Taylor Swift is gracing the cover of another magazine and this time, she’s revealing some inside details on the inspiration for her song “Clean.”
Taylor covers the June 2015 issue of ELLE which also features an interview with her pal Tavi Gevinson. Check out some highlights:
Tavi Gevinson: I want to ask you about “Clean.” The girl singing is so sensible, with none of the impulsiveness of “Blank Space” or “Style.”
Taylor Swift: “Shake It Off” and “Clean” were the last two things we wrote for the record, so it shows you where I ended up mentally. “Clean” I wrote as I was walking out of Liberty in London. Someone I used to date—it hit me that I’d been in the same city as him for two weeks and I hadn’t thought about it. When it did hit me, it was like, Oh, I hope he’s doing well. And nothing else. And you know how it is when you’re going through heartbreak. A heartbroken person is unlike any other person. Their time moves at a completely different pace than ours. It’s this mental, physical, emotional ache and feeling so conflicted. Nothing distracts you from it. Then time passes, and the more you live your life and create new habits, you get used to not having a text message every morning saying, “Hello, beautiful. Good morning.” You get used to not calling someone at night to tell them how your day was. You replace these old habits with new habits, like texting your friends in a group chat all day and planning fun dinner parties and going out on adventures with your girlfriends, and then all of a sudden one day you’re in London and you realize you’ve been in the same place as your ex for two weeks and you’re fine. And you hope he’s fine. The first thought that came to my mind was, I’m finally clean. I’d been in this media hailstorm of people having a very misconstrued perception of who I was. There were really insensitive jokes being made at awards shows by hosts; there were snarky headlines in the press—”Taylor Goes Through a Breakup: Well, That Was Swift!”—focusing on all the wrong things.
TG: Can you tell me more about how the way you go about songwriting has changed?
TS: I’d never been in a relationship when I wrote my first couple of albums, so these were all projections of what I thought they might be like. They were based on movies and books and songs and literature that tell us that a relationship is the most magical thing that can ever happen to you. And then once I fell in love, or thought I was in love, and then experienced disappointment or it just not working out a few times, I realized there’s this idea of happily ever after which in real life doesn’t happen. There’s no riding off into the sunset, because the camera always keeps rolling in real life. It’s magical if you ask anyone who has ever fallen in love—it’s the greatest. Now I have more of a grasp on the fact that when you’re in a state of infatuation and you think everything that person does is perfect, it then—if you’re lucky—morphs into a real relationship when you see that that person is not in fact perfect, but you still want to see them every day.
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