"Delicate" finds Taylor Swift taking a hesitant approach to a budding romance during a rocky time in her life. She worries the intense media scrutiny will scare off her potential new beau, but this is not the case and he seems to be falling for her in return. This ain't for the best My reputation's never been worse, so You must like me for me
Some fans and reviewers have concluded that the subject of the song is Tom Hiddleston, with whom Taylor first hooked up with before breaking up with Calvin Harris. Others have speculated that the Pop Princess is talking about the start of her relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn, at a time when her public image had taken a battering over her feud against Kanye West and Kim Kardashian over the rapper's "Famous" lyrics and a beef with Calvin Harris following their split. It is likely that Taylor is singing about the same lover as on "Gorgeous". Both tunes reference her beau's blue eyes and significantly Joe's eyes are a bright shade of blue.
Speaking at the iHeartRadio reputation release party, Taylor had this to say about the track: "This is a song where the idea of reputation is definitely something that I play on for the entire album but when the album started off it's much more bombastic. 'I don't care what you say about me! I don't care say about my reputation. Blah.' But, like, then it hits this point on Track 5 where it's like what happens when you meet someone who you really want in your life and then you start worrying about what they've heard before they met you? You start to wonder like, 'Could something fake, like your reputation, affect something real like someone getting to know you?' You start to wonder how it all matters. This is the first point of vulnerability in the record where you're like, 'Oh, maybe this does actually matter a little bit,' and questioning the reality and the perception of a reputation and how much weight it actually has. So this is called 'Delicate.'"
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