You already knew that Panic! at the Disco‘s Brendon Urie appears on “Me!,” the first single from Taylor Swift‘s just-release seventh album Lover. And by now you’ve probably obsessively listened to the gentle, banjo-laced country ballad “Soon You’ll Get Better” featuring the Dixie Chicks a dozen times.
But dive deeper into the lyrics and tracks on the album and you might find some unexpected cameos, shout-outs and secret surprises. Right off the bat, the cutting first track, “I Forgot That You Existed,” casually tosses a Six God refence into the first verse when Swift sings, “In my feelings more than Drake, so yeah/ Your name on my lips, tongue-tied.”
Track 11, “London Boy,” is already emerging as a fan favorite, if only because Swifties are pretty sure it’s a mash note to Swift’s British boyfriend, actor Joe Alwyn. But the song opens with a sneaky cameo from two of the singer’s upcoming Cats co-stars. The voice you hear saying, “We can go driving on my scooter… you know, just ’round London” is none other than Macavity, actor Idris Elba. The clip is from a March 2017 appearance by Elba on The Late Late Show, which just so happens to be hosted by another Cats-man, James Corden (Bustopher Jones), who can be heard in the snippet as well.
In addition to ticking off just about every British thing imaginable — Camden Market, Highgate, best mates, the West end, pubs, rugby, gray skies, the towns of Brixton and Shoreditch, Bond Street, Soho and heaths — the song also shouts out fashion designer (and daughter of Beatle Paul) Stella McCartney in the line, “Like a Tennessee Stella McCartney on the Heath/ Just wanna be with you/ Wanna be with you.”
On the fourth track, “The Man,” Swift makes a pointed statement about how much harder women need to work than men to get to the same finish line, tossing in a shout-out to an A-list star who seems to have it all. “And they would toast to me, oh/ Let the players play/ I’d be just like Leon/ In Saint-Tropez,” she sings, seemingly alluding to actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s decades-long playboy lifestyle.
And though they’re not headline grabbers, Swift includes the angelic voices of a children’s choir from Toronto’s Regent Park School of Music on the spare, island-grooved “It’s Nice to Have a Friend.”