Cornelia Street (song)

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"Cornelia Street"
A black-and-white photograph of Swift playing the guitar. The white text "Cornelia Street Live from Paris" is written above her.
Live from Paris cover artwork
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album Lover
Released
  • August 23, 2019 (album version)
  • May 18, 2020 (Live from Paris)
StudioElectric Lady (New York City)
Genre
Length4:47
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)Taylor Swift
Producer(s)
Audio video
"Cornelia Street" on YouTube

"Cornelia Street" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, taken from her seventh studio album Lover, which was released on August 23, 2019, through Republic Records. Swift produced the song with Jack Antonoff, and was the sole writer. The title of the song refers to a street in the New York neighborhood Greenwich Village, where Swift had rented a townhouse.

Swift stated that "Cornelia Street" was one of the most personal songs on Lover. The song's lyrics are about Swift pleading to never let her love interest go, after having shared the ups and downs during the course of their relationship. The electropop and synth-pop song is instrumented by a flute-like keyboard line, a delicate piano, and a fluttering synthesizer.

Music critics lauded Swift's narrative lyricism in "Cornelia Street" and its sentimental production, with some picking it as an album highlight. The song was included in Uproxx's list of the best songs of 2019. Upon the parent album's release, "Cornelia Street" entered and peaked on the singles chart of Australia (number 40), the Canadian Hot 100 (number 51), and the US Billboard Hot 100 (number 57). A live version of the song, recorded at the City of Lover concert in Paris in September 2019, was released on digital platforms on May 18, 2020.

Background[edit]

Taylor Swift released her seventh studio album, Lover, on August 23, 2019, through Republic Records.[1] Described by Swift as a "love letter to love itself", Lover explores the "full spectrum of love", inspired by the connections she felt with her fans during her Reputation Stadium Tour (2018).[2] The track list of Lover consists of 18 songs, of which three were solely written by Swift: "Lover", "Cornelia Street", and "Daylight". All three songs were produced by Swift and Jack Antonoff.[3]

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Swift said that "Cornelia Street" was one of the most personal songs on Lover that were "nearest to her heart".[4] At the City of Lover concert in Paris in September 2019, Swift told her audience that she wrote it in the bathtub, "just for context".[5] The title of "Cornelia Street" refers to a street in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood, where Swift had rented a townhouse for a short period of time. This is also referenced in the first verse, where Swift sings, "I rent a place on Cornelia Street," which Vulture revealed to be based on Swift's experience hiring the place while her Tribeca residence was being renovated.[6][7]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Musically, "Cornelia Street" is a pop song instrumented by a keyboard line, pulsing synths in the background, and echoing vocals.[8][9] The Daily Nebraskan described the song as electropop, and the keyboard line as "flute-like".[8] At the bridge and prechorus, Swift's vocals are accompanied by a delicate piano line.[10] The chorus features Swift singing in her falsetto vocal register.[11] Lyrically, "Cornelia Street" explores contemplative themes of heartbreak and nostalgia.[12] On Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, Swift explained: "It's about the things that took place and the memories that took place on that street... all the nostalgia. Sometimes we bond our memories to the places that they happen."[12]

Critics observed that "Cornelia Street" stays true to Swift's narrative songwriting craftsmanship for exploring emotions with intricate details.[13] To demonstrate this viewpoint, Carl Wilson of Slate selected the lyrics: "Windows swung right open, autumn air / Jacket 'round my shoulders is yours / We bless the rains on Cornelia Street / Memorize the creaks in the floor." Throughout the song, imagery of New York City are prevalent—although Swift and her love interest initially share happy moments together, Swift leaves the relationship without saying goodbye as soon as she worries whether her love interest was being honest. As she reaches a tunnel, however, her love interest calls and lures her in again. Years later, she is afraid that she might misstep again and lose him: "That's the kind of heartbreak time won't mend / I'd never walk Cornelia Street again."[14] Wilson thought that the "We bless the rains on Cornelia Street" lyric was a reference to Toto's 1982 song "Africa", and the "tunnel" lyric refers to Lincoln Tunnel,[14] while Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times interpreted it as Holland Tunnel.[15]

