On Monday evening, Taylor Swift's new song, "Out of the Woods," took iTunes by storm — and it shows no signs of letting up any time soon! Though "Out of the Woods" represents an entirely new sound for the "Shake It Off" singer, clearly influenced by the pop music of the late '80s, the lyrics are classic Swift. Yes, thankfully, she hasn't lost the signature storytelling style of songwriting that made her such an enormous superstar in the first place. Though Swift revealed in August that she's taking a break from country music and that her new album, 1989 , is her first full-on foray into the world of pop, I think that "Out of the Woods" proves that the project could still have a lot to offer her die-hard country fans — and that's great news.
In my eyes, Swift is hands down one of the best songwriters in the music industry today. She doesn't just pen clever hooks that are designed to get stuck in peoples' heads (though she's pretty good at that, too) — she tells engaging, emotional, and memorable stories through her songs. After all, storytelling is one of the cornerstones of country music, the genre where Swift got her start — and country's influence is all over "Out of the Woods."
In "Out of the Woods," Swift recalls very specific moments in time in order to paint a vivid picture of a past relationship — just like she did in country songs like "Back to December," "Fifteen," "Fearless," and "Dear John" (to name a few). On the song's first verse, Swift remembers:
Looking at it now
It all seems so simple
We were lying on your couch
You took a Polaroid of us
The rest of the world was black and white
But we were in screaming color
On the song's bridge, snapshots of Swift's tumultuous time with an ex-boyfriend come fast and furious:
Remember when you hit the brakes too soon?
Twenty stitches in a hospital room
When you started crying
Baby, I did too
But when the sun came up
I was looking at you
Remember when we couldn’t take the heat?
I walked out, I said, “I’m setting you free”
But the monsters turned out to be just trees
When the sun came up
You were looking at me
Out of all of the country songs in Swift's discography, "Out of the Woods" probably reminds me the most of "All Too Well" — in my opinion, one of the most powerful ballads that Swift has ever recorded. So, if you're one of Swift's devoted country fans and the idea of an album full of pop music kind of makes you wince, I would urge you to give 1989 a shot when it's released on Oct. 27. Swift may not be making country music right now — but that doesn't mean that she's forgotten where she came from. She has a new sound, but in some ways, she really does seem to be staying true to her roots.
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