Who are The Blue Nile? Taylor Swift sings about Matty Healy's 'favourite band'

Matty Healy has said The Blue Nile is his favourite band (Lesley Martin/PA) (PA Wire)
Matty Healy has said The Blue Nile is his favourite band (Lesley Martin/PA) (PA Wire)

Taylor Swift is known for riddles, and for song lyrics that provide an insight into her personal life.

The Tortured Poets Department, her new album which was released on Friday morning, contains further hints, with ninth track Guilty as Sin? being given particular attention by curious fans.

The Jack Antonoff-produced song is said to be about Matty Healy, the controversial frontman of The 1975, with whom Swift had a relationship in 2023.

Their romance came shortly after Swift split from her boyfriend of six years, actor Joe Alwyn, but was blighted by negative publicity and came to an end after less than one month.

Healy has not always been a popular figure but Guilty as Sin? shows he is at least remembered by Swift, or at least as far as fan interpretation goes. Here’s why.

What is Guilty as Sin about?

Healy came under fire from (over?) protective Swift fans - who were quick to mention his kissing fans, podcast slander and questionable tweets as reasons not to date him.

The song could be seen as a companion piece to her 2022 song Carolina, which was used in the film Where the Crawdads Sing.

The lyrics to Carolina are: “Oh, Carolina knows why for years they’ve said. That I was guilty as sin and sleep in a liar’s bed.”

There are further hints to Healy throughout and her mindset at the time - including a reference to The Downtown Lights by The Blue Nile, his favourite song.

Who are The Blue Nile?

The Blue Nile is a Scottish band that specialised in art rock and pop rock, releasing four albums from 1984 to 2004 - when they disbanded.

Guilty as Sin references The Downtown Lights by The Blue Nile - a favourite song of Healy, who also considers their album Hats to be one of the best of the 1980s.

He said: “The Blue Nile are my favourite band of all time. They’re f**king amazing. Musically, they’ve inspired me so much. There’s so much drama. It’s perfect nighttime music. It’s beautiful, romantic music with British sensibilities. The sounds on it are just amazing.”

Healy has also said that The 1975 song Love It If We Made It was like a Blue Nile “on steroids”.

What is The Downtown Lights about?

The 1989 single was not met with critical acclaim upon release and only reached number 67 in the UK chart but clearly struck a chord with Healy.

The synth-pop number is a “sad rumination on the loneliness that pervades shiny urban cityscapes,” according to Genius.

Imagery in the lyrics show the bright city lights to be welcoming while also representing darker substances that lurk beneath the surface. It also tells of how the people on the streets remain dour and troubled while the lights shine on.

The second verse goes: “In love we're all the same, we're walking down an empty street.

“And with nobody, call your name. Empty streets, empty nights. The downtown lights.”