New Romantics (song)

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"New Romantics"
A Polaroid of Swift, a young woman with blond hair, wearing sunglasses, a purple jacket, and a two-piece dress. She is standing on a ferry, with the city skyline far behind her. The texts on the Polaroid include: "T.S." and the title "New Romantics" on the upper left and right corners, and the lyric "The best people in life are free..." in the footer.
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album 1989
ReleasedFebruary 23, 2016 (2016-02-23)[A]
Recorded2014
StudioMXM Studios
(Stockholm, Sweden)
GenreSynth-pop
Length3:50
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Max Martin
  • Shellback
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Out of the Woods"
(2016)
"New Romantics"
(2016)
"I Don't Wanna Live Forever"
(2016)
Music video
"New Romantics" on YouTube

"New Romantics" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her fifth studio album, 1989 (2014). Swift co-wrote the song with its producers, Max Martin and Shellback. The song's title is a reference to the cultural movement of the 1970s and 1980s, of which the new wave musical styles visibly influenced the song's synth-pop production. The lyrics find Swift reigniting her hopes and energy after having endured emotional hardships. "New Romantics" was released as a promotional single through Big Machine Records on March 3, 2015, and was released to US radio stations by Republic Records in partnership with Big Machine as 1989's seventh and final single on February 23, 2016. The song's music video, a compilation of footage from the 1989 World Tour, was released in April 2016.

The single peaked at number 46 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and entered the top 40 on record charts in Australia, Belgian Flanders, Lebanon, and Scotland. It received gold certifications in Australia and the US. A number of critics hailed the song's energetic and lively atmosphere, ranking "New Romantics" among Swift's best songs of her career. Rolling Stone in 2019 included the track on their list of the 100 best songs of the 2010s decade. Some others were not as impressed, deeming the song forgettable.

Production[edit]

Inspired by 1980s synth-pop, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift moved away for the country-styled music of her previous releases to employ a straightforward pop production for her fifth studio album, 1989 (2014).[4] To this end, she cut ties with former longtime producers in favor of prominent mainstream pop producers, including Swedish hitmakers Max Martin and Shellback; Swift also recruited Martin as co-executive producer.[5] Martin and Shellback produced seven out of 13 tracks on the album's standard edition,[5] and two out of three bonus tracks on the deluxe edition, including "New Romantics".[6] Swift and the two producers also served as songwriters.[6] The track was recorded by Michael Ilbert and Sam Holland at MXM Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, and mastered by Tom Coyne at Sterling Sound studio in New York City.[6]

Music and lyrics[edit]

"New Romantics" incorporates heavy, pulsating synthesizers.[7] The song's title is a reference to the cultural movement in the 1970s and 1980s;[8] according to Slate editor Forrest Wickman, this reference is also apparent on the song's sonic resemblance to the era's new wave.[9] Critic Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone dubbed "New Romantics" the song that showcases the most authentic tribute to 1980s synth-pop on 1989.[8] AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine similary considered the track among the few songs on the album that truly sounds like 1980s pop, specifically "1983 new wave".[10] For PopMatters's Corey Baesley, "New Romantics" is where Swift emulates the "indie electro-pop" styles of Scottish band Chvrches.[11]

The lyrics are about Swift reigniting her hopes and energy after the heartbreak she had endured. In the views of Pitchfork reviewer Vrinda Jagota, "New Romantics" is where Swift brushes off the pain "into a night of uninhibited hedonism", representing her departure from "slow-burning heartache" on her previous songs towards a more positive, laid-back attitude.[12] The lyrics "Heartbreak is the national anthem, we sing it proudly / We are too busy dancing to get knocked off our feet" find Swift celebrating the joys of youth, a theme that Emily Yahr from Stuff compared to Swift's previous single "22" (2013).[13] Slate critic Carl Wilson dubbed the song 1989's example of Swift's new attitude towards romance, where she no longer seeks revenge on ex-lovers, specifically with the lyric "The best people in life are free."[7]

Release and commercial performance[edit]

Swift in a black crop top and blue skirt performing
Swift performing "New Romantics" on the 1989 World Tour in 2015. Footage of the tour was included in the song's music video.

