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The Tiger

The Student News Site of Elmwood Park High School

The Tiger

The Student News Site of Elmwood Park High School

The Tiger

Above is the 2024 girls soccer team. Their record being 9-2 with 1 tie.
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Which Taylor Swift Ex Inspired the Best Song?


Even among her individual and monumental success, Taylor Swift’s romantic relationships have been the focus of the media for years.

While sometimes obtrusive and objectifying, most fans love speculating and psychoanalyzing lyrics to find connections. The rawness and relatability of each song is what makes Taylor’s music so unique and popular among her targeted audience.

While we’re appreciating her ability to articulate universal emotions, we should also thank the exes for inspiring these songs. Thank you exes, even if you hate the songs!

Joe Jonas

Song: Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift and Joe Jonas at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.

Lili: 7/10 = The shade that Taylor Swift threw at “Mr. Perfectly Fine” (aka Joe Jonas) was perfectly given. Breaking up with someone on the phone, especially in 30 seconds, deserves an upbeat pop song. “Goodbye Mr. Perfectly Fine” is a lyric that stands out to me because it’s like she’s moving on from their relationship. Although I think this song is fun to sing in the car with your friends after a breakup, I don’t think it holds up to some of the other songs.
Yeimi: 6/10 = Swift’s lyricism is the reason her music speaks to me so much. In comparison to her other songs, Mr. Perfectly Fine falls lyrically flat. It’s a fun song – it shades on “Mr. Perfectly Fine” for moving on so quickly and being “perfectly fine”. With a fun beat that resolves into the popular pop theme of “you’ll miss me but then you’ll be too late”, it’s a great song. However, in terms of Best Ex-Inspired Song, there are better options.

Taylor Lautner

Song: Back to December (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner at a hockey game in 2009.

Lili: 10/10 = Words cannot describe my feelings for this song. This song represents the raw emotions that go into a breakup as an apology to Taylor Lautner. “But if we loved again, I swear I’d love you right” is the best lyric in the song because it shows how looking back at a past relationship can make you see your mistakes. It is the staple of what I believe to be right person, wrong time, and the best relationship Taylor’s ever had.
Yeimi: 10/10 = This song is easily one of the most heart-wrenching songs she has ever created. It’s about owning up to your faults. It’s about reflecting on the role you had in hurting someone you cared about and wanting, so desperately, to reciprocate the intensity of their love but being unable to. Writing the song, not as a victim, but as someone in the wrong, makes it all the more relatable and one of my all-time favorites.

John Mayer

Song: Dear John (Taylor’s Version)

John Mayer and Taylor Swift at the Staples Center in 2009.

Lili: 8/10 = John Mayer was the worst boyfriend ever. This song is a staple as to how bad he actually was. “Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with” just defined how toxic their relationship was. She deserved better than to date him and ruin her young years.
Yeimi: 9/10 = There are many aspects of this relationship to unpack, but one evident in this song is being taken advantage of. Where the power balance in a relationship is off, one partner vulnerable, the other almost tyrannical. This situation is often seen between many barely-legal girls when dating drastically-older men. Taylor, through vivid detail and raw emotion, articulates the difficulty of breaking away making this song a serious contender for best ex-inspired song.

Cory Monteith

Song: Mine (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift and Cory Monteith were rumored to be dating in the spring of 2010.

Lili: 9/10 = “Mine” is a song that everyone can relate to. It’s about imagining a relationship in your head and daydreaming of what could’ve been. Taylor and Cory went on a date but realized that what they had was more of a friendship. He treated her like a princess, even as friends, until the day he died.
Yeimi: 3/10 = I don’t see much correlation between Cory and “Mine”. However, Taylor’s storytelling and graphic details make the song really cute and wholesome. In relation to Best Ex-Inspired Song, it lacks intrigue. The song sounds more like a diary entry born from deluded imagination than anything else.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Song: All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)

Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal grabbing brunch in Brooklyn in 2010.

Lili: 8.5/10 = The 10 minute version was kept from us until the release of Red (Taylor’s Version) and it is 10 minutes of greatness. Jake treated Taylor so wrong, and even stole her scarf (which he still hasn’t given back). When she sings this song, you can hear the pain in her voice about how her relationship crumbled and how she blames herself for the breakup. How can a man fumble a woman as amazing as Taylor and then steal her scarf?
Yeimi: 10/10 = There’s storytelling, metaphors, dialogue, imagery, and other literary devices that would please any English teacher. In the span of 10 minutes, Taylor takes us through the ups-and-downs of their relationship, sparing no detail (literally). Even though super detailed, you see every verse perfectly and feel every hurt universally.

Harry Styles

Song: Style (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift and Harry Styles are first spotted together on November 15, 2012. The two only dated for a few months.

