‘London Boy’, featuring Idris Elba and seven London landmarks, is Taylor Swift’s love letter to Britain

It's sort of her version of Estelle's 'American Boy', you know?

If anyone was ever in any doubt as to the fact that the modern queen of pop is #relatable, Taylor Swift name-checks a series of London landmarks on a song featuring Idris Elba on her new album ‘Lover’.

You know– because she’s just like us. Kinda.

The album, released today (August 23), includes the song ‘London Boy’ which features the London-born actor. The lyrics on ‘London Boy’ reference Camden Market, Highgate, the West End, Brixton, Shoreditch, Hackney and Bond Street as Swift sings about falling in love with a Londoner, her partner Joe Alwyn .


The Idris collab perhaps isn’t as strange as it seems: Swift and Elba co-star in the upcoming film adaptation of the long-running hit musical Cats, which is released on December 20. Admittedly the film’s trailer was roundly mocked online – why do the cats have boobs? – so it’s a surprise that Taylor wanted to remind us of it. But then what’s more #relatable than a blunder?

In the song, Swift sings: “You know I love a London boy / I enjoy walking Camden Market in the afternoon” before recalling how her lover “Took me back to Highgate, met all of his best mates.” The second verse runs: “Now I love high tea, stories from uni and the West End / You can find me in the pub / We’re watching rugby with his high school friends.”  The chorus goes: “You know I love a London boy, I enjoy nights in Brixton / Shoreditch in the afternoon / He likes my American smile / Like a child when our eyes meet / Darling I fancy you.”

Later, she implores: “So please show me Hackney / Doesn’t have to be Louis V up on Bond Street”. See! She really is just like us!

Brendon Urie and Taylor Swift

Elba is one of the few guests on ‘Lover’. Panic At The Disco singer Brendon Urie featured on lead single ‘Me!’, but the album’s only other credited guests are Dixie Chicks, on ‘Soon You’ll Get Better’. St Vincent co-wrote ‘Cruel Summer’ under her real name, Annie Clark. They’re all good songs, but none encapsulate Tay’s desire to seem like a normie quite like ‘London Boy’, which you could read as a riff on Estelle and Kanye’s stone-cold banger ‘American Boy’.


Where ‘Reputation’, the predecessor to ‘Lover’, saw an embittered and embattled Taylor taking on the tabloids, acknowledging her otherness as a bonafide megastar, this one returns to her romantic pop roots. It’s a reminder of why we loved her in the first place, a largely successful attempt to hit the reset button. Combined with this, ‘London Boy’ seems like Taylor reminding Britain, which fell in love with her thanks to 2014’s ‘1989’, that she’s still Swifty from the block.

And you know what? We’re convinced. Welcome back, Tay. Maybe try and avoid Boris while you’re here.