Taylor Swift's '1989' Liner Note Messages & Reference Guide
It's (finally) here!
Taylor Swift's fifth studio album, 1989, officially dropped in the dead of night at midnight on Monday (Oct. 27). Anticipation had been rapidly building for quite some time: Besides lead single "Shake It Off," Swift also teased album songs "Out of the Woods" and "Welcome to New York" ahead of the official release.
By the late hours on Sunday, fan excitement was at a fever pitch online, with fans (and Swift) trending #4HoursTill1989 and so on every hour. And now the most anticipated album of the year has finally arrived. Click here to read Billboard's official review of the album; below, we're going to have some fun with the references in the lyrics. And yes, we saved you the work and also wrote out all the different liner note messages from 1989's booklet. Breaking away from tradition, this time around when the messages are read in order and taken together, they could be their own story; a brief autobiography of Swift's last two years. The statements tell a tale of a young couple who loved each other, but were in a tumultuous relationship doomed in the spotlight. Never fear: It all works out alright for her in the end, though, and she found something better than a boyfriend: Herself.
Taylor Swift is all grown up.
1. Welcome to New York
Liner note message: We Begin Our Story In New York
As Swifties on Twitter instantly noted when the song was first released, this tune is a perfect finish to a nice little trilogy that began with Taylor Swift's "A Place in This World" where she sang about -- you guessed it! -- looking for where she belonged in the world, and continued on Speak Now's "Mean," where she sang/promised/threatened, "someday I'll be living in a big ol' city."
Buzziest Lyric: "When we first dropped on apartment floors/ took our broken hearts put them in a drawer/ everybody here was someone else before/ and you can want who you want/ boys and boys and girls and girls."
2. Blank Space
Liner note message: There Once Was A Girl Known By Everyone and No One
Look at that! Swift's sense of humor is on display throughout this song, sending up her public image as a serial dater. Note to tabloids: Swift is one step ahead of you, generating and mocking her own headlines. "Got a long line of ex-lovers/ they'll tell you I'm insane/ but I've got a blank space, baby/ and I'll write your name." The liner message certainly seems to once again point to a note Swift has repeatedly mentioned in press: Just because you know part of the story doesn't mean you know the whole thing.
Buzziest Lyric: "Darling, I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream." Get ready to see this all over Tumblr.
Liner note message: Her Heart Belonged To Someone Who Couldn't Stay
Harry Styles is the victim of a couple of real zingers on 1989. It's too bad for him/super great for her that his last name is so conveniently close to a word that works so well in any kind of rom-com context. This tune is already in a Target commercial; the countdown begins for it to inevitably be the theme song for Rachel McAdams' next project as well.
Also, for what it's worth, the lyric "I heard that you've been out and about with some other girl" is nearly verbatim to what an "authorized source" told Vanity Fair last year about why the two broke up. The same authorized source also said Styles and Swift would break up and get back together again, just like the chorus of "Style" helpfully details about a tumultuous relationship.
Buzziest Lyric: "You've got that long hair slicked back white T-shirt/ and I've got that good girl faith and a tight little skirt/ and when we go crashing down we come back every time/ cause we never go out of style." Is "long hair slicked back" a nice way of referring to Styles' ever-present man bun?
4. Out of the Woods
Liner note message: They Loved Each Other Recklessly
We've already broken down that this tune has several specific mentions of Styles. The most telling clue? The lyric "Your necklace hanging round my neck/ The night we couldn't quite forget/ When we decided/ To move the furniture so we could dance/ Two paper airplanes flying, flying." When the two were together, the duo wore identical airplane necklaces.
Buzziest Lyric:"Remember when you hit the breaks too soon/ twenty stitches in a hospital room." (Recall: Swift noted to Rolling Stone that the song was inspired by a snowmobiling accident with an ex.)
5. All You Had To Do Was Stay
Liner note message: They Paid The Price
The topics may be different, but we can't be the only one who were instantly reminded of Red's "Stay Stay Stay," right? See also: "We made quite a mess, babe" from "I Almost Do."
Buzziest Lyric:"People like you always want back/ the love they pushed aside / but people like me are gone forever/ when you say goodbye."
6. Shake It Off
Liner note message: She Danced To Forget Him
Haters gonna hate, Swift's just gonna shake.
Buzziest Lyric: "I go on too many dates/ but I can't make them stay /at least that's what people say."
7. I Wish You Would
Liner note message: He Drove Past Her Street Each Night
Well, "drove past [a] street each night" sure sounds like a young Ms. Swift circa the "Picture to Burn" music video. Also, 2 a.m. is certainly a popular time in the Swift song catalogue. Besides "I Wish You Would," that time receives a shout out in "Breathe," "The Way I Loved You," "Mary's Song," and "Enchanted." (And that's not even counting the close-but-not-quite "lit through the darkness at 1:58.")
Buzziest Lyric: "We're a crooked love/ in a straight line down"
8. Bad Blood
Liner note message: She Made Friends And Enemies
From the moment Swift said in the press that this track was written in response to a female entertainer, speculation has run rampant that this tune is about Katy Perry. (Here's the "evidence.") Lyrically, it's not as specific as someone who loves a good feud might have hoped for (although "still got scars in my back from your knife" is an epic response). For those who are really digging: "You live with ghosts" could refer to Perry's hit "Ghost," where Perry sings about moving on from someone she was once close with.
Buzziest Lyric: "Band aids don’t fix bullet holes/ you say sorry just for show/ if you live like that/ you live with ghosts/ if you love like that/ blood runs cold."
9. Wildest Dreams
Liner note message: He Only Saw Her In His Dreams
No one understands longing quite like Swift, and this ballad that remembers the past is more adult than many of her previous works about lost love. Red lips get another mention, as do charming bad boys: "He's so bad/but does it so well," she explains.
Buzziest Lyric: "His hands are in my hair/ his clothes are in my room/ and his voice is a familiar sound/ nothing lasts forever/ but this is getting good now."
10. How You Get The Girl
Liner note message: Then One Day He Came Back
She knew he was trouble when he walked in (again) a.k.a that time Swift basically scripted her own '80s romantic comedy. (The guy shows up at her door after months of the silence treatment, full of empty promises, ready to give it another shot.)
Buzziest Lyric: "I want you for worse or for better/ I would wait forever and ever."
11. This Love
Liner note message: Timing Is A Funny Thing
Buzziest Lyric: "These hands had to let it go free/ and this love came back to me."
12. I Know Places
Liner note message: And Everyone Was Watching
Swift has often talked about her romantic relationships in her music (duh), but for one of the first times, in this tune she highlights the differences between her every girl dating struggles that are oh-so-relatable, and the ones that are specific to her ultra-famous status, namely her loss of privacy and the insane pressure the attention puts on her new paramours. "I can hear them whisper as we pass by, bad sign," she sings. For those looking for specific call outs, she notes about the guy in question: "Your eyes so green." Yup, for the record, Styles has green eyes.
Buzziest Lyric:"They are the hunters/ we are the foxes/ and we run."
Liner note message: She Lost Him But She Found Herself And Somehow That Was Everything
Declaring "10 months older I won't give in, now that I'm clean, I'm never going to risk it," Swift seems to be saying goodbye -- publicly -- to the boy-crazy period of her life in the spotlight. Her longest liner note message ever has a very important announcement: Let the new chapter begin.
Buzziest Lyric: "You're still all over me like a wine-stained dress I can't wear anymore."
What references jumped out at you? What lyrics are you already texting your friends?
Hope you enjoy October 27th or, as it shall now be called, national Taylor Swift day #TS1989— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) October 27, 2014