High Infidelity

Besides adoring this song melodically, lyrically I think this song has many story lines within it. I’m going to bring up three different instances throughout this breakdown that are definitely options to how to read this song, but like most of the songs on this album it’s obvious she is putting together events in her life, creating overlapping instances and creating one story line – though they are inspired by many.

Lyrical Interpretation

Lock broken, slur spoken
Wound open, game token

Lock broken – What do locks do? Keep privacy, keep secrets, keep things secure and protected.
Slur spoken – unclear conversation, a mumble, a miscommunication. A slur can be harmful and offensive. But both of these things you can not repair or not take back.
Wound open – actively bleeding, open to infection, at its most painful stage. Again, it has to be fixed – healed over time – it doesn’t close right away.
Game token – a game token isn’t actual money. You can’t buy anything with it except for specific games you are playing. They are valueless outside the vicinity you are in… but also once it goes into a machine, it isn’t returned to you.

All of these things cannot really be fixed or closed immediately. Game tokens typically can’t be returned to cash, which is of value outside of the vicinity you are in, but tokens are worthless to everywhere else but the place they are used.

I didn’t know you were keeping count

I didn’t know you were keeping tabs of all these mistakes I made.
The things that were broken, the elements that couldn’t be repaired – one person is implied to take count while the other perhaps moves on without making a history of the others mistakes.

Rain soaking, blind hoping
You said I was freeloading
I didn’t know you were keeping count

Rain soaking – when the times got overwhelming, bad, and when the sun went away – Drenched and unable to carry on comfortably – and depending on what is discussed sometimes the rain does ruin things.
Blind hoping – without evidence, hoping everything turns out for the best even though you have nothing to prove that it will.

You said I was freeloading. This is exactly why I hate when people make fun of the idea of Paper Rings, and lines in Invisible String. These songs weren’t written to call Joe poor, they were because up until this point Taylor had been with ‘rich snobs ‘the elite’ who either wanted her money [probably] or flashed their fancy cars and gifts to show her love. This time it was different for her. It was about the love not the material. So of course she wrote songs and lines about money not being priority after this relationship, they called her a freeloader.

High infidelity
Put on your records and regret me

Cheating. In what sense?

You put on your music, or make your music, about how you regret me.
I actually have a lot of thoughts about this – because it could be to someone who makes or produces music she is talking to – in this sense I can see this being about her masters and getting them back.

Another could be a metaphor for life- carrying on – but I very much think this line may be tied to another artist / songwriter / producer. Maybe someone she was involved with romantically or just business relations.

I bent the truth too far tonight

But I bent the truth too far, I didn’t tell you the real truth, I was hiding something, I was dancing around telling you the truth, but I couldn’t get myself there. Maybe she was asked a question and didn’t answer it fully.
Again, where were you April 29th? – is a future line – the answer may have been the ‘bent truth’

I was dancing around, dancing around it
High infidelity
Put on your headphones and burn my city

Put on your music, way of ignoring the world and trash my name.
Or trash my name in my own city as you listen to the only narrative you’ll accept, which is controlled by you.

Your picket fence is sharp as knives
I was dancing around, dancing around it

So we know picket fence is always a code for American Dream landscape. The perfect family, home, future, envisioned in the 1950s. The picket fence dream. The dream you painted for me is my own death, is dangerous, isn’t all that you promised it would be – I was dancing around it – I was dancing around danger and fire – and I didn’t choose it.

As for the masters discourse – The promised dream at the beginning of her career wasn’t as lovely as she thought it would be. She was young and desired a record label but didn’t think about the hostage of her writing. So she agreed to the created dream, but realized it wasn’t a dream at all.

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

For the masters discourse, I think there is an aspect of that for sure, but I think again – this song is loaded actually with 3 different situations. I see the situation with Calvin Harris, specifically since the chorus references putting on records, burning cities as he performs his music in her home town, but I also see Tom Hiddleston, since many songs pointed to her cheating on him [that she’s written]. I also see this idea of ‘cheating’ on her label when she met Jack and saw the ‘dreams in his eyes’ to produce music with her and allowing her to break free from an entrapment she was in within her old record label. So honestly, all of it – yes.

And the constellations in his eyes- was shown in the Lavender Haze music video.

Storm coming, good husband
Bad omen
Dragged my feet right down the aisle

The calm before the storm – the perceived perfect dream conjured up will only produce a storm later. It was rumored Calvin was going to / or did propose to Taylor. We even get a glimpse of this in Champagne Problems.

Sometimes you just don’t know the answer
‘Til someone’s on their knees and asks you

It seemed like the dream she wanted, but it had bad undertones and a promised failure of a future. I dragged my feet down the aisle of the thought, it wasn’t what I wanted though I thought it was.

But also the nervous stomach feelings you get before you make a decision that will impact your life – the storm coming, a good ‘stated’ husband but a bad omen [blood moonlit]. I did these things because I was told to. I was looking for the dream I signed up for – but this wasn’t the way I envisioned it.

At the house lonely, good money
I’d pay if you’d just know me

I’d be at the house by myself, but the money between us would be good. Originally, I would have paid for you to know my name. I would have wanted to be the one you wanted, and it felt right originally… but not after I got in it.

This also I go back and forth about. I signed up for this ‘relationship’ but I ended up feeling alone – however the money was good and stability was good. I just wanted you to know my name.

This could also be the masters discussion – as if I signed up for this empty handed relationship – got the money I wanted, but at the time I just wanted you to know me [even if this is speaking to the fans], so I compromised a fulfilling label, journey, for money and recognition, because I just wanted to make it.

Seemed like the right thing at the time

When she met Scott she was so desperately wanting to find a label to let her write her own songs. She would have done anything, even if that meant sign a contract with poor artists conditions and compensation because she just wanted the fame, the opportunity and the fans.

You know there’s many different ways that you can kill the one you love
The slowest way is never loving them enough
Do you really want to know where I was April 29th?
Do I really have to tell you how he brought me back to life?

One time I wrote about the chaotic tweets that Calvin posted after they broke up and these first two lines solidify this song for me. He loved her, he wanted to propose to her, and she couldn’t love him in the way he wanted in the end. She met someone April 29th, and her lifeless body felt life again. Basically this reads to me she was going through the motions and passionless.

BUT ALSO, again with the masters theory, she felt in such a bind with her last label, that the thought of recording and owning your own music, having your own say in what goes on an album? Dreams realigning – to what you once thought prior. Again, I passionately believe this is about 3 instances. She lately has been loading almost all of her songs with more than one instance and more about multiple similar scenarios that can metaphorically be connected to one another.

But these lines also kind of reference Tolerate it, and Bejeweled. This idea of the tolerated love being the most detrimental. Because it still gives one-sided hope – yet under appreciation.

Photo Representation

Your picket fence is sharp as knives
I was dancing around, dancing around it

Storm coming, good husband
Bad omen
Dragged my feet right down the aisle

I went back and forth on so many concepts for this but decided to mix a few ideas – as well as creating a space that felt inescapable unless you went through the aisle of knives. Dragging your feet through it- knowing the dangers around you but not having a safe way out unless you face the fear.

Thank you Nathan for helping me take this in a scary elevator shaft [lol]

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