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Taylor Swift Pens Essay on Power of Music & Writing the Ultimate Pop Song

Taylor Swift Pens Essay on Power of Music & Writing the Ultimate Pop Song

Taylor Swift pops in yellow on the cover of Elle UK‘s April 2019 issue, on sale March 7.

Here’s what the 29-year-old “Delicate” singer had to share with the mag, in a piece titled “Power of Pop”:

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Taylor Swift

“My favorite kinds of books to read are the ones that do more than just tell you a story. They do more than just set the scene or paint the picture. The writing I love the most places you into that story, that room, that rain soaked kiss. You can smell the air, hear the sounds, and feel your heart race as the character’s does. It’s something F. Scott Fitzgerald did so well, to describe a scene so gorgeously interwoven with rich emotional revelations, that you yourself have escaped from your own life for a moment.”

“I’m highly biased, but I think that the way music can transport you back to a long-forgotten memory is the closest sensation we have to traveling in time. To this day, when I hear ‘Cowboy Take Me Away’ by the Dixie Chicks, I instantly recall the feeling of being twelve years old, sitting in a little wood paneled room in my family home in Pennsylvania. I’m clutching a guitar and learning to play the chords and sing the words at the same time, rehearsing for a gig at a coffee house. When I hear ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ by Panic! At The Disco, I’m transported back to being sixteen and driving down the streets of Hendersonville, Tennessee, with my best friend Abigail, euphorically screaming the lyrics. When I hear ‘How to Save a Life’ by The Fray, ‘Breathe (2AM)’ by Anna Nalick, or ‘The Story’ by Brandi Carlile, I immediately flashback to being seventeen and on tour for months on end. When I’d get a day at home in between long stretches on the road sharing a van with my band and crew, I would spend my rare nights off painting alone with candles lit in my room – just being alone with those songs (Those are all from the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack. My commitment to that show truly knows no bounds). I’m convinced that ‘You Learn’ by Alanis Morissette, ‘Put Your Records On’ by Corinne Bailey Rae and ‘Why’ by Annie Lennox have actually healed my heart after bad breakups or let downs.”

Click inside to keep reading…

“I love writing songs because I love preserving memories, like putting a picture frame around a feeling you once had. I like to use nostalgia as inspiration when I’m writing songs for the same reason I like to take photographs. I like to be able to remember the extremely good and extremely bad times. I want to remember the color of the sweater, the temperature of the air, the creak of the floorboards, the time on the clock when your heart was stolen or shattered or healed or claimed forever.”

“The fun challenge of writing a pop song is squeezing those evocative details into the catchiest melodic cadence you can possibly think of. I thrive on the challenge of sprinkling personal mementos and shreds of reality into a genre of music that is universally known for being, well, universal. You’d think that as pop writers, we’re supposed to be writing songs that everyone can sing along to, so you’d assume they would have to be pretty lyrically generic… AND YET the ones I think cut through the most are actually the most detailed, and I don’t mean in a Shakespearean sonnet type of way, although I love Shakespeare as much as the next girl. Obviously. (See ‘Love Story,’ 2009).”

“In modern pop, songs/bops/chunes including extremely personal details like ‘Kiki, do you love me’ and ‘Baby pull me closer in the backseat of your rover’ have been breaking through on the most global cultural level. This year on tour, I got to hear stadium crowds passionately sing along to a young woman from Cuba singing about ‘Havana.’”

“I think these days, people are reaching out for connection and comfort in the music they listen to. We like being confided in and hearing someone say, ‘this is what I went through’ as proof to us that we can get through our own struggles. We actually do NOT want our pop music to be generic. I think a lot of music lovers want some biographical glimpse into the world of our narrator, a hole in the emotional walls people put up around themselves to survive. This glimpse into the artist’s story invites us to connect it to our own, and in the best case scenario, allows us the ability to assign that song to our memories. It’s this alliance between a song and our memories of the times it helped us heal, or made us cry, dance, or escape that truly stands the test of time. Just like a great book.”

For more from Taylor, visit Elle.com/UK.

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Photos: Courtesy of ELLE UK/ Quentin Jones
Posted to: Magazine, Taylor Swift

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  • Jeff

    Is she for real with this? She needs to get over herself. She tries so hard it is embarrassing.

  • MM

    That cover shot is terrible. What were they doing with those extra shots of the yellow fabric behind her? If it was supposed to make it look like the dress was flowing all around her, the editing is really bad. It just looks awkward.

  • Her Royal Bossness

    That was a very well-written piece by her 👏🏾 Can’t wait for the new music!

  • Cain Barron

    Oh. You just need to get over yourself.

  • Cain Barron

    Anyone who doesn’t blind hate her can easily know that she can write so well. That’s why she still retain flocks of fans whereas other artists have been seeing gradual downward trends in fandom.

  • KS_in_TP

    I was struck by how every song brings her to a thought about about herself. Everything leads back to Taylor. She seems to have no imagination before her own self. She has always struck me as incredible self-involved. Lyrics, poems, books, stories, they all transport the reader or the listener, but for most people the transport is not only limited to their own personal experiences. But with Taylor Swift everything is about her.

  • KS_in_TP

    Yeah, at first glance it looks like the fabric is part of her outfit, and then you look closer and it’s all spliced. Really a shitty job aesthetically. And then her unattractive body language, pouty face, and ugly hair to top it all off.

  • Noogin

    You should waddle over to dlisted, where you’ll find the company of other lots of other under-employed, under-achieving, bitter, perpetually aggrieved losers like yourself.

  • Noogin

    Try not to burn the fries at work today. #trash

  • KS_in_TP

    Says the loser with too much free time to run all over the internet defending a woman who doesn’t know you exist. #pathetic

  • Noogin

    Who’s defending Swift? I simply noted that you’re evidently an angry, empty, bitter loser who isn’t having a happy life, probably doing part-time shift work in some service industry job where you have to fake-smile for a paycheck.

    It shows.

  • Sprite

    “I believe I believe in what she says yes I do ♪♫♬”

  • KS_in_TP

    A truly bizarre comment. BYE TROLL.

  • Cain Barron

    A lot of artists have wrote songs about themselves though. It makes them really relatable.

    “I was struck by how every song brings her to a thought about about herself.”

    Never Grow Up, Your Are In Love and others would like to have a word with you.

    “She seems to have no imagination before her own self”…… No. Wrong.

    During her concerts, she has speeches related to the life of bullied people, those suffering feeling insecurities and those having hardships in life. She always thank her tourmates, crew and even those who set up stadiums in each tour stop.

  • Cain Barron

    Do you know which loser doesn’t have balls? Someone who judge a woman.

  • KS_in_TP

    Oh child, don’t confuse me with someone who gives a shit.