Subtle details in Taylor Swift songs you won’t be able to unhear

Daphne L.

Marshall Womer, sophomore, says, “Taylor Swift is a brilliant songwriter whose intricate details reveal secret meanings,” and he couldn’t be more spot-on. Swift’s songs, including the songwriting and the musical elements themselves, are filled with so many minute details that even an experienced listener may not have noticed them the first several times they enjoyed the song.

1. The beat in “Wildest Dreams”

Swift recently re-recorded the track off of her 2015 1989 album after its rise in popularity on TikTok. The memorable beat paired with the synth-pop strings throughout the song is actually Swift’s heartbeat, making the beat just that much more personal to Swift.

2. The parallels to “The Archer” in “Anti-Hero”

“The Archer”, a song from Swift’s 2019 album Lover, has recently increased in popularity. It’s one of the slower songs on the album, so it didn’t initially get as much attention as the other, more noticeable songs, like “You Need To Calm Down” or “ME!”. Swift even played “The Archer” on her Eras Tour. Some fans have taken notice of the many parallels that one of her newer releases, “Anti-Hero” (from the 2022 Midnights album), has with “The Archer”. Even the themes of the two songs are similar, with “The Archer” commenting on Swift’s fear of tragedy and “Anti-Hero” centering on Swift’s insecurities in general.

“Anti-Hero” opens with the line, “I have this thing where I get older, but just never wiser”. “The Archer” includes the line “I never grew up, it’s getting so old” in its first prechorus. Another similarity comes when Swift sings the line in “Anti-Hero” that says, “When my depression works the graveyard shift, all of the people / I’ve ghosted stand there in the room.” “The Archer” references nightly pondering too, with the line, “I wake in the night, I pace like a ghost.”  Yet another parallel of the songs is the line in “Anti-Hero”, “I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror”, paired with the line in “The Archer”, “I cut off my nose just to spite my face / Then I hate my reflection for years and years.”

3. The introduction in “Last Kiss”

Swift dated Joe Jonas in 2008. Their relationship ended when Jonas broke up with Swift over the phone in just 27 seconds. In “Last Kiss”, a track from Swift’s 2010 album, Speak Now, starts with a 27-second instrumental intro to represent this painfully quick breakup.

4. The colors used to describe love

Swift’s 2012 song (later rerecorded and rereleased in 2021), “Red”, centers Swift’s idea that intense relationships are “red”. In the album’s liner notes, Swift wrote, “These are moments of newfound hope, extreme joy, intense passion, wishful thinking, and in some cases, the unthinkable letdown. And in my mind, every one of these memories looks the same to me. I see all of these moments in bright, burning red.”

Later, in her 2019 Lover era, Swift released her song “Daylight”, which says, “I once believed love would be burning red / but it’s golden, like daylight.” Most recently, in her Midnights album, specifically the track “Maroon”, Swift brought in a darker shade of red to describe a romance that once seemed more light and innocent but she now sees as darker. Throughout the song, Swift uses many words for the color she envisions: maroon, blood, burgundy, scarlet, roses, rubies, and rust.