Clara Bow (song)

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"Clara Bow"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album The Tortured Poets Department
ReleasedApril 19, 2024 (2024-04-19)
StudioLong Pond (New York)
GenrePop rock
  • Taylor Swift
  • Aaron Dessner
Lyric video
"Clara Bow" on YouTube

"Clara Bow" is a song by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift from her eleventh studio album, The Tortured Poets Department (2024). The track was named after the silent-film actress Clara Bow. Swift and Aaron Dessner wrote and produced the track, which was inspired by Swift's conversations with record label executives. A folk-leaning pop rock track, it comments on Swift's fame. Critics, as well as Bow's family, applauded the track for Swift's vulnerability, lyricism, and depiction of fame and beauty. The song peaked at number 22 of the Billboard Global 200 and reached the top 25 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States.

Music and lyrics[edit]

Portrait of Clara Bow
A black and white side shoot of Stevie Nicks
The song's namesake is the actress Clara Bow (left) and the lyrics additionally reference the singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks (right).

The song is a guitar-driven pop rock[1] ballad, containing Swift's commentary on women in the industry being taught to "replace each other". Swift has said that it was inspired by her conversations with record label executives, saying, "...They'd say, 'You know, you remind us of' and then they'd name an artist, and then they'd kind of say something disparaging about her, 'But you're this, you're so much better in this way or that way.' And that's how we teach women to see themselves, as like, 'You could be the new replacement for this woman who's done something great before you.'"[2] It contains lyrical references to actress Clara Bow and singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks. Musically, it has been described as a pop rock song.[1]

Reactions and reception[edit]

Prior to the album release, the family of actress Clara Bow, whom the track is named after, said they hoped the song would encapsulate her legacy. Bow's great-granddaughter, Nicole Sisneros, said her family was shocked and fascinated by the track. Sisneros added that Swift's team had not contacted the family prior. Another granddaughter of Bow, Brittany Grace Bell, said she wishes for Swift to display Bow positively, highlighting that Bow and Swift were "pioneers in their field".[3] After the song's release, Bow's family praised it, describing it as "hauntingly beautiful" and praising the lyrics, "This town is fake but you're the real thing." Bell additionally stated that she feels Bow would've supported Swift had she lived to know of her.[4] Clara Bow biographer David Stenn also praised Swift's song, describing the lyrics "beauty is a beast that roars down on all fours" as "poetry" and "profound."[5]

In a positive review, Maria Sherman of The Associated Press said "Clara Bow" is one of the greatest album closing tracks from Swift. Reviewing the song's ending, Sherman interprets it as Swift's self-criticism and awareness.[6] Samantha Olsen of Cosmopolitan placed it third on her top five ranking of its parent album,[7] highlighting its emotional sentiments. Billboard's Jason Lipshutz praised the song for its production, dubbing it "careful pop rock" and highlighting its self-referential outro ("You look like Taylor Swift") and depiction of beauty.[1] Dakota West Foss from Sputnikmusic commented that "Clara Bow" ended the album "with intriguing and, more importantly, genuine self-reflection that examines the weight of her crown".[8] Beats Per Minute's John Wohlmacher similarly said "Clara Bow" is one of Swift's best songs, attributing it to its "gorgeous melody and urgent pre-chorus".[9]

Commercial performance[edit]

When The Tortured Poets Department was released, "Clara Bow" debuted at its peak of number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[10] In Australia, the song reached number 20 on the ARIA Singles Chart and made Swift the artist with the most entries in a single week with 29.[11][12] Elsewhere, "Clara Bow" opened and peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Global 200[13] and charted within the 25 in New Zealand (22),[14] Singapore (22),[15] and Canada (23).[16]


  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, producer
  • Aaron Dessner – producer, songwriter, piano, synthesizer, percussion, bass, drum programming
  • Glenn Kotche – drums, percussion
  • James McAlister – engineering, synthesizer, percussion, keyboards
  • J.T. Bates – drums
  • Thomas Barlett – engineering, synthesizer, keyboards, piano
  • Robert Ames – conductor
  • Abi Hyde-Smith – cello
  • Brian O'Kane – cello
  • Max Ruisi – cello
  • Reinoud Ford – cello
  • Chris Kelly – double bass
  • Dave Brown – double bass
  • Sophie Roper – double bass
  • Elisa Bergersen – viola
  • Matthew Kettle – viola
  • Morgan Goff – viola
  • Nicholas Bootiman – viola
  • Amy Swain – viola
  • Akiko Ishikawa – violin
  • Cara Laskaris – violin
  • Iona Allan – violin
  • Kirsty Mangan – violin
  • Nicole Crespo O'Donoghue – violin
  • Ronald Long – violin
  • Sophie Mather – violin
  • Dan Oates – violin
  • Eloisa-Fleur Thorn – violin
  • Emily Holland – violin
  • Anna de Bruin – violin
  • Galya Bisengalieva – violin
  • Agata Daraskaite – violin
  • Jlian Azkoul – violin
  • Marianne Haynes – violin
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • Bryce Bordone – mix engineer
  • Jonathan Low – engineering
  • Jeremy Murphy – engineering
  • Bryce Dessner – recording arrangement
  • Bella Blasko – additional engineering
  • Laura Beck – engineering assistance
  • Randy Merrill – mastering
  • Ryan Smith – mastering


