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It did look rather like the setting for the reunion scene in a Nicholas Sparks film.
But in an industry whose observers are forever obsessed with the notion of authenticity, there’s no denying Swift is the real deal: a singer who has spent her entire young adult life under the spotlight, self-consciously decanting her biography into songs she writes herself, unlike so many others in her position.
If her image is somehow manufactured, then by all accounts Swift is the foreman on the assembly line.
It’s not just her enemies that have made it into her lyrics.
Swift recently told Rolling Stone that she swore off dating after splitting from One Direction’s Harry Styles last year.
Swift recently explained to chat show host David Letterman that she and Dunham were kindred creative spirits, and became best pals after Dunham, a fan of her music, contacted her through Twitter. Before 1989’s release, she invited 89 young fans to a gig at her $18m mansion on Rhode Island, where she baked cookies and played the album live and in full.
Another 60 appeared, dancing dorkily with Swift, in the video for single “Shake it Off”.
On “Welcome to New York”, her latest hit single, Taylor Swift sings with wide-eyed enthusiasm about the experience of being a youthful, aspirational newcomer to the Big Apple.“The lights are so bright,” she notes, a not entirely novel observation, “but they never blind me.”The average 24-year-old might indeed be dazzled on first arriving in the brilliant glare of the big city, but not so Swift.
She has been a recording artist for a decade, has won seven Grammy Awards and has just sold almost 1.3 million copies of her new album 1989 in a week: the biggest seven days of sales for any LP since 2002.
One peculiarly deft lyric from her self-titled debut album, written when she was no more than 16, is the chorus to the single “Our Song”.
Swift complains to her boyfriend that they haven’t picked out a romantic radio hit to soundtrack their relationship, to which the boyfriend artfully replies: “Our song is the slamming screen door/ Sneakin’ out late, tapping on your window/ When we’re on the phone and you talk real slow/ ’cause it’s late and your mama don’t know.”For such precocious songwriting, Swift was soon rewarded not only with multiplatinum sales, but also multiple music prizes.
But her love life has been much scrutinised, and not without justification: many of her conquests appear in her songs.