable who’s who of her past relationships – honestly, her willingness to bare it all might just be the secret sauce to her superstardom.

In a 2019 article for Elle UK, Taylor discussed her love of pouring her heart into her lyrics. “I adore crafting songs because it’s like preserving memories, like framing a snapshot of an emotion,” she said. “I want to remember every detail — the sweater’s colour, the air’s temperature, the creaky floorboards, and the exact moment on the clock when my heart soared, shattered, healed, or found its forever home. I revel in the challenge of weaving personal keepsakes and fragments of reality into a musical genre that’s often viewed as universally relatable.”

Taylor herself waxed lyrical on the power of connection and why her music resonates with so many, despite its intensely personal nature. She laid it out further, saying, “These days, folks are on the hunt for some soul-soothing, heartwarming tunes. We crave that feeling of someone whispering in our ear, ‘Hey, I’ve been there too,’ as evidence that we can navigate our own life storms.”

But in the world of music, what goes around comes around, and some artists have decided to give Taylor a taste of her own lyrical medicine. These songs range from adoring odes to blistering takedowns. Some are retaliatory strikes, while others seem to pop up out of the blue. Is Olivia Rodrigo’s song “The Grudge” really about Taylor Swift? Lets get exploring!

11 songs about Taylor Swift written by Olivia Rodrigo and other artists

‘The Grudge’ by Olivia Rodrigo (2023)

taylor swift olivia rodrigo songs the grudge
‘The Grudge’, one of Olivia Rodrigo’s latest hit songs, is rumoured to be about her feud with Taylor Swift. Here, they’re pictured together in happier times back in 2021. (Image: Taylor Swift/ Instagram)

The freshest entry into this collection of Taylor Swift-inspired songs hails from Olivia Rodrigo’s highly-anticipated second album, “Guts,” which dropped in September 2023. While listeners have speculated about the subject of this track, many suspect it’s a musical response to the swirling rumours that surrounded Rodrigo’s debut album, “Sour.”

Back in July 2021, Rodrigo made headlines when she retrospectively credited Taylor Swift on her song “Deja Vu.” This move came after keen-eared fans pointed out similarities between the track and Swift’s “Cruel Summer.”

Prior to this twist, Rodrigo and Swift appeared to be on the best of terms, even sharing cosy photos and heartfelt notes. Rodrigo had proudly dubbed herself the “biggest Swiftie.” So, when the credit controversy cropped up, it likely caused some genuine hurt feelings, possibly setting the stage for “The Grudge” (if, of course, it’s about Swift).

The song kicks off with Olivia Rodrigo belting, “I have nightmares each week ’bout that Friday in May,” and it’s no coincidence that “Sour” was unleashed on a fateful Friday, the 21st of May. As the verses unfold, Rodrigo sings of “flowers filled with vitriol” and laments how someone “build me up to watch me fall,” a narrative that might reference Swift’s seemingly withdrawn support following the credit dispute. And in the song’s bridge, Rodrigo delivers the biting line, “You have everything, and you still want more,” a phrase that could easily be construed as a commentary on Swift herself.

Though neither Rodrigo nor Swift has publicly engaged in a feud, Rodrigo shared her surprise with The Guardian regarding her fans’ theories linking her song “Vampire” to Swift. In an interview with Rolling Stone, she downplayed any tension, stating, “I don’t have beef with anyone. I’m very chill. I keep to myself. I have my four friends and my mom, and that’s really the only people I talk to, ever. There’s nothing to say. There’s so many Twitter conspiracy theories. I only look at alien-conspiracy theories.”

At the recent VMAs, Swift was captured applauding Olivia Rodrigo’s “Vampire” performance, indicating that any disagreements between them are likely far from the forefront of their minds. Nonetheless, Rodrigo did admit to Rolling Stone that the song credits controversy involving Swift had been a challenging chapter for her, even though she wasn’t deeply involved in the behind-the-scenes wrangling.

‘Enchanted’ by Taylor Swift, covered by Owl City (2011)

Shifting our focus away from Swift’s exes and music rivals, we delve into unrequited affection, where an artist yearned for a connection that never materialised. This addition to our list is often overlooked by fervent Swifties. The track in question, “Enchanted,” made its debut in 2010 as part of Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” album.

Rumour has it; it was crafted with the enigmatic Adam Young of Owl City in mind. Their interaction was confined to a series of emails exchanged over a period before they eventually rendezvoused in New York. Regrettably, their encounter did not progress beyond this point.

In a whimsical response to Swift’s song, Owl City recorded a cover of “Enchanted,” featuring a few subtle lyric alterations. Most notably, the line, “It was enchanting to meet you, Taylor,” was lovingly woven into the cover. Curiously, their paths have not crossed since, leaving this enchanting chapter of unrequited admiration as a mere footnote in their stories.

‘Paper Doll’ by John Mayer (2013)

Taylor Swift is renowned for her intricate songwriting, often cloaking her lyrics in a veil of plausible deniability when it comes to revealing the true muses behind her tracks. However, it seems there are two notable exceptions to this pattern: “Style,” inspired by Harry Styles, and “Dear John,” a poignant reference to John Mayer. Swift’s brief romance with Mayer, which unfolded when she was just 19, became the focal point of “Dear John.” In this lyrical masterpiece, Taylor laments her youth, insinuating that Mayer, who was 32 at the time, should have exercised greater discretion given their age gap.

