If it was possible for the titanium goose otherwise known as Taylor Swift’s “1989” to stop laying billion-download eggs, I think we all kinda felt that time was coming. While Taylor cleaned up at the Grammys, let’s face it, “Out of the Woods” is weak and the best singles have generally all been
culled from the album. (Calm down: “Clean” is wonderful but not a single, and “How You Get The Girl” is catchy but not transcendent.)
So when I was driving home and heard “New Romantics” last Sunday I did a little whiplash double take. Was that Halsey? No. Could it possibly be Taylor? A quick google search of the lyrics and yes, indeed, a hidden jewel was revealed that I’m willing to bet most people never knew existed since it was only included as a bonus track on the version of the CD sold at Target.
(People still buy CDs?)
It’s a little foot-stompy and electronic, and Swift’s voice sometimes gets lost in the commotion, but the lyrics are snappy and clever, and for a change offer an optimistic/hopeful/carefree take on love and relationships, not a melancholy/angry one saddled with baggage and payback motifs. And the kids are going to love it. But do yourself a favor and download the song because the iTunes version is way better than the original Target version.
Taylor has spent a decade singing about about broken hearts, and in this song she’s moving on and daring you to challenge her. This process definitely got started with “22” and continued with “Shake It Off” but this is next level, and we get that right from the jump in the first verse.
We show off our different scarlet letters/Trust me, mine is better.
Who doesn’t love that? I mean, she owns it, and then she keeps going.
We’re so young but we’re on the road to ruin/We play dumb but we know exactly what we’re doing/We cry tears of mascara in the bathroom/Honey, life is just a classroom
Can you see your tween/teen getting into this? Just wait.
‘Cause, baby, I could build a castle/Out of all the bricks they threw at me/And every day is like a battle/But every night with us is like a dream
I’m nodding along ironically, but I envision this song being played at my son’s middle school dance tonight and kids screaming along to the lyrics. Not to mention the next few lines:
Baby, we’re the new romantics/Come on, come along with me/Heart break is the national anthem/We sing it proudly
One might be tempted to chalk this up in the angst column, but no. It’s way past that. Embrace the crazy and the nonsense and the drama and just ignore it. Live a little, love a lot, and care not at all. It’s downright Ecclesiastical.
We need love, but all we want is danger/We team up then switch sides like a record changer/The rumors are terrible and cruel/But, honey, most of them are true
No surprise here that I love the song. It’s a fast, risky, bold, dare I say provocative, and certainly empowering. Taylor’s critics, or our kids’ mean friends, or the crappy world in general, can think whatever they want. And it Taylor’s world it just doesn’t matter because she slays her naysayers; if only we could all demolish our enemies and challenges the way that she continues to do.
New Romantics is a winner out of the gate, and it boggles the mind that it was kept off of the iTunes album… but then again, In Taylor We Trust, so perhaps she buried it for a year and half just so that she could unleash it once she used up all of the best songs on the regular album.
She even tells us as much in the song: we know exactly what we’re doing. Yet again.