Why Fans Think Taylor Swift Is Referenced in Charli XCX's 'Sympathy Is a Knife' Song

Does Charli XCX's new album contain some subtle references to one of Taylor Swift's past relationships?

Charli XCX dropped her sixth studio album, Brat, on Friday, which features 16 new tracks from the pop princess. But there's one that's got the internet buzzing about another star -- Taylor Swift.

Swifties were quick to dissect the lyrics of Charli's new track, "Sympathy Is a Knife," combing through the song for hints about who the unnamed girl is that Charli says "taps my insecurities."

"Don't know if it's real or if I'm spiraling," she sings on the track. "One voice tells me that they laugh / George says I'm just paranoid."

The key clue here is the reference to "George," almost definitely a name check of Charli's fiancé, George Daniel, who is the drummer and producer for The 1975. The pair have been a couple since 2022, meaning she was dating the percussionist during the same time that Taylor had her short-lived fling with The 1975 frontman Matty Healy in 2023.

Even more telling is the lyric that comes later in the song: "Don't wanna see her backstage at my boyfriend's show / Fingers crossed behind my back / I hope they break up quick."

It doesn't seem like there's any true bad blood between Charli and Taylor -- apart from the above lyrics, she also sings of the song's mystery girl, "'Cause I couldn't even be her if I tried / I'm opposite, I'm on the other side."

The duo go back even earlier than their days as The 1975 WAGs together. She made a special appearance on Swift's 1989 World Tour in 2014 before being tapped as an official opening act for the Reputation World Tour in 2018. 

However, Charli has drawn ire from Swifties in the past. In a 2019 interview with Pitchfork following the Reputation World Tour, the singer received backlash for commenting on the age range of Taylor's concert crowds.

"I'm really grateful that [Taylor] asked me on that tour. But as an artist, it kind of felt like I was getting up on stage and waving to 5-year-olds," she recounted. "I've done so much of it, and it really cemented my status as this underdog character, which I like now. But I need to just own my own f**king sh*t finally."

Charli XCX joined Taylor Swift as a supporting act on both her 1989 and Reputation World Tours. - Kevin Mazur/WireImage

After some "swift" backlash from disappointed fans, Charli posted a mea culpa to social media, saying her comments were taken out of context.

"I am extremely grateful to Taylor for inviting me to open for her," she wrote. "She's one of the biggest artists of my generation and the reputation tour was one of the biggest tours in history."

"In the printed version of this much wider conversation my answers about this tour were boiled down into one kind of weird sentence," she added.  "Leading up to that tour I'd been playing a [ton] of 18+ club shows and so to be on stage in front of all ages was new to me and made me approach my performance with a whole new kind of energy."