How Taylor Swift Wrote ‘Lover’ | Diary of a Song


“Hello.” “O.K., it’s happened. We’re in business.” “How’s this?” “I like it, Alex.” “Do you always keep
instruments near your bed in case inspiration strikes?” “Well, I have a piano
near me all the time, and I always have a good —
yeah, the answer is yes.” Singing: “Take me
out and take me home. You’re my, my, my, my lover.” “I’ve never really
been able to fully explain songwriting other than it’s
like this little glittery cloud floats in
front of your face, and you grab it
at the right time. And then you
revert back to what you know about the
structure of a song in order to fill in the gaps.” “Where were you the moment
inspiration struck?” “It was, I was in bed. I was in Nashville. I got out of bed. I think it was
really late at night, and stumbled over
to the piano.” Voice memo: “O.K., so I had this
idea that’s like — obviously I don’t know
the verse, whatever yet, but I have a pretty
cool, really simple, beautiful chorus
idea called ‘Lover.’” “I’ve been thinking
for years, God, it would just be so great
to have a song that people who are in love would want to
dance to, like slow dance to. In my head, I had just the
last two people on a dance floor at 3 a.m., swaying.” “What did you
have in your mind? Was it the title? Was it a lyric? Was it a melody?” “It was not — it was,
can I go where you go? Can we always be this close?” Singing: “Can I
go where you go? Can we always be this
close forever and ever?” “I wanted the chorus
to be these really simple existential questions
that we ask ourselves when we’re in love. ‘Can I go where you go’ is such a heavy thing
to ask somebody. ‘Can we always be this close’
has so much fear in it, but so does love.” “When did you hit
upon the word ‘lover’?” “Oh, I’ve always
liked that word, but I’ve never used
it in everyday life. When people are like,
that’s my lover over there or calling each other
lover, I’ve never done that, but I’ve always loved
it in the context of poetry or songs.” “It’s a polarizing word. Some people are like,
‘Ugh, that word gives me the creeps.’” “Well, anything I
do is polarizing. So, you know,
I’m used to that.” “Fair enough. So how much of the song
did you get done that night at the piano in Nashville?” “The whole thing.” “She sent me that voice note. Whether it’s a whole song or
just a little thing from her, I sort of get this big jolt,
and I listen and I block out the whole world for a minute. Every lyric and melody
was right there. And I was like …” [ding] “… get on a plane. She came in the next day. She sat right there. She played it.” “It’s basically, I
don’t see it as piano. I think it’s that
kind of dreamy, guitary, throwback, but
not like camp throwback.” “I know what you mean.” “So —” [piano] “I thought it was the
perfect song, which is really interesting
because it’s almost like even more of
a duty to do it right.” Singing: “You’re my,
my, my, my lover.” “That seems so much better.” “Yeah, I love the walk down.” “That really fixes that part.” “I love the walk down.” “That was the
only thing that —” “I was trying to figure
out, what the hell is going to happen there? So the —” “That makes it
so much better.” Singing: “My, my, my, my.” “When I’m working
with Jack and Taylor, I’m working with two
extremely creative people who are bouncing ideas
back and forth so fast. So my job is to basically not
slow them down in any way.” “Laura’s been by my
side for every record I’ve made pretty much since
people started listening to any of my records. We’re all — three of us
are in that process together.” “We’re just like ugh,
like it’s just fun. We’re fully, fully
acting on impulse. And we’re acting on
intuition, and we’re acting on excitement
and oat-milk lattes.” “I remember the
first thing I did was I went into the live
room, which is right there. And at that time
I had listened to a lot of
Violent Femmes recently, and I was excited about
how much feeling you could get out of a snare
drum if it was a brush.” [drums] “And I just remember going in
and going ‘psh,’ one brush. I wasn’t even really
playing drums. I just kind of had one brush. I just —” “We were using real reverbs
and real tape echoes. It gives a really
special character to it where it does feel nostalgic.” “The bass, which is a very,
very, very special bass, belongs to the studio.” “He was calling
that the ‘Paul bass.’ Is that Paul McCartney?” “Yeah.” “My old Hofner bass,
my little baby. Come on, baby.” “We were just referencing
like what would Paul do — W.W.P.D.? Humming: Brum, brum, brum,
brum, brum, brum, brum. The bass line is
actually the hook.” “It’s not a true
‘Paul bass’ though.” “It’s not a true
‘Paul bass’ at all, but it’s better
at that ‘Paul thump’ than I’ve ever gotten
out of the violin bass.” Humming: “Brum, brum, brum,
brum, brum, brum, brum, brum, brum.” “The bass and the
drum is sort of like — if you just hear
those two tracks, like the entire space is so,
I think, beautifully filled.” “In the studio,
I’m obsessively going over every
lyric and making sure that’s what I want
the final lyric to be. So I’ll be over, in my
notes, just sharpen that, hone in on that.” “Were there lines that
changed in that process?” “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I had toyed with the
idea of being like, we could leave the Christmas
lights up till April.” Singing: “We could leave
the Christmas lights up till January.” “Doesn’t everyone leave
their Christmas lights up till January?” “But it’s not about that
being a crazy thing. It’s about how mundane it is. It’s about we could
put a rug over there. We could do wallpaper,
or we could do paint.” Singing: “This is our place. We made the rules.” “When young adults go from
living in their family to then combining their
life with someone else, that’s actually like the
most profound thing.” “To be just telling
this story — I don’t know. It almost feels like an old
story I’ve heard many times. I mean, I guess it is,
people falling in love.” “Tell me about the importance
of the bridge to you. I feel like you love a bridge. This is a special bridge. Talk to me about it.” “I love a bridge. I love a bridge so much. I love trying to take
the song to a higher level with the bridge.” “There’s these, sort of,
hand-plucking strings and these kind of flutes
that are popping out.” “I wanted it to be
the first time we introduced the
idea of vows.” “Make it feel like
a little wedding.” Singing: “Ladies
and gentlemen, will you please stand?” “I love to take a common
phrase and twist it. So the bridge, I took
all these common phrases that we say about weddings …” Singing: “With every
guitar-string scar on my hand.” “I like to add something
that changes the phrase.” Singing: “I take
this magnetic force of a man to be my lover.” “Without a bridge, a song can sort of feel
almost like a jingle. You know when you’re driving
through beautiful scenery, and you’re like
mountains, trees. Oh my God, right? And all of a sudden
you go through a tunnel and you’re like,
what the [expletive]? And then it’s back. Mountains and
trees, so beautiful. It’s like you need that
third element to take you away from where
you’ve been so you’re so excited to get it back. Specifically in ‘Lover’ when
you come out of the bridge and you go back into the
chorus, you’re just ‘phew.’” Singing: “Can I
go where you go? Can we always be this
close, forever and ever?” “And it was all done
in that one day.” “Oh yeah.” “I mean, I think we were
all really excited when we left the studio that day.” “Even if anybody
had been like, I don’t think
this one is great, I would have been like,
‘Well, I reject your feedback because I love this one.’” “It’s the perfect song, and
tells that story perfectly and pulls me right
into where she wants me, as the listener, to be. You’re my, you’re my,
you’re my, you’re my, you’re my what? And then —” [thump] Singing: “Lover.” “Do you have guitar-string
scars on your hands?” “Well, I mean, I have
extreme calluses. You can’t see them,
probably, but they’re all — and I have some from
just changing strings and not being very good at it. Do you know what I mean? Like some where you’re
like tuning, tuning, tuning. Pop. Ow.”

