“Message in a Bottle” by Taylor Swift

As traditionally understood, a message in a bottle is when a person takes a note, puts it in a bottle and casts it into the sea, hoping that an intended recipient would find it. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Taylor Swift's Message in a Bottle at Lyrics.org.

Of course such a mode of communication is iffy in that it is very much possible no one will come across said message in a timely fashion, if at all. It is therefore one that is known to be resorted to only under extreme circumstances, such as for instance if someone may find himself stranded on an island.

But Taylor Swift has likened the process of creating and releasing music to putting a message in a bottle. Or put differently, this song is akin to her sending out a note that she hopes the addressee will receive.

What’s the Message?

To begin with, it reads like the addressee of the message is a romantic interest. And apparently she and the addressee failed to hook up when the time was ripe. 

Or explained otherwise, it’s as if the vocalist did not fully appreciate how much she was feeling him until after he went away, overseas, apparently to the UK. But now in his absence, Taylor has come to the hard realization that she has developed an emotional/psychological dependency on this individual. 

Or let’s more simply say that now Taylor has come to the firm understanding that she’s in love. But going back to the whole analogy of sending this “message in a bottle”, it may be that it’s now too late for her to rectify the situation.

At the time this song was written, theoretically Taylor would have been in the midst of her two-year romance with Harry Styles. And since in the bridge she does imply that London is the addressee’s current location, some listeners have speculated that said individual may be Styles, even though there’s also lyrical evidence that counters such a postulation also.

Final Thoughts

But with all of that noted, it is understandable how “Message in a Bottle” didn’t make the original cut of “Red”, since this isn’t one of Swift’s best written pieces. That is to say that it doesn’t feature the type of exquisite detail that we have come to expect from songs of hers that are romantic in nature. 

So it is very much possible that the addressee is someone who Taylor made up, i.e. this piece having more of a general applicability and not being based on her real life. Or it could be that he’s someone she had some sort of a relationship with way back in the days, even prior to Styles.

Taylor Swift, "Message in a Bottle" Lyrics

Release of “Message in a Bottle”

This song, which Republic Records did eventually release on 12 November 2021, had already been part of Taylor Swift’s personal archives for almost a decade, thus explaining its subtitles. And the occasion upon which it ended up seeing the light of day was the issuance of “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, i.e. Swift’s 2021 re-recording and re-release of her 2012 album “Red”, upon which this time around “Message in a Bottle” was added to the album’s playlist.

Officially, Taylor Swift is on record as having first teased this track in early August, 2021. But in actuality she may have done so as far back as 2012, i.e. the year in which the original “Red” was released.

“Message in a Bottle” is the second single from “Red (Taylor’s Version)“. And on its own it did pretty well, such as appearing on four different Billboard charts and in the process peaking at number 10 on the US Adult Top 40.

Credits for “Message in a Bottle”

Taylor wrote this track with Swedish hitmakers Shellback and Max Martin, both of whom were regular collaborators of hers during the 2010s. The songstress did point out that this is the first song she wrote with that pair.

Shellback also produced the song with another musician from Sweden who goes by the name of Elvira (not to be confused with Elvira, Mistress of the Dark).

Message in a Bottle

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