Taylor Swift has people talking as much about her litany of breakups as she does her newly released single and upcoming album (out Oct. 22). But she has only herself to thank, debuting what will certainly be the newest, most popular breakup anthem for her initial single and also telling adoring fans during a live YouTube chat that her album, Red, is all about relationships.
Her many relationships make great fodder for songs, Swift says, part of why there are 16 new tracks that will certainly have people guessing which breakup song is about which ex-boyfriend. The fact that Swift admittedly peppers in clues to that riddle within her album jacket covers has people already eager for the dirt.
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The first song on the long list doesn’t come with many hints. The single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” extensively discusses an on-again, off-again relationship. Could it be her recent relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal, a couple seen together after their initial breakup? Of course, the song did come with the line about her ex hiding away with “some indie record that is much cooler than mine.” Is that another crack at John Mayer, whom she dissed in “Dear John” on the 2010 release Speak Now?
Swift, 22, doesn’t tell us yet, but it may just be a matter of time before we find out. In the Nashville chat, Swift sat in a (fittingly) red dress speaking to a small group of fans, taking questions from them and a few others looped in on Google+.
After announcing her new album—with cover art—her first question was about her inspiration for the album. There wasn’t a lot of guessing left after her answer. “I wrote a song called ‘Red’, thinking about what that means to me,” she says. “All the different emotions that are written about on this album, they’re all pretty much about the kind of tumultuous, crazy, insane, intense, semi-toxic relationships that I’ve experienced in the last two years… Spanning from intensive love, intense jealousy, confusion, those emotions are all red. There’s nothing beige about any of those feelings, so I called the record Red.”
She notes that she “tends to skew in the direction of writing songs about love-related things,” and gets inspired by a lot of “zero-to-100-and-hits-a-wall-and-explodes relationships.” While really fun to write about, she says, it is a bit dysfunctional of a way to live. “The last two years have been really inspirational and I have been constantly writing.”
Swift has had a handful of highly publicized relationships, from Joe Jonas and Mayer—both of whom were alluded to in the 2010 album—to Gyllenhaal, Taylor Lautner, possibly Patrick Schwarzenegger and allegedly Cory Monteith. She is now dating Conor Kennedy, yes, of that Kennedy fame.
When a fan asked if there would be more clues embedded in the lyrics as to which of the 16 songs referred to which ex-boyfriend (we are guessing the increase in the number of songs on the album stems from the increased number of ex-boyfriends—and, to think, she says she had 30 to 35 songs written) she assured that there will be, saying she has had to up her sneakiness about the clues, though.
“I thought I was much more cryptic and clever than I really was. It’s pretty difficult to come up with them because I know that you guys are going to figure it out,” she says. “I’m really excited about the fact that you guys care about lyrics. Hiding little codes in lyrics is kind of a way of encouraging that.”
Along with songs about relationships, as we’ve come to expect, we’ll also see something different: co-written songs. Swift says that she wrote last album by herself and she wanted to approach all her songwriting, producer and artist heroes to see if anyone wanted to work together. What came out of that was a hefty amount of co-written work and songs produced by different parties.
Swift sounded gleeful when she talked about co-writing a song with Ed Sheeran while sitting on a trampoline. “That was so much fun and we loved it so much that we recorded it as a duet,” she says.
Among other topics covered in the 24-minute chat, which included Swift dancing along to her new single, was her love of baking—she is especially excited for fall and baking with cinnamon and making pumpkin bread to give away—her near obsession with not reading a single word about herself in the press and the fact that her cat, Meredith, travels with her.
When asked about what in her life hasn’t changed, she cited her family as staying the same and some of her routines not changing, including frequenting the same stores and hanging out with her friends like she always has.
She dropped plenty of hints that the next tour, now in the planning stages, will include multiple international stops. She took a question from Sweden and a pair from South America, expressing her love for both places and her desire to play shows there.
But beyond her fans guessing about which ex-boyfriends go with which song and an upcoming tour, Swift makes it known she’s ready for the next step of her career: a movie.
“I would love to do a movie that I was so obsessed with that I couldn’t think of doing anything other than shooting that movie,” she says. Maybe it will be a movie about breakups.