Friday, January 1, 2016

"Out of the Woods" Music Video, Meaning

Taylor Swift debuted her "Out of the Woods" music video from her 1989 album December 31, 2015 on Ryan Secrest's Rockin' New Year's Eve celebration.

Here's the video with the words that appeared on the screen before and after the video:




The video is amazing.  It shows Taylor in the same blue dress the whole time, but shows her facing different elements; water, fire, snow, earth, air.  The music video was directed by Joseph Kahn.  I think this was their best collaboration yet, probably because it's one of my favorite songs.  The music video also features elements from the song "Clean", the beginning and ending text for the video are from the liner notes for the song, "Clean".  And at her 1989 World Tour Concert the video background was Taylor in the water for most of the song, like some of the elements in "Out of the Woods" video.

In the beginning of the video Taylor is scared, the woods are starting to grow on the beach.  She is then in the woods with the vines still growing and the wolves are chasing after her.  It is getting thick and cold.  She falls down and the wolves grab her dress.  The next part she is on top of a cliff through the air, but this time she is walking with the wolves, not as scared of them anymore.  She is walking barefoot through the snow, which had to be cold.  She rips off her paper airplane necklace and with the wolves behind her she throws it over the ledge, she then falls off the edge into water and then is on a barren wasteland with a single tree.  She walks to it and it becomes an icy tree.  Her hand become icy, and then her whole body is icy and it breaks.  She is then running again through the mud, then crawls through the mud.  The trees grow around her, and now she is not muddy, but part of the tree.  There are fireflies all around.  In the end there are scenes from all of these trials she went through, the snow, dessert, mud, cliff, water, snow, fire and the tree in the end.  These trials are how she found herself.  Gradually through the video Taylor is becoming more and more confident with the wolves and herself and is not afraid anymore.  The woods disappear and all of the sudden Taylor is walking towards herself.

Perhaps the most poignant moment is when Taylor finds herself in the end.  She is on the beach and another version of herself walks up to her and touches her shoulder. She went through all these trials, but she is finally clean and out of the woods.

What does all this mean?  The wolves are the reporters, media and paparazzi.  At first she was scared of them, but after a while Taylor has become a master of using them to her advantage.  The elements all represent the same things, but by using all the elements she shows how hard that was. She was going through a really hard time in her life before she wrote 1989.  It was not just the relationship with Harry Styles, but relationships with others, the portrayal in the media, her own label not wanting to let her do pop music, an probably more things the public does not even know. The iciness represents how lifeless and out of control things were for her, but when the ice broke the control people had over her did too. She had to drag herself through the mud and embrace it to become a beautiful tree. She embraced the cliff and jumped off of it, symbolizing taking chances and risks.  She did not drown when she came out, but was in a dessert. It is interesting to note the fire was only present in the end sequence signifying a cleaning a release of all the things that had held her back.

In the end, Taylor found herself, and she did what she wanted for the first time in a long time.  She produced the record she wanted to, she figured out how to handle her fame, she was really happy with who she was and she was finally clean. I'm glad she found herself and is so happy, she definitely deserves it!


  1. This is a great song to play when you need to cheer up

  2. hi, how are you? this video is so amazing, in there are a lot of symbolism, like
    when her hands are covered in spiked icicles, Anything she touches she will damage, whether it be herself or others. I love the meaning of that, i really want you talk about that

  3. This video is definitely really well done, and very symbolic. Taylor Swift is a champion!


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