Taylor Swift opened up about her romantic relationships in her latest album, The Tortured Poets Department. However, the “Love Story” singer also touched on the unhappiness she has experienced in her life in the song “I Hate It Here.” What is “I Hate It Here” about and what do the lyrics mean?

What Is Taylor Swift’s ‘I Hate It Here’ About?

“I Hate It Here” is track 23 on The Tortured Poets Department, which debuted on April 19, 2024. In the song, Taylor sings about not feeling like she belongs anywhere. Instead, she admits to finding comfort in imaginary places that only she can visit.

“I hate it here so I will go to secret gardens in my mind. People need a key to get to, the only one is mine,” she sings in the chorus. “I read about it in a book when I was a precocious child. No mid-sized city hopes and small-town fears. I’m there most of the year ’cause I hate it here. I hate it here.”

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As the song continues, Taylor explains a game she played with friends in which they choose another time they would like to live in. “We would pick a decade. We wished we could live in instead of this. I’d say the 1830s but without all the racists and getting married off for the highest bid,” she sings.

However, the “Cruel Summer” singer and her friends quickly realize they wouldn’t be happy in another decade. “Everyone would look down ’cause it wasn’t fun now. Seems like it was never even fun back then,” she continues. “Nostalgia is a mind’s trick. If I’d been there, I’d hate it. It was freezing in the palace.”

Why Did ‘I Hate It Here’ Face Backlash From Fans?

Shortly after the album was released, several fans took to social media to share their thoughts on each song. While many said they liked “I Hate It Here,” the song was also met with backlash due to the line about the 1830s. Many social media users pointed out that the Pennsylvania native overlooked many of the issues that took place at the time, including slavery.

Taylor Swift Admits to Being Unhappy With Her Surroundings in ‘I Hate It Here’: Song Meaning, Lyrics
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“Pretty astonishing to stipulate that she wants to live in the 1830s, ‘except without the racists,’ and not mention slavery, so slavery still exists but everyone’s chill about it,” one person wrote via X. Another added, “There is no way Taylor Swift said she’d like to live in an era where Chattel Slavery was the law of the land and say ‘but without the racists.’ Like it was some casual micro aggressions or something. Is this what we’re doing??”

Taylor has not publicly addressed the backlash surrounding the line.