Vogue compared the song's narrative to that of "All Too Well", a song on Swift's 2012 album Red, for featuring the "same mix of nostalgia for streets crossed together, turning seasons, and relationship highs that make the lows hurt that much more."[16] In a review for Rolling Stone, Rob Sheffield deemed "Cornelia Street" a progression from "Holy Ground", a song also from Red. Both songs depict a girl in New York City, which reminds her of her love interest even before the relationship is over. If "Holy Ground" depicts a relationship that ended in the "usual way", however, "Cornelia Street" is about Swift clinging onto a relationship, pleading not to make the same mistake again.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

In publications' reviews of Lover, critics praised "Cornelia Street" for showcasing Swift's songwriting abilities, and some picked it as an album highlight. Writing for the The Music, Keira Leonard complimented the personal lyrics and Swift's vocals on delicate piano tunes, which offered "every ounce of emotion".[10] Ben Rayner of The Toronto Star felt that the song exemplified Swift's "real-girl relatability" that shaped her public image and artistry. Although the song initially comes off as generic "21st-century pop", its progression, especially at the bridge where Swift sings "I hope I never lose you" over a delicate piano line, offers emotional engagement.[9] On behalf of Time, Raisa Bruner complimented the song for representing Swift's songwriting abilities, and described the lyrics "I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends / I'd never walk Cornelia Street again" as "a punch of relatability".[17]

Vogue's Jenna Adrian-Diaz observed that the song reflected Swift's personal life at the time, as she was no longer associated with on-and-off relationships that served as an inspiration for her songwriting, but instead retreated her love life from the public eye.[16] Carl Wilson from Slate described the song as the album's best, praising the lyrics for featuring intricate details and showcasing Swift's new perspective on love. Wilson also praised the production for evoking "mixed emotions".[14] Sheffield selected the song as one of the proofs for Swift's songwriting maturity, as she focused on "being in love" rather than failed relationships, which had been a recurring theme.[13] Anna Gaca from Pitchfork lauded the song for offering a contemplative moment: "a lovely, understated tribute to memory and nostalgia with the power to make one rarefied block of Manhattan feel universal".[18]

In a similar sentiment, Vox's Alex Abad-Santos picked "Cornelia Street" as Lover's best song for its relatable lyrics with universal emotions, despite utilizing personal details. Abad-Santos also regarded the song as an extension of Swift's songwriting showcased on "Style" (from Swift's 2014 album 1989) for offering "a sudden, devastating wistfulness for a place or feeling you've never known".[19] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times commented that "Cornelia Street" captures the album's "power". He felt that the song's "atmospheric gloom" was a contrast from Lover's overall bright tunes, and more in line with the production of Swift's 2017 album Reputation, and praised the lyrics for portraying Swift as "coy and lost in reverie".[20] Consequence of Sound similarly considered the song "less cheerful and optimistic" than the overall theme of Lover, and compared it to "New Year's Day", a song off Reputation.[21] Uproxx ranked "Cornelia Street" at number seven on their list of the best songs of 2019, praising Swift's songwriting for offering emotional engagement with "a crafty melody and gentle hand".[22]

Live performance[edit]

Swift first performed the song at the City of Lover one-day concert at the Olympia on September 9, 2019, in Paris, France.[5] Swift performed a stripped-down version of the song, backing herself on an acoustic guitar.[5] The concert was filmed and later aired as a TV special on American Broadcasting Company (ABC) on May 17, 2020.[23] The performance of "Cornelia Street" was released for digital download and streaming on May 18, 2020.[24]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits and personnel are adapted from the liner notes of Lover.[3]

Charts[edit]

Upon the release of Lover, "Cornelia Street" entered the official singles charts in Australia (ARIA Singles Chart), Canada (Canadian Hot 100), and the United States (Billboard Hot 100). It also entered the UK Streaming Chart, a component chart of the official UK Singles Chart.

