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Did Taylor Swift Admit to Emotional Cheating on ‘Guilty as Sin?’ From ‘The Tortured Poets Department’?

The release of Taylor Swift’s new album, The Tortured Poets Department, has fans trying to decode the meaning behind every new song — and some are speculating that “Guilty as Sin?” could be an admission of emotional cheating.

The ninth track on the album, which dropped on Friday, April 19, begins with Swift wishing for freedom while stuck in a failing relationship — presumably with her ex Joe Alwyn — that’s leaving her feeling stifled.

“My boredom’s bone-deep, this cage was once just fine,” she sings in the first verse. “Am I allowed to cry? I dream of cracking locks, throwing my life to the wolves or the ocean rocks.”

She then begins musing over “crashing into” someone else, who fans speculate could be The 1975 frontman Matty Healy. Swift wonders if the feeling is mutual, singing, “What if he’s written ‘mine’ on my upper thigh only in my mind?” she asks.

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After being briefly linked in 2014 when they were spotted wearing each other’s merch and attending each other’s concerts, Swift and Healy reconnected professionally in 2022 to work on Swift’s album Midnights. She took the stage for a surprise performance at a 1975 concert in January 2022 to perform her single “Anti-Hero” for the first time. Swift and Alwyn called it quits in April 2023, and less than a month later, Healy and Swift were seen kissing and holding hands after he attended a handful of her Eras Tour shows.

“Guilty as Sin?” meanwhile, seemingly postulates about jumping back into an old fling. “One slip and falling back into the hedge maze / Oh what a way to die,” she says. “I keep recalling things we never did / How I long for our tryst / Without even touching his skin, how can I be guilty as sin?”

Despite her emotions, Swift spends the second verse promising that she keeps “her longings locked in lowercase inside a vault,” as someone once told her there’s “no such thing as bad thoughts, only your actions talk.”

Still, her desires get the best of her. “These fatal fantasies giving way to labored breath taking all of me we’ve already done it in my head,” the second verse continues. “If it’s make-believe why does it feel like a vow we’ll both uphold somehow?”

By the bridge, Swift confesses that even her bedsheets are “amazed” she’s “screamed his name” as his ‘waves” crash “over her gray.”

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Taylor Swift and Matty Healy Robert Kamau/GC Images

In the final moments of the song, Swift considers her options — keeping quiet or being honest. She turns the conversation to how she will be perceived by those who will scrutinize her choices.

“What if I rolled the stone away? / They’re going to crucify me anyway,” she declares. “What if the way you hold me is actually what’s holy? / If long-suffering propriety is what they want from me, they don’t know how you’ve haunted me so stunningly.”

While Swift and Healy embarked on a whirlwind romance in spring 2023, their relationship was short-lived. After Healy found himself in hot water when past controversial remarks he made about Swift’s friend Ice Spice resurfaced online, the pair called it quits amidst the drama.

If “Guilty as Sin?” is hinting at an emotional affair, it wouldn’t be the first time Swift has sung about infidelity. A bonus track off 2022’s Midnights, “High Infidelity,” also touches on the subject, where she avoids telling a partner her whereabouts after a night on the town.

“Do you really want to know where I was April 29th?” she asks. “Do I really have to chart the constellations in his eyes?”

She also plays with the idea in Reputation’s “Gorgeous,” a song largely rumored to be about meeting Alwyn. “I’ve got a boyfriend, he’s older than us / I haven’t seen him in a couple of months,” she teases before later warning her new love interest to “think about the consequence of touching my hand in a darkened room.”

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In the song’s bridge, she considers going home with someone new. “You make me so happy, it turns back to sad / There’s nothing I hate more than what I can’t have / Guess I’ll just stumble on home to my cats alone / Unless you wanna come along?”

Although Swift has not confirmed who “Guilty as Sin?” — or any of TTPD’s songs — are about, she opened up about writing her 11th studio album during a Eras Tour show in February, and how it served as a “lifeline” for her during a difficult time.

When the album his airwaves on Friday, she celebrated its release by sending a friendly reminder that the period of time is “over now” for Swift, and there is “nothing to avenge, no scores to settle, once wounds have healed.”

The Tortured Poets Department is out now.

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