when to listen to every track on taylor swift's 1989
i mean, besides "literally always."
WELCOME TO NEW YORK
WHEN: an hour before dinner, when you have plans to go out after. listen while applying lipstick, while elongating your eyelashes, while raising one foot and then the other in front of the mirror trying to pick a pair of boots. i don’t know how people who don’t do these things get dressed when they’re trying to keep their energy up and avoid texting their friends or dates or long-term boy/girl friends to be like, “jUST KIDDING I JUST REALIZED I HAVE THE FLU,” and climbing back into their beds to burrito up and watch 16 hours of netflix, but whatever it is, listen to this song while doing that.
WHY: welcome to new york is not a ~lyrics heavy~ jam. WELCOME TO NEW YORK is the kind of thing you shout out a taxi window in a movie, your hair fluttering behind you in the breeze because your future!!!! is so bright!!!! you don’t even know yet how subway cars smell, or that walking in high heels over grates is like an episode of american ninja warrior, or that grocery stores charge you $17.50 for a single bottle of diet coke, or that there are places that are STILL CASH ONLY. you don’t know these things yet, so you’re still hyped to Go Out And Live Like You’re Dying because maybe you’re one of those people who likes parties (???) or maybe you just… haven’t yet been told about netflix.
WHEN: just after your first morning coffee, at your desk when you’ve just realized that you’re 23 and maybe don’t love your job, maybe aren’t quite sure what you want to do with your life but HAVE come to the realization that running off to europe to “discover yourself and the world” isn’t really….a viable…. financial option, right now or probably ever, maybe when you’re 35, people are okay financially by 35 right??? haha? taylor? TAYLOR TELL ME THAT I WILL STOP FEELING LIKE I HAVE TO FIX MY LIPSTICK EVERY 15 SECONDS BY THE TIME I AM 35.
WHY: "blank space" is supposedly about how the media has depicted tswift as this empty husk of an overemotional man-eater, and while i am not saying that this is not a VALID reading of this song, taylor, THE AUTHOR IS DEAD, ETC., and this song is actually about how EVERYONE IS ALWAYS TRYING TO BE SOMETHING ALL THE GODDAMN TIME, and how you’re supposed to be one thing but you kind of feel like another, and you’re constantly being told that You Will Never Be Younger And More Alive Than You Are Right Now, which, what is THAT supposed to do for you???? REMEMBER remember r e m e m b e r that there is a little performativity in everything that you do, in everything that everybody does, life is fUNDAMENTALLY ABOUT PERFORMANCE ALWAYS and that doesn’t mean it’s never real or genuine or that it doesn’t mean anything but it is OKAY to get up and put on your war paint and feel stressed about whether the bus driver thinks you look like you have your life together. FAKE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE UNTIL IT COMES NATURALLY.
WHEN: on your way home from whatever your friday/saturday night plans were when your head is pressed up against the car/bus/taxi/metro window and the city/country/suburb is blurring by and you’re sad for some reason, you had such a good time but it was the kind of good time that makes you sad when it ends, when you go back to your apartment, when you’re getting ready for bed and turning out the lights and you’re like: well, i guess everything ends.
WHY: because everything ends, even when it happens again, even when it’s not an Ending with a Capital E, and sometimes the fact that it’s part of a loop is the thing that makes you lean your forehead against the window because you’ve realized that this is what life is, this is literally what life is, good times and bad times and good times again, and now you’re in your bed and the lights are out and you can hear planes overhead and you feel so small and so elated and so so so so tired, from dancing or laughing or walking or talking or waiting for the train, and not even upbeat hum of tswift promising we never go out of style can keep you awake, even though she’s right.
OUT OF THE WOODS
WHEN: driving home, stuck in traffic, windows rolled down even though it’s cold because you’ve been in the car for basically the WHOLE OF HUMAN HISTORY and the DOUCHEBAG IN THE HONDA just cut you off for nO reason because it’s not like you’re in the fast lane. THERE IS NO FAST LANE, DOUCHEBAG IN THE HONDA.
WHY: you know like that relationship you had where one day you were looking at that person and you thought, “holy shit idk that i would exactly call this love because that’s—well haha that’s a big… that’s a big word LOL let’s not….let’s not—but you’re…. like, the way you just turned the knob on that door knocks me the FUCK out which is pretty stupid,” and then you panicked and ran away and stopped returning their calls or, for EXAMPLE, sent a facebook message that was like “GOSH I THINK I SHOULD GO BACK TO AMERICA NOW,” and then put them in a box labeled “please don’t open me ever!!!!!” and put that box on a shelf in the back of a closet you have locked up in your brain??? well out of the woods is for when you want to open that box and turn over a polaroid of that person making you laugh so hard that milk came out of your nose.
ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS STAY
WHEN: when you’ve gotten home and you’re making dinner and you suddenly wonder about that person who, FOR EXAMPLE, once sent you a facebook message that said, “GOSH I THINK I SHOULD GO BACK TO AMERICA NOW,” even though two nights before they had looked at you with literal wonder in their eyes when you opened some random fucking door, and when you made them laugh they shook so hard that milk came out of their nose and they reached for your hand, holding it so tightly that their knuckles went white.
WHY: there are people who hurt other people and there are people who are hurt and sometimes those people are the same people, because we CAN’T ALL HOLD BABY BIRDS IN OUR HANDS, ALL RIGHT, sometimes someone puts their little baby bird hearts in our hands and we panic and think, “i can put this down or i can accidentally crush it but one of those options gives this little dude a fighting chance,” even though it means abandoning a baby bird. if you were that baby bird than this song is for you because guess what guess what guess what: you fucking did it, you got left behind and learned to fly anyway and it TURNS OUT that you didn’t need them to stay, anyway. it TURNS OUT you’re better off with your wings unclipped.
SHAKE IT OFF
WHEN: late afternoon when you are FLAGGING and you have EXAMS coming up or you’ve already used your lunch break but there are still SO MANY HOURS left of work and you’re like oH GOD SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE WHY CAN’T I MOVIE MONTAGE MY WAY THROUGH LIFE, so you go into the bathroom and lock the stall door and put your headphones in and jam. JAM.
WHY: look i’m not saying you don’t have real problems but i AM saying that SOME of those problems have a lot to do with getting stuck in your head and putting all your doubts and fears and anxieties on a loop and the best thing you can possible to for yourself is just LET IT GO, even if just for 3 minutes and 40 seconds, roughly.
I WISH YOU WOULD
WHEN: just after you hear that one of your friends, or that the celebrity crush you were using to avoid actual, achievable romantic options, or your older sibling who was always kind of a weirdo and who you used to use to make yourself feel better about your romantic/sex life even though you felt bad about it, suddenly gets a New Beau and can no longer hang out 24/7 eating chips and watching bob’s burgers with you on your couch.
WHY: sometimes you don’t realize that you’ve dug your heels in and refused to move until the world moves around you, and you’re like that person who’s going forward at regular speeds while everyone else double times around you, and you think: it has to be me, right? because steps forward bring you into new territory and new territory can hurt, growing pains are called pains for a reason, and it’s safer, sometimes, to look back and look back and look back and think well what if that had lasted? instead of turning around to think well what if this new thing fits better? BECAUSE what if?? it doesn’t????
WHEN: IN YOUR ROOM WITH THE VOLUME ALL THE WAY UP IN YOUR UNDERWEAR WHILE YOU IGNORE THE DESPERATE PLEAS OF YOUR NEIGHBORS TO PLEASE TURN IT DOWN
WHY: because FUCK YOU, THAT’S WHY
WHEN: you’re getting ready for a blind date OR flicking through your messages on OKC OR tindering OR sitting at a café kind of idly hoping the cutie with the black coffee comes and talks to you OR idk, however else you kids try to find love in this crazy world.
WHY: LOOK, sometimes things just, sometimes they don’t. sometimes they just. don’t. and this song is like, “yeah girl, you look GREAT in that lipstick, yeah buddy you are kILLIN’ those dark-wash jeans and that button-up shirt, but JUST SO YOU KNOW sometimes you’re doing all those things and your date looks at you with STARS IN THEIR EYES but like, just so you’re prepared, IT’S OKAY TO FAIL SOMETIMES, because sometimes failure isn’t failure per se, it’s just … it’s like that time when you were little and you kept losing at scrabble and your dad was like, "the point of losing at scrabble now is that you’ll never ever ever forget how to spell ‘infinitesimal’ later," so get out the metaphorical romantic scrabble board and get ready to have your ass kicked. for love.”
HOW YOU GET THE GIRL
WHEN: your morning commute.
