Taylor Swift's "I Know Places" Lyrics Make It The Most Vulnerable Song On '1989'
It's OK, you can admit it — you haven't been able to stop listening to or thinking about Taylor Swift's new album, 1989. I don't blame you, it's a damn good album, which is probably why 1989 sold 1.3 million copies in one week. But, you're also listening for another reason (you didn't think it was a secret, right?) and that's because you're trying to figure out how many of Swift's 1989 songs are about Harry Styles. Sure, it's kind of easy to figure out that "Out Of The Woods" and "Style" are both, clearly, about Swift's ex, but what about her other songs — specifically, "I Know Places?" It's easy to get wrapped up in Swift's love and break-up songs, but "I Know Places" is the most vulnerable song on 1989 and the lyrics prove it.
During my first listen of 1989, "I Know Places" was one of the first songs that actually made me feel something other than "I LOVE TAYLOR SWIFT SO MUCH — I'M GOING TO SING THIS SONG FOREVER." I mean, yes, I loved the song but it actually made me nervous and made me concerned for Swift's wellbeing. I know what you're probably thinking, "She's a celebrity, fame brings paparazzi and tabloids, blah blah blah," and you might be right, but that doesn't change the fact that Swift's opening up in "I Know Places" about something she's never addressed before — the rumors and the predator-prey relationship between celebrities and the public's need for personal information.
Do you still not believe that "I Know Places" is more vulnerable than "Out Of The Woods" or, dare I say it, "Clean?" A little lyrical analysis will absolutely change your mind.
"I can hear them whisper as we pass by/ It's a bad sign, bad sign/ Something happens when everybody finds out/ See the vultures circling dark clouds"
Taylor Swift, your dream celebrity BFF who invited hundreds of fans over to her personal residences to eat cookies, play with her cats, and listened to 1989 early, actually feels like she needs to hide everything about herself from the world. She feels that just a whisper about her personal life is enough to destroy it — and you thought getting a prom date was hard.
"Love's a fragile little flame, it could burn out"
I don't know about you, but I feel like Taylor Swift's been singing about love being a strong, powerful force for most of career. Even what it's painful and even when it sucks, it's still strong. And all of a sudden it's fragile and weak and can burn out? I feel like we've just been invited into the inner sanctions of Swift's broken soul here.
"Cause they got the cages, they got the boxes/ And guns"
The biggest part of this lyric is the fact that "they" have "boxes." After I started reading into the lyrics of "I Know Places" more, it seemed like "Shake It Off" was the answer to everything Swift's singing about here. These people — paparazzi and/or tabloids — put Swift in a box all of these years, making her out to be this woman scorned who couldn't keep a boyfriend and then, when things went downhill, she wrote a song trashing them. It's kind of shitty and while she jokes about it, I'm sure it took a toll on her looking to be in a relationship.
"They are the hunters, we are the foxes/ And we run"
Does anyone else remember the terror of seeing The Fox and the Hound as a child? That's what this line reminds me of and the thought of Taylor Swift running from something when she's painted as such a role model is scary and sad. This is how she feels and she has to put on that front every single day.
"Let them say what they want, we won't hear it/ Loose lips sink ships all the damn time/ Not this time"
Are there people that Swift can't trust? I mean, I'm sure there are some — even if they revealed her secrets by accident. But it's kind of sad to think that Swift's life is so dictated by whether or not she can actually trust the people around her. How paranoid is she about her life going down in flames? I mean, we already know that Swift's afraid someone will frame her for a crime one day.
"They take their shots, but we're bulletproof"
If there's anything I've learned from watching Law & Order: SVU, it's that bulletproof vests might prevent you from getting killed, but they don't stop the pain of being shot. And Swift gets shot with rumors and judgement every single day of her life.