Y’all, I think Red remains my favorite Taylor Swift album and so, I feel incredibly betrayed I can’t share with you the actual music because I refuse to allow those people to make a cent because of me on the work Taylor created. I’m very petty, I’m afraid. Anyway, we are finally at the album Aarya requested I do that set me down the path of doing this for every album. So, let’s jump in.
“State of Grace” + The Hitman by Katrina Jackson
So you were never a saint and I loved in shades of wrong, we learn to live with the pain, mosaic broken heartsState of Grace by Taylor Swift
I’m not really sure I can fully describe why I feel like The Hitman gives me “State of Grace” vibes. It’s a little bit of the melancholic while still being energetic sound of “State of Grace,” which I think fits the vibe of the heartbroken Zahra to banging the hitman next door arc. And the “I never saw you coming” line 100% fits the sentiments of both Zahra and Guilio. Not to mention the part where they’ll never be the same. Anyway, both the book and the song are excellent. If you’ve missed me talking about it a lot (understandable), the book opens with Zahra finding out her fiancé cheated on her with her best friend the morning of her wedding. It’s not a good time. She goes solo to their honeymoon and can’t stop crying, which is driving Guilio up the wall. Then they sleep together. It’s really, really fantastic.
“Red” + The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met…Red by Taylor Swift
I feel like I’m always talking about Kennedy Ryan in these posts and there’s a reason for that. She and Taylor both like to write about a love that’s so consuming it feels like fate. So here we are, this time talking about The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan and “Red.” The Kingmaker spans decades and there’s something about the way both, Lennix and Maxim feel about each other during the time apart and every time they come back together that just absolutely feels like the lyrics of this song. Also, here’s a quote from the book so you can see what I mean, “When the time is right, I’ll be back for you. Those words remind me of how he looked at me that day in the conference room. Like we were inevitable.”
“Treacherous” + Scoring Off the Field by Naima Simone
I can’t decide if it’s a choice, getting swept away, I hear the sound of my own voice, asking you to stay“Treacherous” by Taylor Swift
So I think this song lends itself to an angsty friends to lovers vibe because there is something extremely risky about letting yourself fall in love with your friends because what if it doesn’t work out? What if things end really badly? But also, even if the slope is treacherous, it’s worth it because in a romance novel, this trope ends well. I chose Scoring Off the Field by Naima Simone because (a) it’s one of my absolute favorites and (b) I feel like the angsty nature of Scoring Off the Field best fits the vibes. But if you’re with me on the idea of falling in love with your best friend being treacherous and you haven’t read Go Deep by Rilzy Adams yet, please allow me to direct you that way too. I do also feel like this song would work well for some forbidden romance tropes like Forbidden Promise by Synithia Williams where the love interests are former in-laws or even Sin & Ink by Naima Simone, where the female love interest is the widow of the male love interest’s brother. I would recommend all of those books and I really love this song.
“I Knew You Were Trouble” + A Reunion of Rivals by Reese Ryan
and when I fell hard, you took a step back, without me“I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift
A Reunion of Rivals is a second chance romance that I really, really love. Quinn and Max weren’t really ready for a full-fledged committed relationship when they first had a fling one summer before Quinn started college, but they both fell hard and the aftermath was really painful. Watching them fall back together is really great and gives off some of these mad/sad vibes similar to “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
“All Too Well” + Hate Crush by Angelina M. Lopez
Maybe we were a masterpiece before you tore it all up“Red” by Taylor Swift
First of all, we must begin by saying that “All Too Well” is the greatest song ever written and I remain distressed the ten minute version of this song is lost to us. Or at least, is unlikely to be released to us. Taylor!!!! If you’re reading this, please, I’m begging. Anyway, let’s now talk about Hate Crush by Angelina M. Lopez. This is a second chance romance between a rock star who wasn’t yet a rock star when the first chance happened and a princess who is now also a vineyard owner. This book is dramatic and when you find out why things didn’t work out even though they really did seem to have such a great relationship, it is absolutely devastating. There are content warnings you may want for this book, so my ARC review is here, if that’s helpful. If not, please, please check Goodreads to find someone who does a better job with those. A less dramatic book that also has a lot of these vibes is One Last Chance by Therese Beharrie, which is a fantastic dual timeline friends to lovers, second chance story and you should really just go in without reading the blurb. It’s really lovely and an incredible book, in my opinion. For more information, my ARC review is here.
“22” + Truth or Dare by Danielle Allen
We were miserable and magical at the same time“22” by Taylor Swift
Both Truth or Dare and “22” have the most fun energy and therefore, this is clearly the best song and book combination! Truth or Dare is set on an island for a destination wedding. This group of friends really are the stars of the show and Kingston and Simone have incredible energy and the banter is to die for. Also, this book is hot af so enjoy.
“I Almost Do” + Wanna Bet by Talia Hibbert
And I just want to tell you, it takes everything in me not to call you. I wish I could run to you and I hope you know that every time I don’t, I almost do. I almost do.“I Almost Do” by Taylor Swift
I think this song requires one of those dark moments that takes a while for things to get worked out and Wanna Bet has one of those. Jasmine and Rahul are best friends, but when they try to take things further, it seems great at first and then some of the internal issues get in the way. I feel like “I Almost Do” is the song that could really be playing in Jasmine’s mind especially as she thinks about Rahul during the time they’re apart. Another good alternative would be Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai, which also has a dark moment occur and then a long separation before the couple comes back together. Both books are also excellent and I highly recommend.
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” + I Think I Might Need You by Christina C. Jones
“Baby, I miss you and I swear I’m gonna change, trust me”
Remember how that lasted for a day?
I say, I hate you, we break up, you call me, I love you“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift
I Think I Might Need You by Christina C. Jones is a second chance romance that is also super fun in the style of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” even though, ultimately, Joia and Theodore do obviously wind up getting back together. This book is about Joia, who finds out that she’s pregnant at the very beginning of the book, and reconnecting with her ex. There’s a lot of change happening all at once in Joia’s life, but love is certainly welcome.
“Stay Stay Stay” + Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
I’ve been loving you for quite some time, time, time
You think that it’s funny when I’m mad, mad, mad
But I think that it’s best if we both stay“Stay Stay Stay” by Taylor Swift
Okay, so this is another example where it’s not totally perfect but the general vibe of the song works well for Red, White, and Royal Blue in that both are kind of fun and bouncy, but also there are levels of deepness belying these lyrics that gives me some reminders of Alex and Henry. If you somehow managed to miss the intense love of this book that swept the internet last year, this book follows Alex, the son of the first female president of the United States, and Henry, a Prince of England. It’s delightful, but also has some more serious topics like an unwanted outing.
This is the last time I’m asking you this
Put my name at the top of your list
This is the last time I’m asking you why
You break my heart in the blink of an eye, eye, eye“The Last Time” by Taylor Swift
Somehow I feel like this song is even angstier than “All Too Well” and the books that literally ripped my heart out in the way I feel like this song encompasses are How Not to Fall and How Not to Let Go by Emily Foster. Unfortunately, I read them too long ago for me to do a great job specifically comparing the song to any particular plot points. What I can tell you is that How Not to Fall stars with Annabelle hitting on her grad TA who is like, “Nope, that’s not ethical.” So then she graduates and they have a really, really great summer fling. But there are feelings involved and feelings are bad! How Not to Let Go is where the HEA happens and wow, I really need to read these again. I mean, who needs to not cry?
This post felt forever long, so I hope you enjoyed it! Please let me know what you think of my pairings and feel free to leave any of your own down in the comments or on Twitter. Finally, if you’re in the U.S., have you voted yet? Do you have a plan to vote if not?