Behind the Dizzying Love Story in “Down Bad” by Taylor Swift

Now I’m down bad crying at the gym / Everything comes out teenage petulance, Taylor Swift sings in The Tortured Poets Department cut, “Down Bad.” It’s one of many Swift songs about a broken heart but with an extraterrestrial twist. Check out the meaning behind the song, below.

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Behind the Meaning of “Down Bad” by Taylor Swift

Like many of Swift’s cleverest songs, she tells a story through the use of an extended metaphor. Though, on the surface, Swift is singing about an extraterrestrial force coming to take her away, it’s actually about the surprising end of a relationship.

Did you really beam me up?
In a cloud of sparkling dust
Just to do experiments on
Tell me I was the chosen one

“The metaphor in ‘Down Bad’ is that I was comparing sort of the idea of being love bombed,” Swift explained of the song. “Where someone rocks your world and dazzles you and then just kind of abandons you.

This girl is abducted by aliens but she wanted to stay with them and then when they drop her back off in her hometown, she’s like, ‘Wait, no, where are you going,'” Swift continued. “‘I liked it there! It was weird but it was cool. Come back!'”

Though she doesn’t name the “someone” who did the “love bombing,” we can assume it is a reference to something in Swift’s life. Most of her songs are autobiographical and so it stands to reason this one would be the same.

Now I’m down bad crying at the gym
Everything comes out teenage petulance
“What if I can’t have him”
“I might just die, it would make no difference”

By that metaphor’s standards, someone came into Swift’s life and swept her up in a dizzying love story. Just as soon as Swift got comfortable, the rug was pulled out from underneath her, leaving her down bad and trying to pick up the pieces.

Revisit “Down Bad,” below.

Photo by John Medina/Getty Images

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