‘Fresh Out the Slammer’ Lyrics Shed Light on Taylor Swift’s Relationship with Matty Healy Following Joe Alwyn. Did She Just Need A Friend With Benefit?

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Taylor Swift will tell you exactly why she rebounded with Matty Healy. On The Tortured Poets Department, Swift wrote a song, “Fresh Out the Slammer,” where she appears to explain what led her to rekindle her fling with Healy shortly after she and Joe Alwyn ended their six-year relationship.

Healy and Swift previously dated in 2015, so they have history. Swift referenced this when she sang: “Now pretty baby, I’m running back home to you. / Fresh out the slammer I know who my first call will be to.”

News of Swift and Alwyn’s breakup broke on April 8, 2023. On May 3, 2023, the first report of Swift dating The 1975’s Matty Healy emerged. Just days later, Healy flew 17 hours to attend Swift’s May 5 Eras tour concert in Nashville, Tennessee. Both Swift and Healy were on tour, and fans noticed that they each mouthed, “This one is about you. You know who you are. I love you,” during their shows that week.

Swift lyrically explores not just what drew her to Healy but her feelings immediately after her breakup from Alwyn. She references a partner who doesn’t understand her and the decay of their relationship, singing, “Splintered back in winter, silent dinners, bitter he was with her in dreams / Gray and blue and fights and tunnels, handcuffed to the spell I was under / For just one hour of sunshine / Years of labor, locks and ceilings / In the shade of how he was feeling.”

Swift continues her association of blue with Alwyn, which she also does in The Tortured Poets Department’s “So Long, London” (“I died on the altar waiting for the proof / You sacrificed us to the gods of your bluest days”).

Altogether, there are some interesting revelations Swift makes in the track. Here, the lyrics to “Fresh Out the Slammer” with possible references to Swift’s history or other lyrics added.

Now pretty baby, I’m running back home to you


Fresh out the slammer I know who my first call will be to

Fresh out the slammer

Another summer, taking cover, rolling thunder. He don’t understand me
Splintered back in winter, silent dinners, bitter he was with her in dreams
Gray and blue and fights and tunnels, handcuffed to the spell I was under
For just one hour of sunshine


Years of labor, locks and ceilings
In the shade of how he was feeling
But it’s gonna be all right, I did my time

A source spoke to Entertainment Tonight on April 11, 2023 about Swift and Alwyn’s differences being part of what led to their breakup. “Taylor and Joe are in totally different places in their lives right now,” the insider said. “It was more of Taylor’s decision to break up, but both of them realized that they weren’t completely right for one another. They had been together for such a long time and were spending so much time together, but their personalities were just too different. Joe is more introverted, shy, and quiet.”

The lyric “handcuffed to the spell I was under” may also allude to how Swift described her relationship with Alwyn as representing a “lavender haze” type of love on Midnights. When discussing how it inspired the track, she said, “I happened upon the phrase ‘lavender haze’ when I was watching Mad Men. I looked it up because I thought it sounded cool. And it turns out that it’s a common phrase used in the ’50s where they would describe being in love. If you’re in the ‘lavender haze,’ then that meant you were in that all-encompassing love glow. And I thought that was really beautiful.

“I guess, theoretically, when you’re in the ‘lavender haze,’ you’ll do anything to stay there. And not let people bring you down off of that cloud. I think that a lot of people have to deal with this now, not just like ‘public figures,’ because we live in the era of social media, and if the world finds out if you’re in love with somebody they’re going to weigh in on it. Like my relationship for six years, we’ve had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it. So this song is about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff.”

Now pretty baby, I’m running back home to you
Fresh out the slammer I know who my first call will be to
Fresh out the slammer
Camera flashes, welcome bashes, get the matches, toss the ashes off the bench

After her breakup from Alwyn, Swift did something she hadn’t done much in their six years dating: Go out in New York City and get photographed by paparazzi. In her December interview with Time, Swift spoke about spending “six years” being trapped inside. Her lyric “I did my time” reflects this.

She said, “Over the years, I’ve learned I don’t have the time or bandwidth to get pressed about things that don’t matter. Yes, if I go out to dinner, there’s going to be a whole chaotic situation outside the restaurant. But I still want to go to dinner with my friends. Life is short. Have adventures. Me locking myself away in my house for a lot of years—I’ll never get that time back. I’m more trusting now than I was six years ago.”

As I said in my letters, now that I know better I will never lose my baby again
My friends tried, but I wouldn’t hear it, watched me daily disappearing for just one glimpse of his smile
All those nights, he kept me going swirled you into all of my poems
Now we’re at the starting line, I did my time
Now pretty baby, I’m running

To the house we still wait up in that porch light gleams
To the one who says I’m the girl of his American dreams

Both Alwyn and Healy are British.

Before Swift’s breakup from Alwyn, Healy and Swift had reconnected and worked on music together for Midnights. Healy and the 1975’s track did not make the final cut of the album.

Still, a source claimed to Daily Mail on May 18 that Alwyn was a bit hurt by Swift dating Healy. “Joe feels slighted and is distraught after seeing her budding relationship with Matt, but is doing his best to keep busy and focus on himself,” the source said. “Joe was aware that Taylor and Matt were making music together and collaborating. She told him that they had become friends, and he trusted her.”

And no matter what I’ve done, it wouldn’t matter anyway
Ain’t no way I’m gonna screw up now that I know what’s at stake here
At the park where we used to sit on children’s swings
Wearing imaginary rings
But it’s gonna be all right, I did my time

In her song “The Tortured Poets Department,” Swift brought up the discussion of rings with Healy, too. The song’s last verse is “at dinner, you take my ring off my middle finger and put it on the one people put wedding rings on, and that’s the closest I’ve come to my heart exploding.”

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