WHY: go on, listen to this song and try not to like, see yourself as Mandy Moore in that music video about driving a VW bug and wearing various cute outfits in a diner. try not to see yourself as that scene in stupid crazy love where emma stone and ryan gosling try to do The Lift from dirty dancing. TRY NOT TO SEE YOURSELF AS BABY IN DIRTY DANCING. look, rom coms might TECHNICALLY just be dark magic used by hollywood to make us all kind of hate ourselves and our love lives but that DOESN’T MEAN that there aren’t moments in life that live up to them, okay, so just close your eyes and be like I’M IGNORING THE SAD PARTS OF THESE LYRICS AND ANY SECOND NOW, RYAN GOSLING IS GOING TO GENTLY REAR-END ME AND WHEN I GET OUT OF THE CAR HE’S GOING TO SAY, “HEY GIRL. SORRY ABOUT YOUR CAR. HOW CAN I MAKE IT UP TO YOU?”
WHEN: it has to be raining. listen to this song in the rain. listen to this song at noon on a saturday when you’re just like, not in the mood to do anything or talk to anyone and you just want to wrap yourself up in that faux-leopard throw blanket you have and listen to your saddest music all the way up and drink coffee and write and write and write and think about the things that hurt you and the things that didn’t, and how some of the things that didn’t hurt you then hurt you now, when you think about them, when you think about how precious they were, little baby birds you were holding in your hands.
WHY: it’s okay to be sad about things that made you happy. it’s okay to be sad about things that didn’t. it’s okay to be sad. it’s okay to be sad. it’s okay to be sad.
I KNOW PLACES
WHEN: while you’re making dinner and you’ve had a terrible day, or you had a great day and then you got in a fight with your mom on the drive home, or your day was kind of whatever but it was a whatever day on top of a whole deck of whatever days and you’re like: EVERYONE KEEPS TELLING ME THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS BUT THIS IS NOT. AS GOOD. AS IT GETS.
WHY: the world is STUPID, the world is EBOLA and INJUSTICE and INTERNET TROLLS and DOUCHEBAGS IN HONDAS and sometimes the only thing you can do is get mad about it and refUSE to accept it. refuse!!!!! you are going to carve out your own little world and your own little happiness, you’re going to love something, you’re going to hold a little joy to the sunlight if you have to fucking steal it with your bare hands. you will crawl through air vents, you will dig with your fingernails, you will jump through glass but you’ll find something and guard it and grow it and keep it somewhere safe, safe.
WHEN: in the shower.
WHY: the shower is a metaphor. it is also not a metaphor. get clean. try again. try again. try again.
YOU ARE IN LOVE
WHEN: you want some vintage swift.
WHY: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH UNIRONICALLY LOVING ROMANTIC COMEDIES!!!
WHEN: you should like, probably be alone when you listen to this song because it's gonna do that thing where it reaches into your chest and tugs all your heart ventricles out of place. what does a ventricle do??? nobody knows, doctors don't know, don't ask doctors, your heart ventricles are out of place and you have turned all the lights out in your apartment and this song is up loud and you're dancing with your eyes closed, twisted up in that kind of frantic euphoria where your heart hearts but it is pumping so fast and you want to run, run run run run run, but barring that you just turn the lights off and turn "wonderland" up and dance until you don't have anything left but quiet pulsing through you, quiet, quiet, it is dark. your ventricles are out of place. why? why? don't ask doctors. doctor's don't know. doctors say everything looks fine.
WHY: THINGS FALL APART SOMETIMES. YOUR HEART HURTS SOMETIMES. YOUR SKIN IS TOO TIGHT SOMETIMES. DANCE IT OUT, BUDDY. dance it out.
WHEN: a car jam. a car JAM!!! ROADTRIP JAM!! you, all the faves that you can fit in one backseat and a shotgunner, all the windows down--is it cold? WHO THE FUCK CARES IF IT'S COLD, ROLL THOSE GODDAMN WINDOWS DOWN--volume loud enough to blow your speakers, feet on the dashboard, singing so loud your throat hurts: I COULD BUILD A CASTLE OUT OF ALL THE THINGS THEY THREW AT ME!!!
WHY: GUESS WHAT, YOU DID IT!!! YOU DID IT!!!! that thing you thought was gonna swallow you didn't swallow you, it didn't, it fucking didn't, whether it was a relationship or school or work or your parents or the constant panic that you're not moving or going anywhere, even your HARDEST DAYS are only 24 hours and now you're in a car and there are people you love in it, people you love, and they're all singing with you, you're all singing together, life is hard. life is hard!!! life is always hard!!!! it never stops being hard but you are uniquely built to survive it so ROLL THE WINDOWS DOWN, I DON'T CARE HOW FUCKING COLD IT IS.