Chart performance for "Clara Bow"
Chart (2024) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[11] 20
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[16] 23
France (SNEP)[17] 191
Global 200 (Billboard)[13] 22
Greece International (IFPI)[18] 48
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 22
Portugal (AFP)[19] 56
Singapore (RIAS)[15] 22
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[20] 78
Swiss Streaming (Schweizer Hitparade)[21] 60
UK Streaming (OCC)[22] 26
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 21


  1. ^ a b c Lipshutz, Jason (April 19, 2024). "Taylor Swift's The Tortured Poets Department: All 31 Tracks Ranked". Billboard. Archived from the original on April 20, 2024. Retrieved April 22, 2024.
  2. ^ Brow, Jason (April 22, 2024). "Taylor Swift Says 'Clara Bow' is a Commentary on How Women are Taught to 'Replace' Each Other". US Weekly. Archived from the original on April 22, 2024. Retrieved April 22, 2024.
  3. ^ Walsh, Savannah (April 12, 2024). "Revisiting Clara Bow, the Scrutinized "It Girl" Who Inspired Taylor Swift's New Song". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on April 22, 2024. Retrieved April 17, 2024.
  4. ^ Crosbie, Eve (April 19, 2024). "Clara Bow's family thinks the silent-film star would have loved Taylor Swift's song about her". Business Insider. Archived from the original on April 22, 2024. Retrieved April 22, 2024.
  5. ^ Mazza, Julia (April 19, 2024). "Clara Bow Expert Unpacks Taylor Swift's 'Profound' Allegory". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on May 8, 2024. Retrieved May 9, 2024.
  6. ^ Sherman, Maria (April 19, 2024). "Music Review: Taylor Swift's 'The Tortured Poets Department' is great sad pop, meditative theater". Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 22, 2024. Retrieved April 19, 2024.
  7. ^ Olson, Samantha (April 20, 2024). "The 5 Best Songs From Taylor Swift's The Tortured Poets Department, Ranked". Cosmopolitan. Archived from the original on April 20, 2024. Retrieved April 20, 2024.
  8. ^ Foss, Dakota West (April 22, 2024). "The Tortured Poets Department (Anthology) by Taylor Swift Review". Sputnikmusic. Archived from the original on May 9, 2024. Retrieved April 23, 2024.
  9. ^ Wohlmacher, John (April 23, 2024). "Album review: Taylor Swift – The Tortured Poets Department". Beats Per Minute. Retrieved May 14, 2024.
  10. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  11. ^ a b "ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart". Australian Recording Industry Association. April 29, 2024. Archived from the original on May 9, 2024. Retrieved April 26, 2024.
  12. ^ Gbogbo, Mawunyo (April 29, 2024). "Taylor Swift's New Album The Tortured Poets Department Smashes Chart Records in the US, UK and Australia". ABC News. Archived from the original on May 10, 2024. Retrieved May 10, 2024.
  13. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Global 200)". Billboard. Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  14. ^ a b "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. April 29, 2024. Archived from the original on April 26, 2024. Retrieved April 26, 2024.
  15. ^ a b "RIAS Top Charts Week 17 (19 - 25 Apr 2024)". RIAS. Archived from the original on April 30, 2024. Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  16. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  17. ^ "Top Singles (Week 16, 2024)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Archived from the original on May 31, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2024.
  18. ^ "IFPI Charts". Archived from the original on May 1, 2024. Retrieved May 1, 2024.
  19. ^ "Taylor Swift – Clara Bow". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved May 1, 2024.
  20. ^ "Veckolista Singlar, vecka 17". Sverigetopplistan. Archived from the original on April 26, 2024. Retrieved April 26, 2024.
  21. ^ "Streaming Top 100". Schweizer Hitparade. Retrieved May 15, 2024.
  22. ^ "Official Streaming Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on May 9, 2024. Retrieved April 26, 2024.