With the release of Taylor Swift’s most recent album, The Tortured Poets Department, many listeners were struck by the similarities between the opening track, ‘Fortnight (feat. Post Malone)’, and music by British band The 1975. 

Since the song is rumoured to be about the band’s frontman Matty Healy, whom Swift dated in 2023, this resemblance is almost certainly intentional. The likelihood is even great considering she has used this technique in her songwriting before. 

Here, we explore Swift’s clever parodies and how effective they are, with the help of Musiio Tag, our AI-powered tagging tool.

‘Fortnight (feat. Post Malone)’ vs. The 1975’s ‘Somebody Else’

In ‘Fortnight’, Taylor Swift laments her two-week ‘situationship’ with Matty Healy while subtly imitating his band’s style. The similarity is evident when it’s compared to The 1975’s hit 2016 track, ‘Somebody Else'. For example, the relentless, steady synth basslines in the songs are a trademark of The 1975’s style.

The other production feature that’s a trademark of The 1975 is the reverb-drenched vocal, which contributes to the dreamy mood of both songs. Musiio Tag identifies the dreamy atmosphere created by both songs, as well as the pop genre they fit into. 

It’s not much of a leap to imagine Post Malone’s wistful backing vocals on ‘Fortnight’ being sung by Healy – especially as it’s rumoured the song was originally written for him to sing as a duet with Swift.

‘Dear John’ vs. John Mayer’s ‘Gravity’

Swift has been using music to make fun of her exes for almost 15 years now. Her 2010 song ‘Dear John’ is a seven-minute epic that calls out John Mayer by name, with elements of his style of soul and blues infused into her pop songwriting. 

Mayer’s song ‘Gravity’ – released in 2006 – has the same lilting 6/8 time signature that’s heard in ‘Dear John’, and also uses lead guitar in a similar way. 

Swift’s song contains Mayer-esque guitar solos, complete with a clean tone and lots of vibrato. The earnest lyrics and vocal harmonies in the choruses help to create a heartfelt mood in both songs, as shown in our AI-powered analysis.

‘Style’ vs. One Direction’s ‘Perfect’

Taylor Swift isn’t the only artist who can parody previous romantic partners – love is a two-way street. Swift briefly dated global superstar and One Direction member Harry Styles in 2015, and the group’s 2015 single ‘Perfect’ was allegedly written about her. 

It in some ways sounds remarkably similar to Swift’s track ‘Style’, which was in turn rumoured to be about Styles, and was released only a few months earlier. 

The Musiio tagging AI returned almost identical genre, mood, energy and BPM results for these two tracks, with both songs labelled as confident and uplifting, and identified as pop. 

The distorted synths, heavy electro-pop drums and shiny-sounding guitars all paint the same picture. And when you factor in that both songs have parallel themes of ‘midnight driving’, it’s easy to believe these two songs were written about the same relationship.

Is Parody Effective?

Taylor Swift’s imitation of her exes’ musical styles is a clever and subtle way of insulting them, and it certainly works – John Mayer said he was ‘humiliated’ by the lyrics of ‘Dear John’. The technique allows fans and the media to speculate about the subjects of the songs, creating more buzz (and streams) for Swift. 

Arguably, though, the Musiio Tag data shows that One Direction did a better job at parody than Swift: ‘Perfect’ copied ‘Style’ with perfect style.

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