Mayer, in response to this emotional ballad, publicly decried it as “cheap songwriting” in a candid 2012 Rolling Stone interview, vehemently asserting that he did not deserve such treatment. However, mere months later, in 2013, Mayer released “Paper Doll,” a song that drew swift comparisons to Swift.

He evoked Swift’s iconic hit “22” by describing her as “22 girls in one” and sang of a mysterious figure painting another sky, mirroring Swift’s lyric, “You paint me a blue sky.” Mayor’s public acknowledgment of “Paper Doll” and its underlying emotions came only in early 2023 during a concert in Sacramento. He admitted that the song had originated from a place of hurt feelings.

‘Perfect’ by Harry Styles (2015)

What’s better than one boy band diving into the world of musical relationships? Well, it’s when Harry Styles, a prominent member of One Direction, added his own spin to the mix. Swift’s whirlwind romance with Styles, which briefly blossomed in 2012, stands as one of her most iconic love affairs and served as a well of inspiration for her album “1989.”

The track “Perfect” from that album captures the essence of their short-lived love story. It’s all about finding that special someone who can navigate the chaotic world of One Direction’s public lifestyle. “Perfect” weaves a tale of secret relationships, late-night car escapades, and cunningly dodging the ever-present paparazzi. Yet, it’s a particular line in this song that truly piqued the interest of “Haylor” enthusiasts: “And if you’re looking for someone to write your breakup songs about.”

Now, we all know Taylor Swift has a reputation for composing breakup anthems and tearjerking songs, often drawing inspiration from her past relationships, both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. So, it’s hard to imagine this lyric referring to anyone other than Swift herself.

However, the songstress has remained mum about this line, leaving fans to speculate. As of late, it appears that Swift and Styles have mended any potential rifts, and some even hold out hope that he might make a surprise appearance on “1989 (Taylor’s Version).”

‘Ole’ By John Newman And Calvin Harris (2016)

The breakup between Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris in 2016 sparked significant discussions in pop culture circles. It wasn’t just the split itself that caught everyone’s attention but also the singer’s swift transition to dating Marvel star Tom Hiddleston shortly after parting ways with Harris.

When Harris got wind of Swift’s new romance, he took to Twitter to vent his feelings publicly. While many eagerly anticipated Swift’s musical response to her breakup with Harris, rumours began swirling that Harris had preempted her with a song collaboration featuring John Newman.

The track, titled “Ole,” is believed by many to contain subtle references to Swift and Hiddleston. This includes a possible reference to Hiddleston’s famous Marvel character, Loki, in the song’s opening line:”Lowkey, you won’t tell none of your friends about me.”

‘History’ by One Direction (2016)

In contrast to “Perfect,” which openly nods to Taylor Swift, this One Direction song takes a more understated approach in its potential connection to the pop sensation. Unveiled in the aftermath of Harry Styles’s brief dalliance with Swift, the track reflects on a tumultuous relationship.

A particular passage alludes to the persistent rumours and conflicts that cast a shadow over their love: “All of the rumours, all of the fights/ But we always find a way to make it out alive/ Thought we were going strong/ Thought we were holding on…”

During their time together, Swift and Styles were no strangers to hurtful tabloid gossip, rendering this song another compelling contender as an ode influenced by Swift’s presence in Styles’s life.

‘A change of heart’ by the 1975 (2016)

Before Matty Healy and Swift’s controversial public relationship in 2023, rumours swirled about their brief fling in 2014. Their initial meeting occurred at The 1975 concert, where Swift and Healy reportedly exchanged numbers. Subsequently, photographic evidence emerged of Swift donning a 1975 t-shirt while Matty sported a “1989” t-shirt. All these intriguing pieces suggest a connection.

Released in 2016, “A Change of Heart” by The 1975 has been speculated by fans to be inspired by Swift and their short-lived romance. While Healy has danced around the subject when asked about the song’s muse, an insider close to him confided to Page Six that “A Change of Heart” indeed drew inspiration from Swift, among others. As their most recent romance abruptly ended in June 2023, fans eagerly await the possibility of new songs inspired by their tumultuous relationship.

‘Ever Since New York’ by Harry Styles (2017)

Just like Taylor Swift, Harry Styles didn’t limit his artistic exploration of their relationship to just one song. Following his departure from One Direction, Styles thrilled fans worldwide with the release of his highly-anticipated debut solo album in 2017.

Among the standout tracks, one song captured the hearts of many listeners. Titled “Ever Since New York,” this heartfelt song sees the British vocalist delving into the intricacies of a past relationship centred in the bustling metropolis: “Brooklyn saw me, empty avenues. There’s no water inside this swimming pool. Almost over, that’s enough from you.” Considering Swift’s well-documented affection for the Big Apple and their frequent appearances together in the city during their romance, it’s highly probable that Swift played a significant role in inspiring this poignant composition. After all, New York served as the backdrop for their brief romance.

