Monday, November 3, 2014

"Out of the Woods" Song Meaning

Today's Taylor Swift song is meaning of the song "Out of The Woods" from her 1989 album.

When I first heard this song I could definitely hear the 80's sound, especially the intro. According to USA Today it features percussion and synthesizers, a Yamaha DX7 and a "super-distorted Minimoog Voyager". Taylor wrote this song with Jack Antonoff, he wrote the track and then she put lyrics and a melody to it.  What she came back with was brilliant Jack said to USA Today, "she wove this whole story that felt like it came from the outer space of your head."  One of the most interesting things about the development of the song was Jack's voice being used as the back ground.  He told USA Today, "I just chopped this piece of my voice singing and started looping it over and over. Then I started banging on some drums I had in the room and stomping on the floor and sampling all these sounds to make this big bombastic looping beat with the sample on top of it."

Photo courtesy of Taylor Swift
Taylor says, "This song is about the fragility and breakable nature of some relationships, this was a relationship where it was kind of living day to day wondering where it was going if it was going to go anywhere, if it was going to end the next day.  It was a relationship where you kind of never feel like you're standing on solid ground.  That kind of a feeling brings on excitement, but also extreme anxiety, and kind of a frantic feeling of wondering, endless questions.  This songs sounds exactly like that frantic feeling of anxiety and questioning. But it stresses that even if a relationship is breakable and fragile and full of anxiety, it doesn't mean that it isn't worthwhile, exciting, beautiful and all the things that we look for." The verses and the chorus serve as a counterpoint to one another.  The chorus is repetitive and frantic, "Are we out of the woods", and "Are we in the clear" repeated over and over.  Then the verses have a distinct melody and tell a story. She is wondering, hoping if their relationship is in the clear. She spends the whole song looking for that clear, just to get that relief.

I think a lot of people can relate this this stage, the honeymoon stage in a relationship, where everything is new and exciting, but you don't know where you stand, the relationship stands, what the other person wants. You are just dating and it can be so stressful.

Who is this song about?

Taylor Swift and Harry Styles wearing matching airplane necklaces.
It's about Harry Styles. They dated twice, but this song is about the second time they dated. It was a whirlwind romance. They dated from November 2012 to January 2013. The whole time was crazy. She told Rolling Stone "every day was a struggle. Forget making plans for life – we were just trying to make it to next week." They were in different cities all the time, Taylor promoting her new album Red. They met in many places; meeting up in Central Park for a very public date, New York for New Year's Eve, LA for her performance on X Factor, LA for him to get a tatoo, London for her birthday, Utah to spend some time in the snow where the line "20 stitches in a hospital room" came from, and finally Virgin where things ended and Taylor was seen leaving on a boat by herself.

According to Rolling Stone "She says it was inspired by a snowmobile ride with an ex who lost control and wrecked it so badly that she saw her life flash before her eyes. Both of them had to go to the ER, although Swift wasn't hurt. She corrects herself: 'Not as hurt.' "  This was their ski trip in December 2012 in Utah. She asked the hospital staff not to say anything and they didn't.  It was a miracle.  She told Rolling Stone she included this line because "People think they know the whole narrative of my life, I think maybe that line is there to remind people that there are really big things they don't know about."

Photo courtesy of Harry Styles
The song describes other things they liked to do together that the media didn't see, taking Polaroids, wearing matching airplane necklaces (I wonder if they chose this because they had to fly to be with each other), "moving the furniture so [they] could dance". But the pace was too frantic, it didn't work out. They were constantly hounded by the media, they couldn't be alone. It scared them so much, they "couldn't take the heat", she "walked out", and said “I’m setting you free.” But later Taylor realized that the monsters chasing them were just trees, not as scary as what they had imagined. I hope that Taylor doesn't give up on love, because there will be a time when she will get out of the woods and it really doesn't matter what other people think of her relationships. I am glad she enjoyed this one even if it was so stressful.


  1. Taylor's songs are always deep. Thank you writing this blog.

  2. I'm sorry for Taylor, because she can't have her privacy and her relationships are strongly affected by media, I also hope she someday finds the true love, but now she seems really happy

  3. Awwwwee. I feel so sorry for Taylor :(


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