For the past month, one word has gripped the nation: "Hiddleswift."
The romance between War Horse star Tom Hiddleston and noted Papa John's enthusiast Taylor Swift has been inescapable, a mind-altering drug served to the masses in highly tweetable drops via Daily Mail articles. The are they/aren't they reached a giddy fever pitch over the July 4 weekend -- you saw the "I Heart T.S." shirt, the red bikini, and the sun-kissed Instagram pic -- and only intensified in the days to follow. Hiddleswift mania is real.
But in the midst of creating True Detective-style corkboards about the relationship's veracity, we've all been forgetting about someone. His name is Calvin Harris, and he's a Scottish DJ who dated Taylor Swift for over a year before Hiddleston metaphorically bonked us on the head with Loki's staff and erased the collective memory of the once-hot-and-heavy Harris-Swift union. But now, like a wronged character in a Taylor Swift song, Harris has reemerged to make a claim for his dignity in the least dignified way possible: angry tweets.
So many angry tweets! About song credits and pseudonyms! It's all pretty confusing.
With his tweets come tough questions. Why is this happening now? Do I really need to know about this? Who the hell is Nils Sjöberg? To help you make sense of it all, we've cobbled together a timeline of the events using the power of Hiddleswift to guide us.
It all starts with a Rihanna song
On April 29, Calvin Harris released "This Is What You Came For," an atmospheric, vaguely tropical dance track featuring a catchy vocal hook from Rihanna. Any collaboration between Harris and Rihanna is a big deal at this point -- their previous songs "We Found Love" and "Where Have You Been" were both massive global hits -- and "This Is What You Came For" followed a similar script, peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was credited to Harris and Nils Sjöberg, a name that doesn't really stand out given how many European men have helped write massive pop hits in the last decade. Life moved on.
Then things get complicated
Earlier today, the story broke that the songwriting credit for "This Is What You Came For" was at the heart of the Harris-Swift breakup. According to TMZ, Swift wrote the song and sent it to Harris, and they both went into the studio to do a full demo version with Swift on vocals, but agreed that they didn't want their relationship to overshadow the song. Instead, Swift would use a pseudonym. Enter: Nils Sjöberg, a name that sounds like a famous sommelier or a composer who summers with the dudes from Sigur Rós.
According to TMZ's sources in the Swift camp, everything was cool until Harris, while promoting his new hit song, appeared on Ryan Seacrest's radio show in April and downplayed the idea of ever collaborating with Swift. "You know, we haven't even spoken about it," he told Seacrest. "I can't see it happening." Apparently, this comment hurt Swift and played a role in the end of their relationship.
Adding credence to TMZ's story, a rep for Swift confirmed with People that the 1989 singer wrote the song. What's less clear is exactly what role the song played in the breakup. Either way, it does feel like yet another piece of savvy media manipulation on the part of Swift, on par with her recent use of the Hiddleswift drama to deflect Kim Kardashian's accusations of duplicitousness regarding the Kanye West "Famous" conflict in a GQ cover story. Taylor Swift has experience with the media. These leaks don't often happen randomly.
Calvin Harris did not take this well
Calvin Harris was, uh, not cool with how the whole situation made him look. This afternoon he fired off the following tweets, presumably from some exotic beach locale, where he's nursing his wounds and totally not streaming The Night Manager.
Who are the winners and losers here?
It sounds like Harris is angry and out for blood -- his mention of the long-simmering Katy Perry and Taylor Swift feud feels especially noteworthy. Frankly, it's not a good look. Then again, Swift definitely comes off looking petty for this whole thing. When the two first broke up, it felt like they made a concerted effort to do it in the least messy way possible. There was a lot of talk about "love and respect." Now, with all this songwriting drama and the possible legal conflicts that could pop up with an issue like this, it doesn't feel like a clean break.
But with these celebrity dust-ups, you always have to ask that classic wrestling question: is this a work? It's almost impossible to peel back the layers of artifice and one-upmanship involved in a beef like this. There are so many unknowable factors at work. Everyone has a project to promote. It's great fodder for other celebrities, like the name-checked Katy Perry, to fire off the perfect GIF.
At one point, depending on how cynical you are about celebrity couples, Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris had a relationship. Now they have a thriving content farm.
One thing is for sure: it has made life hell for random Swedish guys named Nils Sjöberg. Don't pity Hiddleswift. Pray for Nils.
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