‘Him’ by Harry Styles (2017)

Now, if we’re on the hunt for a Harry Styles song that blatantly nods to Swift, we need look no further than his unreleased track, “Him.” In this gem of a song, Styles hints at being someone’s “wildest dreams,” which, as Swift aficionados will recall, is the title of one of her own songs. Styles doesn’t stop there; he also croons, “I was with you when you wrote that line,” a lyrical reference to Swift’s songwriting prowess. Regrettably, “Him” remains in the vault, an untapped treasure trove of musical storytelling.

‘Swish Swish’ by Katy Perry (2017)

It’s not just the gentlemen crooning about Swift; Katy Perry joins the ranks. The Taylor Swift-Katy Perry feud ignited in 2014, triggered by Swift’s release of “Bad Blood,” an anthem that was unofficially confirmed to be directed at Perry. This feud’s genesis is attributed to Katy’s hiring of several members from Taylor’s tour staff, an act perceived by Swift as a form of ‘sabotage.’ While Taylor elaborated on this in an interview with Rolling Stone, she refrained from mentioning Perry by name.

For years, fans eagerly anticipated Perry’s response to “Bad Blood,” and the moment arrived in 2017 with the release of “Swish Swish.” Within the song, Perry opines about her adversary being outmoded and irrelevant. The accompanying music video further amplifies references to Swift, echoing elements from the “Bad Blood” video and teasing a “catastrophe” before its launch, a nod to Swift’s character in the aforementioned video. However, fret not, for these two pop icons have since reconciled, with Perry even making an appearance in the music video for “You Need to Calm Down.”

‘Famous’ by Kanye West (2016)

Wrapping up our list is a legendary showdown between two titans of the music industry. To uncover the origins of “Famous,” we must rewind to the very beginning. It all began in 2009, during the MTV Video Music Awards, as Taylor Swift took the stage to accept the award for Best Female Video for her hit “You Belong With Me.” In a moment that etched itself into pop culture history, Kanye West interrupted her acceptance speech.

Swift, a mere 19 years old at the time, found the experience demoralising, believing that the audience’s boos were directed at her. This incident would later take centre stage in her 2020 documentary, Miss Americana, shedding light on its profound impact on her mental well-being.

In the aftermath, Swift’s popularity and sales only soared. In 2016, Kanye West released “Famous,” a track in which he rapped, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex” and infamously claimed, “I made that b*tch famous.” The latter line alluded to their 2009 VMAs encounter. Notably, the song’s music video featured nude models styled to resemble various celebrities, including Swift.

Just four days later, Swift seemed to allude to this controversy during her acceptance speech at the 58th Grammy Awards, where she clinched the Album of the Year award for “1989”. She voiced her sentiments, remarking, “There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame.”

In response to these developments, Kim Kardashian released footage seemingly portraying Swift’s approval of the controversial line, although Swift contended that the clip did not tell the entire story. Subsequently, the full video emerged, clarifying that Swift had not consented to the part insinuating that West had propelled her to stardom. Throughout her “Look What You Made Me Do” video and her “Reputation” album, Swift made various references to both West and Kardashian, ensuring this chapter remained an indelible part of her musical journey.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

– What did Taylor Swift give Olivia Rodrigo?

Taylor Swift sent Rodrigo a handwritten note and gifts in March 2021. “She gave me this ring because she said she wore one just like it when she wrote ‘Red’ and she wanted me to have one like it and all of this amazing stuff,” Rodrigo told Sirius XM’s “The Morning Mashup” at the time. ”She, like, hand-wrapped these gifts.”

– What’s the connection between Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo?

Taylor Swift was seemingly becoming a mentor for Olivia Rodrigo, but the duo’s relationship appeared to hit a snag after Rodrigo released her second single, “Deja Vu,” in April 2021. Some listeners pointed out similarities to Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” — a song Olivia Rodrigo admitted she used as inspiration while writing her album.

– Which of Olivia Rodrigo’s songs is about Taylor Swift?

“The Grudge” from Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album “Guts”, is rumoured to be about her feud with Taylor Swift. The lyrics of “The Grudge” start with the words “I have nightmares each week ’bout that Friday in May/ One phone call from you and my entire world was changed” — which have been speculated to be about Rodrigo being required to credit Swift on the song “Deja Vu” from Rodrigo’s debut album “Sour”. Other Olivia Rodrigo songs believed to reference Taylor Swift include “Vampire”.

– How old is Olivia Rodrigo?

Olivia is born on February 20, 2003. She’s 20 years old.

Hero and featured imagCourtesy es: Instagram/@TaylorSwift and @OliviaRodrigo

This story first appeared on Prestige Malaysia.

Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘The Grudge’ and other songs believed to be about Taylor Swift

Tracy has been in the media and publishing industry for 9 years, and feels she couldn't have chosen a better career. At Burda Luxury, she writes lifestyle, pop culture, entertainment, travel and more. When she's not at work, she's spending time with her Indie fur babies (Gypsy & Freya), plotting (or on) her next travel adventure, or buying an over priced iced coffee with no regrets. She's a free spirit who loves to connect with new people and romanticise life.

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