Lili: 6/10 = This song is a large reference to Harry Styles, just by the song name. As I loved their relationship, I think this song wasn’t one of her best about one of her exes. I love the fun, pop vibe that she has in the song and her lyrics about their dates. The lyric, “I can’t stop thinking about you and I” shows just how well Harry treated Taylor when they dated. I would’ve liked to her more about her emotions during their relationship (personally).
Yeimi: 10/10 = One word: Pop Icon. She details this whirlwind secret romance and how it’s physically impossible to stay away. It’s exciting and it’s exhilarating. Throughout the song, you can almost feel how fun their relationship was. Personally, this “James Dean daydream” is my absolute favorite ex.

Calvin Harris

Song: Dancing With Our Hands Tied

Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift walking out of a restaurant together.

Lili: 5/10 = “Dancing with our Hands Tied” is a joyful, pop song that can easily be aimed at Calvin Harris. The lyric, “Picture of your face in an invisible locket” is a reference to the locket Harris gave Taylor. This song gives me the vibes more of a breakup song about how their relationship was falling apart. I think if Swift was going for a stronger breakup song, I would’ve liked to hear more of the raw and relatable emotions.
Yeimi: 1/10 = I don’t like this song. It just it doesn’t speak to me. The lyrics are in true Taylor style, well-written. However, this song, and similarly their relationship, is nothing earth-shattering.

Tom Hiddleston

Song: Getaway Car

Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift in Suffolk, England, visiting Hiddleston’s parents.

Lili: 4/10 = This song has one of the best bridges in Taylor Swift’s entire discography, but it falls a little short when we talk about the best song about an ex. The song tells a story about her leaving a relationship to be with someone else but ending up in the same situation. The lyric, “cause us traitors never win,” shows how even when leaving for someone else, she knows that she is going to be unhappy. I think this song just isn’t up to par with some of the others.
Yeimi: 8/10 = This song is another lyrical masterpiece with metaphors and imagery. It alludes to Swift leaving Calvin Harris for Tom Hiddleston, and then leaving the latter for someone else. It’s basically saying “If I did it for you, I’ll do it to you.” It’s one of my overall favorites from this album.

Joe Alwyn

Song: Daylight

Taylor Swift skips the Grammy Awards to attend the BAFTAs with Joe Alwyn.

Lili: 9/10 = Taylor Swift’s love songs are all songs that we love to listen to on repeat. When I think of “Daylight”, I think of someone realizing they are truly falling in love after bad relationships. Joe Alwyn was a gentlemen when he was dating Taylor and even refused to break up with her when she told him she didn’t want to be with him. The lyric, “I don’t wanna look at anyone else now that I saw you” really shows how much she loved him. This song is a strong contender when we talk about which ex inspired the best song, but there is still a better option.
Yeimi: 10/10 = This song is an anthem to all hopeless romantics who thought love was all-consuming burning red passion only to find something better, a warm and golden kind of love. It’s not a rush, it’s comfort. It’s not Red, it’s “Daylight”.
“There’s something to be proud of about moving on and realizing that real love shines bright like daylight. Maybe I’ll write a whole album about that kind of love if I ever find it.” – Taylor Swift, 2012.

Work Cited

  • Allen, Erica. “All Taylor Swift Songs About Conor Kennedy.” Music Industry How To, Accessed 14 November 2023.
  • Allen, Erica. “All Taylor Swift Songs About Cory Monteith.” Music Industry How To, 18 July 2023, Accessed 14 November 2023.
  • Gibson, Kelsie. “Taylor Swift’s Love Songs Written About Joe Alwyn.” People, 8 April 2023, Accessed 14 November 2023.
  • Harper, Stephanie. “Which Taylor Swift Songs Are About Calvin Harris?” Distractify, 23 November 2021, Accessed 14 November 2023.
  • “Taylor Swift Dating History – Taylor Swift Ex-Boyfriend History.” Cosmopolitan, 9 October 2023, Accessed 14 November 2023.
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About the Contributors
Yeimi Alday
Yeimi Alday, Co-Editor
Hi! My name is Yeimi Alday. I'm a junior at Elmwood Park High School, and I am the co-editor of The Tiger. In school, I am the president of the Book & Film Club and a member of Key Club and National Honors Society. Outside of school, I am a violinist in The Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and The People’s Music School. In college, I wish to major in Communications with minors in Business Administration and Music Education.
Liliana Corbett
Liliana Corbett, EPTV Sports/Staff Reporter
Hi! My name is Liliana Corbett, and I am a senior. This is my first year on the EPTV team and my role on the team is sports updates and creating graphics. During my time at Elmwood Park High School, I am usually managing either boys’ volleyball or wrestling, and I am also a member of National Honor Society. My favorite singer is Taylor Swift, and my favorite album of hers is either Folklore or Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). In my free time, I enjoy watching sports, going to concerts, and hanging out with my friends. After high school, I plan to attend college and study either Sports Journalism or Exercise Science.
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