100 thoughts on “How Taylor Swift Wrote ‘Lover’ | Diary of a Song

  1. Just stating a fact here. I know a woman who's daughter new Taylor Swift's producers….it was said back to me that Taylor's dad paid for her music contract and that's the only reason why she got one. Producers in the music industry told this woman I know that Taylor did not have a great voice and it needed help through the sound check people who make her voice sound amazing.

  2. When I first heard this song i thought it had a old sound, i got mazy star fade into you vibes, the violent femmes sound in the drum. Awsome. The bridges in her songs are so legendary and also my favorite part of all her songs. It where some of the best lyrics are.

  3. She may have calluses on her fingertips, but I have touched her hand, and I must say, she has remarkably soft hands! 🤣 Taylor is a god to me, but Lover is just a whole new level. 💘

  4. I still keep your shampoo in my shower, In case you wanna wash your hair – John Mayer
    We could leave the Christmas lights up to January – Taylor Swift

  5. Not a taylor fan at all but this is probably my favorite song she’s written in a long time, it’s really earnest and vulnerable

  6. OMG!! Love this inside. 🙂 Thank you for sharing and posting. Taylor is so special and a lot of people haven't realized that yet. Taylor and Jack are an amazing team!! :))))))

  7. I just love her so much and have since 2006 ❤ Lover is an amazing song plus the entire album is amazing as well. Taylor is so talented. So proud of her and all of her success. Love that we are seeing so much of her this era.

  8. The song isn’t even that good why do you have to tell us the story of how she wrote this stupid song a thousand times Jesus Christ !

  9. well Taylor Swift sucks. She's famous because of Kanye West and all the elite famous people and writers she has connections with in Hollywood and music industry. You know these people like licking each other's butt.

  10. I love it, Taylor is a genius. One of The greatests artists. Also, I’m 100% sure I experience the world as she does 😅

  11. Jack Antonoff is a talented king, i love when Taylor and him work togheter, he deserves so much more appreciation. pls listen to Bleachers

  12. He asked, "Do people really leave their Christmas lights up till January?"

    We, Filipinos: More like a year? Until another Christmas?

  13. We need a Diary of Song for Lana del Rey. Her lyrics are also very compelling and poetic, and I just want to see how she crafts her music and what thoughts go into her pieces.

  14. Brilliant. When you're receptive happy relaxed open you attract ideas & inspiration from source energy and then more thoughts and others to contribute and share the experience and create something wonderful. All art is this way. All inventions…. Its the way life on earth is.

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