With a surprisingly limited amount of buildup, Taylor Swift premiered her new song, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” during last night’s web chat, telling fans that new album Red is just two months away (yay!) and that much of its inspiration comes from certain “semi-toxic” relationships she’s had over the last two years. Looks like you’re off the hook this time around, Joe Jonas, Taylor Lautner, and John Mayer. Allow yourselves a collective sigh of relief.
While Taylor’s been most recently linked to 18-year-old Conor Kennedy, reportedly purchasing a home in Hyannis Port, Mass. just steps away from the famed family compound, there has been plenty of potential relationship fodder since the release of Speak Now in 2010. Below, we’ve compiled the most plausible—and most entertaining—inspirations for Taylor’s lead single, an amalgam of individuals who may or may not call their exes repeatedly, and hold their taste for indie music above Taylor’s tendency to pick up a banjo.
NAME: Jake Gyllenhaal, 31
EVIDENCE: Reports of their budding relationship surfaced in late 2010, after the pair were photographed going on super cute coffee dates around Brooklyn. Their public parade continued through the December holidays, making many a casual observer jealous of their coordinating winter accessories.
POSSIBILITY: With a decent age difference between them, we’re inclined to believe that Jake would more than humor Taylor’s occasional childlike persuasions, but wasn’t above being condescending about some much, much cooler unknown band he heard about while on the Love and Other Drugs press tour with Annie Hathaway. ODDS: 3-1
NAME: Adam Young of Owl City, 26
EVIDENCE: Taylor Swift’s song “Enchanted” was written, she said, about a mysterious dreamy loverboy she met in New York City after a series of emails in which the guy mentioned the word “wonderstruck.” She put that word into the song as, you know, a Missed Connection or something; her liner notes, meanwhile, supposedly spelled out the name “ADAM” in the lyrics. Lambert presumably wasn’t interested, and Levine would have had to cheat on Anne, but Young was available, the sort of guy who says “wonderstruck” and the sort of guy who’d release an answer song last Valentine’s Day along with a gooey love note about Swift being “a true princess from a dreamy fairy tale.”
POSSIBILITY: The chronology is perfect. And doesn’t it just fit? Adam is totally the sort of guy who would call Taylor endlessly to have 23-minute conversations about her hypothetically taking him back. And he’d definitely take solace in indie records. ALL THE POSTAL SERVICE RECORDS. ODDS: 2-1
NAME:Sarah Jaxheimer, 22
EVIDENCE: Taylor went on and on about her former classmate’s shiny hair and enviable look in an interview with Vogue last year, suggesting Jaxheimer’s effortless cool was something that tormented her on a daily basis. As an adolescent, this is just the sort of thing you don’t forget.
POSSIBILITY: Friends can break up too, right? While Jaxheimer insisted that there was no rivalry between her and Taylor during their high school days, you never really know how someone else feels until they sing about it. Only a person much stronger than either of us would be able to resist flaunting their own perfect curls and overflowing awards closet in the face of a former frenemy, and Tay is one of the normal ones, right? ODDS: 100-1
NAME: Mark Foster, 28
EVIDENCE: Taylor and the Foster the People lead singer were rumored to be dating in the spring of 2012, around the time word hit that he’d become the latest to sign up to work on her then-untitled fourth album. “We kind of just went into it casually, like let’s just jam and just have fun, and something really cool came out of it,” Foster told FUSE. In bed? (Too easy.) Decide for yourself whether that’s in reference to a song or their relationship.
POSSIBILITY: While everything else is a somewhat vague description of a conflicted significant other who doesn’t know what he or she wants, the nod to the indie scene within lyrics like “And you/ Would hide away and find your piece of mind/ With some/ Indie record that’s so much cooler than mine” seems like a direct dig at Foster, whose band rode that wave to near mainstream ubiquity in 2011. ODDS: 20-1
NAME: Tim Tebow
EVIDENCE: Having been launched into sports and memetic legend by about 500 successive acts of divine intervention, the NFL quarterback had so many doors opened up to him, including the door that leads to meeting Swift. The two reportedly crossed paths at a pre-Oscar party, and later went to dinner at Toscanova in Century City, Calif., without their agents—who presumably were waiting outside.
POSSIBILITY: As much as we’d love to see people Tebowing during the “we-EEE!” bit—or to see Taylor do it in the video!—not likely. ODDS: 50-1
NAME: Ed Sheeran
EVIDENCE: The English singer-songwriter hasn’t shied away from praising Taylor and her music; he’s one of the few confirmed co-writers for her upcoming album, and can’t help but gush about her greatness during his own interviews. “She is probably one of the nicest people that I’ve ever met in my professional career,” Sheeran told us in June. “She’s the sweetest and she’s very talented.” Taylor in turn has been supportive of Sheeran’s U.S. debut, covering his single “Lego House” from the comforts of someone’s kitchen floor, in what could have been a more-than-friends hangout.
POSSIBILITY: They’ve yet to receive attention from the tabloids, but there’s a rich history of Twitter flirtation and public outings, which could be a sign of what’s to come, or simply further example of Ed’s unrequited love. Aww. If there’s anyone we’d like to see her with, it’s Sheeran. ODDS: 30-1
NAME: George Boedecker
EVIDENCE: Just days before “We Are Never Ever Breaking Up” premiered, the 51-year-old Crocs co-founder was being arrested for a DUI in Colorado, blaming his indiscretion on his “girlfriend,” Taylor Swift.
POSSIBILITY: Taylor did quite the job keeping her new single a secret, so who knows what else she’s been holding close to the vest. While she’s dated older men before, her recent preference for those who have yet to graduate high school seems to kill any chance the rubber shoe king had at a believable story. Plus, he’s the one who looks “batshit crazy,” not Taylor. ODDS: 1,000,000-1.