Since its release this week, Taylor Swift’s new song Out of the Woods has been on repeat so much that my parents have begun to sing it around the house. I’ve listened to it on my train rides to uni, I’ve listened to it while writing essays, I’ve even listened to it in the shower (bathrooms have great acoustics). I’m actually listening to it right now. So it would be fair to say, against all the judgement I will probably get for liking a T-Swift song: I absolutely love this one.
The new track, the second song released from Swift’s much-anticipated fifth album 1989, marks a transition from the country hits her previous albums were built around to a new beginning in the pop genre.
From the first verse, the influence of producer Jack Antonoff, best know as guitarist of Fun.and Bleachers front man is obvious; almost as if Swift is the featuring artist on a Fun. song. The pop synth beat harkens back to last year’s Fun. hits, with Swift’s power pop vocals dominating over the multilayered electronic sounds. A techno drumbeat, kaleidoscopic synthetic sounds, and choral echo back up vocals work together to create a song which fits perfectly in the pop synth genre – catchy, but musically interesting.
While Out may be moving Swift into a new territory musically, her lyrics – also co-written by Antonoff – carry the same evocative romantic tales that have become her trademark. Imagery of ‘moving the furniture around so we could dance’ and the repetition of ‘are we out of the woods yet?’ bring to mind a passionate but tension filled relationship, one which Swift wanted to tell in a song that “stressed that even if a relationship is breakable and fragile and full of anxiety, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthwhile, exciting, and all the things that we look for”.
Social media debate around the song surrounds whom the lyrics are referencing – but I don’t care who this song is about. With Swift’s new track, it’s no longer about who; rather finally focusing on the music and how different it sounds from previous country hits. All that matters is it makes me want to get up and dance, and in my books, that’s what makes Out of the Woods a great pop song.
Out is going to be stuck in my head for the next few weeks, but for once I actually don’t mind.