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Breaking Down Taylor Swift’s Travis Kelce References in ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce appears to have his place in Taylor Swift’s new album, “The Tortured Poets Department.”

Taylor Swift, the superstar musician who took Chiefs Kingdom and the NFL by storm this past year, released her new album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” on Friday, April 19. The 16-song album had been highly anticipated since Swift announced its release date during her acceptance speech at the Grammys in February. Not only did Swift do a great job teasing the album leading up to its release, she also dropped a surprise 15-track bonus album that is directly connected to “The Tortured Poets Department.” The additional tracks on the release are labeled “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology” and can be listened to on all of the major music streaming platforms.

The big question surrounding the release of this new set of songs from Swift was about the subject matter of the lyrics. Would the new songs be all about her ex-lovers or would she make room for a song about her current relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce? We have our answer, and it should make Chiefs fans-turned-Swifties very happy.

It appears that one song in the initial 16-song release of “The Tortured Poets Department” and one song in “The Anthology” references football and her relationship with Kelce. While not directly naming names, the Chiefs and Kelce are seemingly subject matter in the lyrics. Without getting answers directly from Swift, these songs will be interpreted by fans and listeners without knowing their meaning with certainty. Most times when songs are released, artists don’t delve too much into their lyrics and let people take what they want from them. With that in mind, here’s what I see.

Swift talks about a feeling, likely love, that doesn’t happen very often between two people. The lyric about the hospital could be in reference to when Kelce was hurt just before Week 1 of the season, a game he ultimately missed when the Chiefs lost to the Detroit Lions. Maybe she was going to show up for the Week 1 game in Kansas City but chose not to since Kelce wouldn’t be playing. Ultimately, she came to support him at the Chiefs’ next home game against the Chicago Bears, which set the NFL and the entertainment world on fire.

The reference to “touch down,” her plane coming to Kansas City, and seeing Kelce scoring touchdowns makes perfect sense. I wouldn’t say Swift is calling out Kadarius Toney for his dropped passes against the Lions, but rather this would be calling her ex-lovers the amateurs. Kelce also caught a touchdown and gave the heart-hands gesture toward Swift in the Chiefs’ playoff win over the Buffalo Bills, and it makes sense she would reference that moment.

No doubt about it, this is about the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl. No need to overthink this one. People doubted the Chiefs could get back-to-back Super Bowl titles, especially during the midseason slump, but the Chiefs were able to prove the doubters wrong, much like Swift has done in proving her doubters wrong throughout her music career. The final line in the bridge references when they celebrated on the field after the Super Bowl victory and while Swift looked for the trophy, Kelce looked for her before going over to the stage. A beautiful moment, indeed.

This is blatantly about Kelce without saying his name. There was a video of players (including Kelce) being asked to play “Kiss, Marry, Kill” with Swift, Katy Perry and Ariana Grande. He chose to “kill” Grande, “kiss” Swift, and “marry” Perry. Swift appears to question his answer here, but it seems to have worked out in the end. When their relationship first became public, everyone was enamored with the way Kelce treated Swift, including opening car doors for her, holding her hand in public, etc. This song is an ode to Kelce and the chorus continues as she gushes about her new love.

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