Taylor Swift – “cardigan” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

Taylor Swift’s “cardigan” is a journey through the complexities of young love, nostalgia, and self-discovery. The song reflects on a past relationship with a mix of tenderness and regret. Swift uses the metaphor of an old cardigan to symbolize how she felt in the relationship – familiar, yet overlooked, until being cherished once again. It’s about feeling undervalued but eventually realizing one’s worth.

The song likely draws from Swift’s own experiences, weaving personal emotions with universal themes. It’s a narrative of growing up and learning the hard lessons of love and loss. Swift crafted this song to resonate with anyone who’s ever felt lost and then found, in love and in life.

Have you ever felt like an old cardigan under someone’s bed? Then forgotten, only to be rediscovered as a favorite? There’s a whole world in Taylor Swift’s “cardigan” that mirrors these feelings, waiting for you to explore. Let’s unwrap the layers of this beautifully complex song together.


“cardigan” Lyrics Meaning

“Vintage tee, brand new phone, High heels on cobblestones,” sets the stage. It’s youthful, vibrant, a mix of old and new – much like the memories Swift is about to dive into. “When you are young, they assume you know nothing,” she sings, hinting at the underestimated depth of young love and understanding.

“But I knew you,” Swift repeats. It’s a powerful affirmation of intimacy and connection, despite the world’s assumptions. This line bridges the gap between feeling unrecognized and deeply knowing someone.

The chorus, “And when I felt like I was an old cardigan, Under someone’s bed, You put me on and said I was your favorite,” is the heart of the song. It’s a metaphor for feeling discarded yet eventually cherished. It captures the essence of rediscovering love and self-worth.

“Chase two girls, lose the one,” Swift addresses the pain of being an option, not a priority. It’s a common thread in young love – the confusion, the choices, and often, the regrets.

“To kiss in cars and downtown bars, Was all we needed,” brings us to the simplicity of youthful romance. But “You drew stars around my scars, But now I’m bleedin’,” reveals the double-edged sword of being vulnerable.

“I knew you’d come back to me” – it’s both hopeful and heartbreaking. Swift acknowledges the cyclical nature of such relationships, where endings and beginnings blur.

The Story Behind “cardigan”

Swift, known for her autobiographical approach, likely drew from her own experiences. Her state of mind seemed to be one of reflection, looking back on past relationships and the lessons learned. This period in her life was about understanding the complexities of love and the pain of growing up.

She was also reevaluating her public persona, navigating the scrutiny and assumptions made about her. This theme is evident in the lyrics “When you are young, they assume you know nothing.” It’s a nod to being underestimated and misunderstood, both in love and by the public.

In “cardigan,” Swift isn’t just recounting a love story. She’s dissecting the very nature of memory, nostalgia, and the bittersweet process of growing up. It’s a song born from a place of introspection and maturity, a testament to her growth as an artist and an individual.

The song, part of her album “Folklore,” marked a shift in her musical style. It’s more subdued, indie, and introspective compared to her previous pop-centric albums. This change reflects her evolving perspective on life and love, moving away from the fairy-tale narratives to more nuanced, gray-scale storytelling.

In summary, “cardigan” is more than just a song about a past love. It’s a window into Swift’s soul, a reflection of her journey, and a universal story of growing up, getting hurt, and finding oneself again.