Taylor Swift, August: the lyrics and their meaning

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August is a song by Taylor Swift, published on her 2020 album Folklore. People happen to rediscover the track during this month in summer, and curiosity arises, as the lyrics are about a particular situation that Taylor explained in some interviews while presenting the album. In this article, we will analyze the lyrics and provide an interpretation of their meaning. At the end of the article, you will find the complete song’s lyrics.

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You can find the official lyrics video of the song below.

Taylor Swift – august (Official Lyric Video)
Watch this video on YouTube.

August: inside the lyrics and their meaning

During the release of the album Folklore, Taylor Swift referred to three songs inside the album, representing a linked trilogy about a teenage love triangle. Fans have analyzed the album lyrics carefully and have identified the three songs: they are Cardigan, which has the point of view of the girl named Betty, then Betty, which tells James’ point of view, and finally this track, August, which exposes the things viewed from the perspective of the other girl, called Inez. This context will help us in interpreting the song’s lyrics.

August is a song about a teenager’s feelings towards a guy she’s attracted to, inside a typical summer love story. She says that August slipped away so fast, and she wonders if he will call her after school starts again.

Your back beneath the sun
Wishin’ I could write my name on it
Will you call when you’re back at school?
I remember thinkin’ I had you

But I can see us lost in the memory
August slipped away into a moment in time
‘Cause it was never mine
And I can see us twisted in bedsheets
August sipped away like a bottle of wine
‘Cause you were never mine

The girl wishes to own the guy more. She thinks about the time they spent together over the summer but then reflects that he has never been indeed hers. And the reason is what listeners can discover in the other two songs of the love triangle trilogy: the guy has another relationship with Betty.

The first lines of the song are the poetic way Taylor Swift describes the beauty of a teenage summer love story:

Salt air, and the rust on your door
I never needed anything more
Whispers of “Are you sure?”
“Never have I ever before”

The salt air hints at a location close to the sea, the line “I never needed anything more” refers to what teenagers usually think about love, and the last two lines seem to be the typical exchange young couples have when they lose virginity.

The rest of the song describes how an illicit affair occurs: the relationship between James and Inez cannot be enjoyed publicly because James is already taken. The two meet secretly behind the mall, a line Taylor Swift saved a long time before as a possible inspiration for a song.

Back when we were still changin’ for the better
Wanting was enough
For me, it was enough
To live for the hope of it all
Cancel plans just in case you’d call
And say, “Meet me behind the mall”
So much for summer love and saying “us”
‘Cause you weren’t mine to lose
You weren’t mine to lose, no

This summer love is the girl’s most significant interest. She organizes her day around it; she enjoys the feeling it gives her, canceling plans last minute, if needed, to enjoy every possible moment with the guy she likes. The girl can also take the initiative and organize spontaneous encounters, although she knows he’s not exclusively involved with her. That’s what the last lines in the song say:

‘Cause you were never mine
Never mine
But do you remember?
Remember when I pulled up and said “Get in the car”
And then canceled my plans just in case you’d call?

The meaning of the lyrics inside Taylor Swift’s August is all here: a teenage girl in love with a guy who also has another girl, thinking at all the moments they spent together that summer, with the awareness that he’s not hers.

Read other popular song lyrics meaning on Auralcrave

The complete lyrics

Salt air, and the rust on your door
I never needed anything more
Whispers of “Are you sure?”
“Never have I ever before”

But I can see us lost in the memory
August slipped away into a moment in time
‘Cause it was never mine
And I can see us twisted in bedsheets
August sipped away like a bottle of wine
‘Cause you were never mine

Your back beneath the sun
Wishin’ I could write my name on it
Will you call when you’re back at school?
I remember thinkin’ I had you

But I can see us lost in the memory
August slipped away into a moment in time
‘Cause it was never mine
And I can see us twisted in bedsheets
August sipped away like a bottle of wine
‘Cause you were never mine

Back when we were still changin’ for the better
Wanting was enough
For me, it was enough
To live for the hope of it all
Cancel plans just in case you’d call
And say, “Meet me behind the mall”
So much for summer love and saying “us”
‘Cause you weren’t mine to lose
You weren’t mine to lose, no

But I can see us lost in the memory
August slipped away into a moment in time
‘Cause it was never mine
And I can see us twisted in bedsheets
August sipped away like a bottle of wine
‘Cause you were never mine

‘Cause you were never mine
Never mine
But do you remember?
Remember when I pulled up and said “Get in the car”
And then canceled my plans just in case you’d call?
Back when I was livin’ for the hope of it all, for the hope of it all
“Meet me behind the mall”
(Remember when I pulled up and said “Get in the car”)
(And then canceled my plans just in case you’d call?)
(Back when I was livin’ for the hope of it all, for the hope of it all)
(“Meet me behind the mall”)
Remember when I pulled up and said “Get in the car”
And then canceled my plans just in case you’d call?
Back when I was livin’ for the hope of it all (For the hope of it all)
For the hope of it all, for the hope of it all
(For the hope of it all, for the hope of it all)