Taylor Swift released the second single from her upcoming fifth album 1989 at midnight early Tuesday morning on iTunes. The song, titled "Out of the Woods" is an anxious, unnerving song about a relationship that is shaky and unclear and tumultuous.
"Out Of The Woods" is written and produced by Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff, of fun. Vocal production by Max Martin for MXM Productions. "'Out Of The Woods' is one of my favorite songs on 1989," Taylor said in a promotional video that released Monday. "A goal of mine on this album was to set a sonic landscape and have the music sound exactly the way the emotions felt."
That's what makes "Out of the Woods" a song that fits so much more clearly in the Taylor Swift canon than "Shake it Off," the first single from 1989, ever did. Where "Shake it Off" was clean and pop driven and a little too perfect, "Out of the Woods" does something we're used to Swift doing — creating songs that destroy their listeners with stories of love and heartbreak and emotion.
"Out of the Woods" sounds like "State of Grace" did on Swift's 2012 album Red. The song also delivers on a few earlier Swift promises. When she announced the album on live stream in August, she promised that it was inspired by "late 80's pop." That's palpable in "Out of the Woods." The backing beats sound like Tears for Fears. The emotional bridge sounds like early Coldplay. In her climbing melodies there are touches of Simple Minds.
"Looking at it now, it all seems so simple," Swift sings at the the beginning of the song, and she's right. "Out of the Woods" feels like classic Taylor Swift. It's poppy and groovy but it packs an emotional hangover that lingers.
When "Shake it Off" came out, I wrote that this album would "conquer the charts. But she might have lost her heart." With "Out of the Woods," Swift proves that she certainly has not.
The song is available on iTunes.