It’s something we pretty much assumed, that Taylor Swift penned songs about her ex-boyfriend Harry Styles. But she’s not even playing coy anymore — she flat out admits “I Knew You Were Trouble” was written about the One Direction singer, and she’s happy to let the world know it!
Taylor Swift Reveals Who Her Song Is About
“You’re balancing the analytical side of your brain,” Taylor says about performing at the BRIT Awards, “which is telling you where to go and how to go there, with the other side of your brain, which is saying ‘Feel everything you’re singing, and show it on your face. Feel everything exactly as you felt it when you wrote the song.’
Taylor definitely seemed to “feel everything” at the BRITs when she tore off a wedding dress to reveal sexy black lingerie. The Sunday Times magazine interviewer then asks if she was horrified to perform “I Knew You Were Trouble” in front of Harry she says, “Well, it’s not hard to access that emotion when the person the song is directed at is standing by the side of the stage watching.”
This gives new meaning to those lyrics, and they actually make a little more sense now.
Once touted as a teen idol and a genre sensation, Taylor Swift is neither of those things today: At 22, she has become one of the biggest commercial forces in all of pop music. Her latest album, Red, sold 1.2 million copies in its first week — the highest such sales total in a decade. She spoke with NPR’s Guy Raz about success, setbacks and why, in a career that began at 14, so many of her songs have dealt in love and heartbreak. Hear the radio version at the audio link on this page, and read more of their conversation below.
GUY RAZ: You quote the poet Pablo Neruda right on the first page of the liner notes. The line is, “Love is so short, forgetting is so long.” And it seems like that line sort of sets the theme for this record.
TAYLOR SWIFT: It really does. When I read that line, I absolutely connected to it. I felt like my favorite writers have almost musical hooks in their work, whether it’s poetry or a hook at the end of a chapter that makes you want to read the next one. And I think that my favorite writers definitely have something musical about what they do, in saying something so relatable and universal and so simple.
You write the vast majority of your songs, and a lot of your themes are about love or love lost and heartbreak. I sometimes wonder whether you date a lot of jerks.
[Laughs.] I’ve written all my songs on every single one of my records, and that’s what’s been fun about looking back. My first album is the diary of when I was 14, 15, 16. My second album, Fearless, was from 16 to 18, and so on, and so on. So you have my life being recorded in journal entries from these two-year periods of my life since I was 16. I like to write about love and love lost because I feel like there are so many different subcategories of emotions that you can possibly delve into. I’ve never missed two people the same way — it’s always different for me. I’ve never fallen in love with someone and had the same exact kind of feeling come over me. So I think that there are all these different mixtures of emotions that go into individual feelings that you feel for individual people. And, yeah, most of the time it doesn’t work out.
That’s the thing with love: It’s going to be wrong until it’s right. So you experience these different shades of wrong, and you miss the good things about those people, and you regret not seeing the red flags for the bad things about those people, but it’s all a learning process. And being 22, you’re kind of in a crash course with love and life and lessons and learning the hard way, and thankfully, I’ve been able to write about those emotions as they’ve affected me.
Is there a line that you won’t cross when it comes to writing about how you feel?
I don’t think that I’ve ever experienced that line before.
So it’s really you speaking in your lyrics?
Yeah. I’ve always written songs the same way. You learn different tricks — you learn craft, you learn structure, all that — as you go. Since I was 12, I would get an idea, and that idea is either a fragment of melody and lyric mixed in, [or] maybe it’s a hook. Maybe it’s the first line of a song. Maybe it’s a background vocal part or something, but it’s like the first piece of a puzzle. And my job in writing the song and completing it is filling in all the rest of the pieces and figuring out where they go. The reason why I keep doing it is because it’s like a message in a bottle. You can put this message in a bottle, throw it out into the ocean, and maybe someday, the person that you wrote that song about is going to hear it and understand exactly how you felt. I think that’s what keeps drawing me to songwriting: the spontaneity of how you can get an idea at 4 in the morning or while walking through the airport, and also the fact that it’s conveying a message to someone that’s more real than what you had the courage to say in person. (more…)
The Teen Choice Awards revealed no eye-popping upsets in it music categories this year, unlike the fashion category in which Miley Cyrus upset Katy Perry as the year’s choice female hottie. But Taylor Swift did walk away with the most music trophies, collecting five, including female artist and female country artist.
Sunday night’s ceremony at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, where awards were distributed in 89 categories divided among movies, television, music, fashion, sports and “other,” also heaped music awards on Justin Bieber (male artist, summer music star-male and single by a male artist for “Boyfriend”), One Direction (breakout group, summer music star-group and love song for “What Makes You Beautiful”), Selena Gomez & the Scene (music group) and Nicki Minaj (R&B/hip-hop artist and R&B/hip-hop song for “Starships”).
Swift took one of her five surfboard trophies for her voiceover work as Audrey in the film “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.”
Maroon 5 with Wiz Khalifa’s “Payphone” was singled out as choice break-up song. In other one-of-a-kind Teen Choice categories, “Vampire Diaries” actress Candice Accola was chosen as female scene stealer, Charlize Theron was recognized with a choice hissy fit award for her part in “Snow White & the Huntsman” and Demi Lovato was named choice twit. Facebook won for choice social network.
Bieber was one of several performers at the show along with No Doubt, Carly Rae Jepsen, Flo Rida and DJ Pauly D. Winners were determined from voting by fans ages 13 to 19, who were allowed to vote once a day on the Teen Choice Awards website.
An exhibit about Taylor Swift’s 2011-12 world tour is on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.
The presentation includes dozens of costumes, instruments, set pieces and props from the “Speak Now World Tour,” where she performed before more than 1.5 million fans during 111 shows in 19 countries spanning four continents.
Included in the display is the “Juliet balcony” in which Swift soared above the crowd during each performance of “Love Story.”
The exhibit, “Taylor Swift: Speak Now-Treasures from the World Tour,” runs through Nov. 4.