What does "King of My Heart" by Taylor Swift mean?
"King of My Heart" Lyrics Meaning
It's no surprise to fans that Taylor's latest album Reputation centers around a romantic relationship. Most of Taylor's public persona has been established by her numerous boyfriends and subsequent breakups, and in Reputation she uses that persona to her advantage, creating an almost satirical embrace and critique of the media's portrayal of her.
In "King of My Heart," however, fans see Taylor in a rare place for her to find herself in Reputation: unpublicized, healthy love. Many speculate that "King of My Heart" (along with other songs on the album) is about Joe Alwyn, a British actor. If you're thinking, "who is that?" then perfect. You're exactly where Taylor and her relationship want you to be.
"Your love is a secret I'm hoping, dreaming, dying to keep"
In a cultural element as media-saturated as pop music is, Taylor is no stranger to the immense difficulty of keeping a romantic relationship private. She has had her fair share of public relationships and subsequent breakups, and "King of My Heart" is a refreshing, well-deserved celebration of a relationship that seems to be thriving in its intimacy and privacy.
Wanna go deeper on this song? Check out my podcast on Reputation!
I'm perfectly fine, I live on my own
I made up my mind, I'm better off bein' alone
We met a few weeks ago
Now you try on callin' me Baby, like tryin' on clothes
In the first verse, Taylor's narrator describes her mindset upon meeting her current boyfriend: when they first meet, she feels that she is "perfectly fine, I live on my own," and that finally she had "made up my mind, I'm better off being alone." But, as it always does, love has a way of surprising her because as soon as Taylor's narrator "made up my mind" to make a go of it on her own, she meets this new fellow. Right after they "met a few weeks ago," it didn't take him long to "try on callin' me Baby, like tryin' on clothes." This line could possibly hint at Taylor's trepidation about the new relationship, as clothes are an easy thing to put on or take off, and perhaps the allusion to "tryin' on clothes" highlights Taylor's fear that this is simply another short-term love affair.
So prove to me I'm your American Queen
And you move to me like I'm a Motown beat
And we rule the kingdom inside my room
'Cause all the boys and their expensive cars
With their Range Rovers and their Jaguars
Never took me quite where you do
If the lyrics of the first verse of "King of My Heart" showed hints of trepidation, the pre-chorus solidifies the strength of the relationship, particularly on Taylor's end in the form of admiration. While the first line of the pre-chorus, "So prove to me I'm your American Queen," is worded as a command, the subsequent admission that this new boyfriend "move[s] to me like I'm a Motown beat" and that the two of them "rule the kingdom inside my room" is indicative of a relinquishing of Taylor's own rule on her heart, allowing them to rule that "kingdom" together.
She further solidifies her confidence in the relationship with the line "Cause all the boys and their expensive cars/ With their Range Rovers and Jaguars," which could be a not-so-subtle comparison to some of Taylor's exes, two of whom she was photographed with in a Range Rover and Jaguar. By telling the new beau that those boys "Never took me quite where you do," she's letting him know that this is truly brand new for her but that she's excited about the change.
And all at once, you are the one I have been waiting for
King of my heart, body and soul, ooh whoa
And all at once, you're all I want I'll never let you go
King of my heart, body and soul, ooh whoa
Finally, she has tested the waters, she's taken a few test drives, and here in the chorus Taylor is fully committed. The very opening, "And all at once," once again nods to the unexpected nature of this relationship. But unexpected isn't always a bad thing because apparently he is "the one I have been waiting for." Now that they are together, this new man is the "King of my heart, body, and soul," and there is no aspect of herself that she is keeping hidden from him. She admits that "you're all I want I'll never let you go," giving her new king the same confidence in the relationship that she asked for in the pre-chorus when she asked him to "Prove to me I'm your American Queen."
And all at once, I've been waiting, waiting
Ooh whoa, ooh whoa
And all at once, you are the one, I have been waiting, waiting
Body and soul, ooh whoa
And all at once
The post-chorus is really just a lyrical reiteration of the chorus, but the repetition is important because it highlights the central meaning of "King of My Heart": Taylor Swift has "been waiting," which is reminiscent of the language of the courts and "ladies in waiting," and now that she has finally met her king, "all at once, you are the one."
Late in the night, the city's asleep
Your love is a secret I'm hoping, dreaming, dying to keep
Change my priorities
The taste of your lips is my idea of luxury
The second verse of "King of My Heart" is most heavily reflective of the private nature of this relationship, especially in comparison to all of Taylor Swift's previously high-profile romances. Because it's "Late in the night" and "the city's asleep," no one is around to photograph or interview or otherwise publicize the outings of this couple.
This is exactly how Taylor hopes to keep it because she confides in her new king that "Your love is a secret I'm hoping, dreaming, dying to keep." She has learned from the past, and her lessons have taught her that the secret to a healthy, long-lasting relationship is in fact secrecy itself (though from the public, not from each other). She notes that there has been a "Change [in] my priorities," which could be her alluding to no longer being interested in the wealth and fame that dating high profile celebrities can bring, but that now she's more interested in "the taste of your lips" that has become "my idea of luxury."
Is the end of all the endings?
My broken bones are mending
With all these nights we're spending
Up on the roof with a school girl crush
Drinking beer out of plastic cups
Say you fancy me, not fancy stuff
Baby, all at once, this is enough
Like in so many of her songs, the bridge of Taylor's "King of My Heart" is really the culmination of the song's theme. "Is this the end of all the endings?" she asks, hoping that perhaps this relationship is finally going to be one she doesn't have to end. She rejoices that "My broken bones are mending," that all the scars from previous relationships are healing thanks to this new, healthy relationship. She tells of all the "nights we're spending / Up on the roof with a school girl crush," suggesting that the power of this relationship is its innocence.
These are nights being spent in quiet solitude together rather than raucous nights out partying, and they are "Drinking beer out of plastic cups" as he "Say[s] you fancy me, not fancy stuff." Taylor is content, and they have each other, which leads her to conclude, "Baby, all at once, this is enough."
Deeper Meaning of "King of My Heart" by Taylor Swift
"King of My Heart" feels like a beautiful culmination not just of "Reputation," but of the entirety of Taylor's relationship songs' arc. So much of "King of My Heart" reminds me of past songs like "Love Story," "Mine," "Long Live," and even "White Horse." All of those songs used the same kingdom and fairy tale metaphor that Taylor uses in "King of My Heart," but in a much more juvenile and romanticized way. Those songs speak of "princes" and "princesses" and her having "had the time of my life fighting dragons with you," but there was always an air of unrealistic expectations, like none of it could last, that the fairy tale castles she was building were made of sand. And, if one puts any stock into the parallel media coverage of her relationships surrounding those songs, it all was indeed too good to be true, too full of fantasy to last.
But in "King of My Heart," there is wise caution in the beginning and realistic hope in the end. Taylor is no longer singing of castles, and dragons, and princes, but of quiet nights "up on a roof," and rather than chasing after fancy things, they are content with having only each other, and it is in that private simplicity that they are able to "rule the kingdom inside my room." It feels like "King of My Heart" is about Taylor graduating from chasing flighty princes with Jaguars to settling down with a stable king with a good heart.