Chart (2019) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[25] 40
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[26] 51
Singapore (RIAS)[27] 21
UK Streaming (OCC)[28] 73
US Billboard Hot 100[29] 57

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Note Ref.
Various May 18, 2020 Live from Paris version [30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Collins, Katie. "Taylor Swift's Lover: How to stream and buy the album now on Apple, Spotify, Amazon". CNET. Archived from the original on August 25, 2019. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  2. ^ Suskind, Alex (May 9, 2019). "New Reputation: Taylor Swift shares intel on TS7, fan theories, and her next era". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 12, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Lover (liner notes). Taylor Swift. Republic Records. 2019.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  4. ^ Huff, Lauren (August 22, 2019). "Taylor Swift talks all things Lover, reveals album's original title". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 22, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Mylrea, Hannah (September 10, 2019). "Taylor Swift's The City of Lover concert: an intimate celebration of her fans and career". NME. Archived from the original on November 25, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  6. ^ Barbour, Shannon (August 23, 2019). "Is Taylor Swift's 'Cornelia Street' About Her Rumored Friendship Breakup With Karlie Kloss?". Cosmopolitan. Archived from the original on November 13, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  7. ^ Skinner, Paige (August 27, 2019). "Taylor Swift 'Cornelia Street' Explained: See the NYC Apt". Vulture. Archived from the original on August 30, 2019. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Schilz, Libby (August 26, 2019). "The many sounds of Taylor Swift's new album 'Lover'". The Daily Nebraskan. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Rayner, Ben (August 23, 2019). "Our track by track review of Lover, Taylor Swift's new album". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on September 21, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Leonard, Keira (August 23, 2019). "We Take You Through Taylor Swift's Brand New Album, 'Lover'". The Music. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  11. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (January 31, 2020). "Taylor Swift's 100 album tracks". The Independent. Archived from the original on December 3, 2019. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  12. ^ a b Lindsay, Kathyrn (August 23, 2019). "Fans Are Trying To Decode Taylor Swift's 'Cornelia Street'". Refinery29. Archived from the original on February 3, 2021. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  13. ^ a b c Sheffield, Rob (August 23, 2019). "Why 'Lover' Is the Ultimate Taylor Swift Album". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 24, 2019. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c Wilson, Carl (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift's Lover Is a More Mature (Mostly) Successor to Red". Slate. Archived from the original on November 21, 2019. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  15. ^ Wood, Mikael (August 25, 2019). "Taylor Swift's 'Lover'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 14, 2019. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Adrian-Diaz, Jenna (August 23, 2019). "A Listening Guide to Lover, Based on Your 9 Favorite Taylor Swift Songs". Vogue. Archived from the original on October 26, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  17. ^ Bruner, Raisa (August 23, 2019). "Let's Anazlye the Lyrics to Every Song on Taylor Swift's Lover". Time. Archived from the original on June 9, 2020. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  18. ^ Gaca, Anna (August 26, 2019). "Taylor Swift: Lover Album Review". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on August 26, 2019. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  19. ^ Abad-Santos, Alex (August 23, 2019). "The 3 best songs on Taylor Swift's new album, Lover: 'Cornelia Street' Is Taylor Swift at Her Best". Vox. Archived from the original on July 26, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  20. ^ Caramanica, Jon (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift Emerges From the Darkness Unbroken on 'Lover'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 24, 2019. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  21. ^ Barr, Natalia (August 26, 2019). "Album Review: Taylor Swift Takes the High Road on the More Mature Lover". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on August 29, 2019. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  22. ^ "The Best Songs of 2019, Ranked". Uproxx. December 3, 2019. Archived from the original on December 3, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  23. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (May 17, 2020). "Taylor Swift's 'City of Lover Concert' Special: 8 Best Moments". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 29, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  24. ^ Cohen, Jess (May 18, 2020). "Hear Taylor Swift's Enchanting Acoustic Performance of 'Cornelia Street'". E! Online. Archived from the original on June 25, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  25. ^ "Taylor Swift – Cornelia Street". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  26. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  27. ^ "RIAS International Top Charts Week 35". Recording Industry Association (Singapore). Archived from the original on September 5, 2019.
  28. ^ "Official Audio Streaming Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  29. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  30. ^ "Cornelia Street (Live from Paris) – Single". Apple Music. Archived from the original on December 16, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2021.

External links[edit]