Taylor Swift – “​cowboy like me” 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.

Alright, folks, if you’re looking for the quick and dirty rundown of Taylor Swift’s “cowboy like me,” here it is. The song dives deep into a relationship between two people who are like ‘cowboys,’ hustling their way through life. The tennis courts, the airport bars, and the rich folks—they’re all metaphors. This is about a love that thrives on deception but turns into something genuine. A pair of grifters who never thought they’d find love, now contemplating the “forever” they once considered a con. Taylor’s giving us a look into the complexities of a love built on a shaky foundation but which ends up surprisingly stable.

Hungry for more? Keep reading to get the full scope of this lyrical roller coaster.

“cowboy like me” Lyrics Meaning

First off, let’s get into that tennis court. It’s “covered up with some tent-like thing.” Right away, we’re in a world of illusions, where surfaces hide what’s really going on. Taylor Swift initially presents love as “a dangerous game,” implying that the stakes are high, and vulnerability is risky.

As we move along to lines like “I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve,” we understand that both characters are schemers. “Takes one to know one, you’re a cowboy like me,” Taylor says, revealing they’re two of a kind. Here, being a ‘cowboy’ isn’t about galloping on a horse; it’s about being a scam artist, a drifter, a hustler.

“Perched in the dark, telling all the rich folks anything they wanna hear” expands on this hustle. These characters are deceivers who make people hear what they want to hear in order to get ahead. Yet, when they meet each other, there’s a moment of realization: “It could be love, we could be the way forward, and I know I’ll pay for it.” Suddenly, the game changes. They might be scamming the world, but they can’t scam their feelings for each other.

The song dives into the darker side with lines like “And the skeletons in both our closets plotted hard to fuck this up.” Both have a past they can’t escape from, yet despite this, they still find something beautiful and vulnerable. “Forever is the sweetest con,” Taylor ends, suggesting that even though they’ve conned others, the biggest, sweetest deception might be convincing themselves that their love could last forever.

The Story Behind “cowboy like me”

When Taylor Swift wrote this song, she was likely reflecting on relationships that are built on facades but then develop into something real. It’s a mature take on love, showing how even relationships that start with shaky grounds can evolve. Given the phases of her life and music, this song fits well into her discography as an exploration of nuanced relationships that defy easy definitions. It’s as if Taylor’s telling us, you might start as ‘cowboys,’ but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn into soulmates.

Adding to that, Taylor Swift has a knack for storytelling, and “cowboy like me” fits snugly into her musical narrative. By the time she penned this song, she had already tackled themes of love, heartbreak, and self-discovery. This song is like an advanced course, showing us that love isn’t always straightforward; it’s often messy and complicated, but that doesn’t make it any less genuine.

If you consider the album “Evermore,” where the song is featured, it’s easy to see Taylor diving deeper into the complexities of the human condition. “Evermore” as a whole paints a picture of melancholy, resilience, and unexpected hope, and “cowboy like me” slots right into that ethos. The song presents love not as a fairy tale, but as a complex painting with shades of gray, much like life itself. It’s a remarkable development in Taylor’s songwriting, showcasing how her understanding of love has evolved over time.