champagne problems

On December 10, 2020, Taylor Swift announced her 9th studio album, evermore; released at midnight as a “sister album” to folklore. Swift’s last few albums have departed from her own experiences and delved into those she’s crafted stories about and imagined. The song “champagne problems” is the second track on evermore, composed by Taylor Swift and William Bowery, who fans have pleasantly learned was the pseudonym for her adored boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. The knowledge of these lyrics having both a female, Swift, and male, Alwyn, perspective helps listeners better understand both parties in the song.

The story is set in a pristine estate, filled with family and friends who are anticipating a marriage proposal. Little do they know that the fiance-to-be will turn down her long-time lover. The song takes us through unrequited, lost love, the damage it causes and the hope that one day it can be mended. Mental illness is also touched on in this song which Swift has spoken out on, including her own battles with it.

You booked the night train for a reason

So you could sit there in this hurt

Bustling crowds or silent sleepers

You’re not sure which is worse

It’s clear in this first verse that someone is running away from something that has caused them tremendous hurt. Listeners learn that this is the person who was rejected. The first two lines suggest that they’re deeply ashamed, embarrassed and disheartened which is why they’re on the night train, fewer people, yet possibly knew all along that this would be the outcome. He was easily able to escape from the pitiful eyes of his loved ones by having this ticket. The last two lines, however, make it seem that he’s questioning whether being on a quiet train was the right decision because it allows him to wallow in his sorrows and contemplate everything.

Your mom’s ring in your pocket

My picture in your wallet

Your heart was glass, I dropped it

Champagne problems

The narrator now takes us back to before her partner proposes to her and when he has the world or his future in his pockets. It’s certain that he’s intending to propose and not just that, but with his mother’s ring which illustrates how important she is to him. Additionally, he has a picture of her with him wherever he goes, driving the point of his love for her even further. The tone shifts in the third line because this is the moment when she denies the engagement. The narrator held his heart in her hands but ultimately shattered it, leaving him in despair and everyone else in utter shock. The last line and title of this song make reference to the problems and issues of the upper-class, nothing in comparison to what others face on a daily basis. Swift reiterates the line throughout the song, suggesting the ability to overcome the ordeal, yet not discounting the man’s feelings because this is probably the largest problem he’s faced so far.

One for the money, two for the show

I never was ready, so I watch you go

Sometimes you just don’t know the answer

‘Til someone’s on their knees and asks you

The first line dates back to a children’s rhyme and signifies a countdown. In this context, it might be the narrator counting down the time left with her ‘lover.’ In the second line, the narrator seems to allude to a battle that she’s had with herself for a long time, being mentally checked out and yearning to leave, but not physically being able to commit and take that step forward without him. She seems to get that clarity and strength when he finally proposes and she’s left with no other choice but to stay in a one-sided relationship or take that leap of faith despite all odds and voices surrounding her. In this story, the narrator makes a heartbreaking decision for all parties, but one that she believes is best for everyone in the long run.

But you’ll find the real thing instead

She’ll patch up your tapestry that I shred

The narrator essentially closes their relationship by ensuring her past lover that he will find someone who’s right for him and will say “yes” when he proposes. This new person will fix all of the cracks and fill all of the holes in his heart that the narrator left. She understands the situation she left him in and the sadness she caused and hopes this small piece of assurance will be enough.

This song, despite not having a happily ever after, leaves listeners wondering what could have been and what will be for these two characters. There are so many possibilities for both of them which is what happens when you close a chapter in your life.

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