Taylor Swift fans think tortured poet has a bit of a mermaid reference

Taylor Swift's new album may feature Princess Ariel. On February 6, the singer announced the tracklist for her new album, The Tortured Poets Department, which will be released on April 19. Fans immediately latched onto the sixth track, "But Daddy I Love Him," looking for references and connections to her past that could hint at the song's meaning.

"But Daddy, I love him" is a line from "The Little Mermaid," which was released in 1989, the year Swift was born. In the scene, Ariel's father, King Triton, discovers her affair with Prince Eric and forbids her from traveling to the sea to meet him.

Swift is a huge fan of The Little Mermaid . To welcome 2019, she hosted a costume party on New Year's Eve for guests to dress up as their childhood heroes. As seen in her Instagram photos, she chose Ariel, complete with a green mermaid tail and lobster purse.

Taylor Swift dressed as Ariel from The Little Mermaid . Instagram/Taylor Swift

A little theory

In the movie, Ariel gives up her voice, becomes human and reunites with Prince Eric. This has led some Swifties to believe "But Dad I Love Him" ​​may have been written to address the singer's six-year relationship with Joe Alwyn, which they believe she kept mum about for his sake.

One fan wrote: "But daddy I love him exactly for The Little Mermaid because Ariel gave up her voice to be with the love of her life."

In fact, many fans believe that much of the tracklisting indicates that Tormented Poet was a breakup album, due to song titles such as "London Is So Long" and "The Smallest Man Ever." The Little Mermaid reference fits right into this theory.

But what about Harry Styles?

Harry Styles and Taylor Swift speak at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards on February 5, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. Fraser Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Swift also linked "But Dad I Love Him" ​​to her ex-boyfriend Harry Styles, as he was spotted wearing T-shirts with the phrase on multiple occasions.

However, this could just be a coincidence, as Disney's 2023 live-action remake of The Little Mermaid cast Styles as Prince Eric, which could be how he got the inspiration. (Or he's just a fan, like Swift and many others.)

Although Swift and Styles' relationship came under renewed scrutiny due to her 1989 "From the Vault" track (Tyler's version) , the two appear to be on good terms. They even attended the Grammy Awards twice, making her recent "But Dad I Love Him," which she wrote about him, unlikely.