Taylor Swift singing in the Eras Tour
(Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

Taylor Swift Compares Matty Healy Relationship to an Alien Event in ‘Down Bad’

Among the 31 tracks of Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department, plenty have gone viral, including “Down Bad.” While it’s an upbeat heartbreak song that anybody can dance to, it also speaks about love, loss, and abandonment in a literal and metaphorical way!

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Weeks after the album’s release, fans are still diligently deciphering almost all the tracks, including one of the most popular ones, “Down Bad.” In the first part of the song, Swift sings, “Did you really beam me up/In a cloud of sparkling dust/Just to do experiments?” referencing alien abductions overtly, with a hidden meaning.

When this meaning is connected to romance, which Swift does not get tired of writing about, the line describes someone feeling all the love and happiness for a person not up for a serious relationship, so it only ends up as an experiment. She then sings at the end of verse 1, “Then sent me back where I came from.” Again, the literal alien abduction meaning aside, this refers to the feeling of being dropped after the other person got what they wanted.

Swift also has a song called “Right Where You Left Me,” a bonus track from Evermore, which is about being left behind and unable to move on and move forward. The last line in verse 1 describes how Swift (if she did base this song on her personal experience) was in love and then safely yet painfully sent back to the same feeling of agony she once felt.

“For a moment, I knew cosmic love,” means that despite the brief moment, it is undeniably a romantic bliss. Describing love as comic conveys that the feelings were intense, vast, and powerful. Additionally, Swift’s trainer, Kirk Myers, has shared in an interview with Vogue that the singer-songwriter’s workout routine for the Eras Tour is no joke. This might have inspired the chorus, “Now I’m down bad, crying at the gym,” which fans love jamming into, especially those on TikTok.

The deciphering doesn’t stop there! Swift might be a global star, but when it comes to being heartbroken, we are all alike, making it fairly relatable when she sings, “Everything comes out teenage petulance/F*** it if I can’t have him/I might just die, it would make no difference.”

Yet, the line “Starin’ at the sky, come back and pick me up,” indicates that she’d still do it all again.

She continues this alien metaphor in the last 4 lines in verse 2, “In a field in my same old town/That somehow seems so hollow now?/They’ll say I’m nuts if I talk about/The existence of you.” The first two lines insist that something is missing despite being home—the dazzling happiness is absent, and no one can understand her experience.

Who among Taylor Swift’s exes is “Down Bad” about?

Although no names have been confirmed about who this song is about, the bridge seems to speak for itself. No names were dropped, although it is possible that “Down Bad” was inspired by Swift’s brief romance with Matty Healy. “I loved your hostile takeovers” and “All your indecent exposures”? These lines scream Matty Healy, whose on-stage behavior has resulted in multiple headlines. The past relationship between Swift and Healy left a lot of people confused. Many questioned Swift’s choice and called Healy a “downgrade” after her relationship with Mr. London Boy, Joe Alwyn.

Swift herself is known to be an avid fan of social media and seeing what her fans feel (which is extremely fundamental to her), and the confusion that she might have seen from her fans might have inspired the lyrics, “I’ll build you a fort on some planet/Where they can all understand it.” Healy might have ended up as a loss to Swift, but a heartbreak song that we can dance to, and where aliens are used as metaphors, is definitely not a painful loss!


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Author
Jeanne Mariz Fetalco
A 20-something-year-old who is a romance, shonen, and slice-of-life enthusiast. A writer, former university instructor, an avid anime fan, a Swiftie by heart, and someone who will drop anything (except work) for a good TV show, movie, manga, or book. Her love for anime has led her into situations where she argues with 10-year-olds over whether Neji Hyuga's death was justifiable or not in Naruto. A good day for her is having her regular coffee and none of her favorite characters have died ;)