I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at with questions or ideas!

What does "So It Goes..." by Taylor Swift Mean?

What does "So It Goes..." by Taylor Swift Mean?

"So It Goes..." Lyrics Meaning 

Musically and lyrically "So It Goes..." (heretofore referred to as "So It Goes") reminds me of "I Don't Wanna Live Forever." It's sexually focused, and it's very slick and intentional, verging on dark pop. The song is focused on some new boyfriend (the Internet would have us believe Joe Alwyn) who Swift finds attractive and who she apparently feels deeply connected with. The song itself though may prove to have further surprises. 

"You make everyone disappear, and cut me into pieces" 

While the most interesting line of the song may be the one above, the chorus begins with the lines "And all our pieces fall / Right into place." This guy, whoever he is, apparently has quite the effect on Taylor Swift. And that's mainly what "So It Goes" is about, as you will see.  

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Verse 1

See you in the dark
All eyes on you, my magician
All eyes on us
You make everyone disappear, and
Cut me into pieces
Gold cage, hostage to my feelings
Back against the wall
Trippin', trip-trippin' when you're gone

Like with most pop music, Taylor begins with a verse that tells part of the story behind the song. She meets this guy "in the dark" but recognizes that they're both famous so "all eyes [are] on us." She calls him her "magician," though, because "you make everyone disappear." He helps her to feel at ease because with him she can forget the haters. 

She also says that he can "Cut her into pieces," which likely is a reference to his ability to make her feel sexually excited and her willingness to be vulnerable around him. The "gold cage" she refers to could be about the excitement that she feels around him and how much power she allows him to exert over her. But really it's a reference to how she's "hostage to my feelings" when she's around him. She's so excited by him that she can barely control herself around him and feels like she has her "back against the wall." In a quick reference to "Don't Blame Me," she claims to be "trippin' when you're gone" because he's an exciting "high" for her. 


'Cause we break down a little
But when you get me alone, it's so simple
'Cause baby, I know what you know
We can feel it

While they may have their rough spots like anyone, when they're alone and can avoid focusing on the crowds watching them, their relationship seems easy to make work. They get each other, and they understand why they work well together: "We can feel it." They get each other and can feel the energy in the relationship. 


And all our pieces fall
Right into place
Get caught up in a moment
Lipstick on your face
So it goes…
I'm yours to keep
And I'm yours to lose
You know I'm not a bad girl, but I
Do bad things with you
So it goes…

Even though they're different, they complement each other and work well together; their "pieces fall / Right into place." And they "get caught up in a moment together." She shows us a mental snapshot of him with "lipstick on [his] face," suggesting that they've been making out. But she's not worried: "So it goes..."

She wants to be his "to keep" and "to lose"--his call based on his action--but it's apparent that she'd rather stay with him than leave him. And though she's "not a bad girl," she's willing to "do bad things with you." He encourages her to take risks and to step outside of her usual narrative. 

Verse 2 

Met you in a bar
All eyes on me, your illusionist
All eyes on us
I make all your grey days clear and
Wear you like a necklace
I'm so chill, but you make me jealous
But I got your heart
Skippin', skip-skippin' when I'm gone

In the second verse, she describes her role in the relationship explaining that they met "in a bar." And instead of him being her magician, she's his "illusionist" and has the power to "make all your grey days clear." She can make bad things seem good for him. 

She likes to keep him close as evinced by the lyric "Wear you like a necklace." Because necklaces are used to make a statement or to enhance one's own look, she's saying that being in a relationship with him makes her a better person or makes her look better to other people. In addition, she's usually very "chill," but she cares so much about her relationship with him that "you make me jealous." But she does her best to ignore these feelings because she knows, "I got your heart / Skippin', skip-skippin' when I'm gone." She knows he's as excited about her as she is about him, and it makes her happy and content. 


Come here, dressed in black now
So, so, so it goes
Scratches down your back now
So, so, so it goes

She's dressed in black, a color often used to dress sexily, and the "scratches down your back" probably refers to the intensity of the sex they have. 


You did a number on me
But, honestly, baby, who's counting?
I did a number on you
But, honestly, baby, who's counting?
You did a number on me
But, honestly, baby, who's counting?
Who's counting?
(1, 2, 3)

When Taylor Swift sings that he "did a number on me / But, honestly, baby, who's counting?" She's using a clever pun to show that he's seriously distracted her but that she doesn't mind. Besides, she "did a number on" him too. The relationship is good for both of them, and they're both enjoying it. 

Deeper Meaning of "So It Goes" by Taylor Swift: Sexy but Equal

Taylor Swift really doubles down on the sexual side of her relationships in "So It Goes." And it's interesting because she carefully balances how sexual she and this other guy are being in the relationship. In fact, she even gives one verse each to describe their separate roles in the songs. Many pop songs heavily sexualize women, and a few songs sexualize men, and even a few songs from Reputation lean one way or the other, but "So It Goes" is perhaps the most balanced of any pop song about sex that I've heard in a while. 

I don't think there are too many conclusions to be drawn from this, but, for me, it was a reason to appreciate "So It Goes" and a reason to appreciate Taylor Swift as a self-aware artist who's socially conscious and seems to want what's best for others. What do you think? 

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