"New Romantics" was initially one of the three bonus tracks on the deluxe edition of 1989, which was available exclusively on Target in the United States. On February 17, 2015, Swift announced that she would release the three bonus tracks to iTunes Stores in the United States as promotional singles one at a time.[14] "New Romantics" was released on March 3, 2015, through Swift's then-label Big Machine Records.[1] Following this release, the song entered at number 71 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart dated March 21, 2015.[15]

On February 19, 2016, Swift announced that "New Romantics" would be the seventh and final single from 1989.[2] Republic Records in partnership with Big Machine serviced the song to US contemporary hit[16] and hot adult contemporary radio stations on February 23.[3] On April 6, Swift released the music video for "New Romantics", consisting of concert and behind-the-scenes footage during the 1989 World Tour in 2015, exclusively on Apple Music.[17] Complex's Jessie Morris deemed this release part of Swift's "partnership" with Apple Music, with whom Swift had collaborated on advertisements and interviews.[18] The Sydney Morning Herald's Karl Quinn labeled the release a "cynical move", through which Swift implicitly encouraged her fans to subscribe to Apple Music to balance the competition with streaming platform Spotify, which she had been critical of regarding its free, low-royalty streaming services.[19] Swift made the video available on her Vevo account on April 13, 2016.[20]

Upon its single release, "New Romantics" debuted at number 28 on the Mainstream Top 40, a Billboard component chart,[21] where it later peaked at number 18.[22] The song peaked at number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated April 30, 2016, and spent eight weeks on the chart.[23] The single reached the top 40 on charts in Lebanon (number 18),[24] Belgian Flanders (number 33),[25] Australia (number 35),[26] and Scotland (number 40).[27] "New Romantics" received a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for exceeding 500,000 track-equivalent units, based on sales and on-demand streams.[28] It also received a gold certification by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), which indicates 35,000 units.[29] The song received a nomination for Choice Song – Female Artist at the 2016 Teen Choice Awards.[30]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon the release of 1989, Corey Baesley from PopMatters deemed "New Romantics" and the other two deluxe edition bonus tracks more "compositionally daring" than the standard edition. They favorably likened the song to the works of Chvrches, writing that "she can do it better than anyone else."[11] Slate's Carl Wilson called it "manifesto-toned",[7] and Pitchfork's Vrinda Jagota described the track as a "surging, euphoric" number that captures the essence of the album.[12] Josh Duboff from Vanity Fair lamented the song's exclusion from the standard edition of 1989, writing that it could end up as an album track "on pretty much any other 2014 pop star's album."[31] Aimee Cliff from Fact noted that even though the lyrics are about Swift's familiar theme of "documenting memories as romantic, filtered snapshots", "New Romantics" stood out thanks to Swift's songwriting craftsmanship.[32]

Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone ranked "New Romantics" as the second best song of 2014, writing "I have no idea why she left a song this urgent and glittery and perfect off her album ... but geniuses are weird."[8] Sheffield in 2019 ranked it the second best song of Swift's career, labeling it as "this work of genius, exceeding even the wildest hopes any fan could have dreamed."[33] The song placed at number 58 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s"; the magazine commented that the song "is the type of relieving dance floor soul purge that the best pop can be."[34] Glamour's Jill Gutowitz in 2020 named "New Romantics" among the 10 best songs of Swift's career.[35] In a less enthusiastic review, Nate Jones from New York called "New Romantics" a failed attempt at "writing a big generational anthem."[36] Chris Richards of The Washington Post said that the song "registers somewhere between moldy emo and the back pages of a high school literary magazine", containing some of the "worst lyrics" on 1989.[37]

Live performances[edit]

Swift included "New Romantics" on the set list for the 1989 World Tour, which ran from May to November 2015.[38] She also performed the song at the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas on October 22, 2016,[39] and at the DirecTV Super Saturday Night on February 4, 2017.[40]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording and management[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from liner notes of 1989.[6]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2016–17) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[26] 35
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[25] 33
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[41] 58
Canada AC (Billboard)[42] 46
Canada CHR/Top 40 (Billboard)[43] 24
Canada Hot AC (Billboard)[44] 31
France (SNEP)[45] 190
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[46] 90
Lebanon (Lebanese Top 20)[24] 18
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[47] 58
Scotland (OCC)[27] 40
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[48] 132
US Billboard Hot 100[23] 46
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[49] 18
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[50] 9
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[22] 18

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[29] Gold 35,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[28] Gold 500,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "New Romantics" was released as a promotional single on March 3, 2015.[1] The February 23, 2016 release date indicates its release as an official single from 1989.[2][3]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b "New Romantics – Single". iTunes Store (US). Archived from the original on June 3, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Iasimone, Ashley (February 20, 2016). "Taylor Swift's 'New Romantics' Set as Next '1989' Single". Billboard. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Hot AC". Republic Records. Archived from the original on February 22, 2016. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  4. ^ Eells, Josh (September 16, 2014). "Taylor Swift Reveals Five Things to Expect on '1989'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 16, 2018. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  5. ^ a b McNutt 2020, p. 78.
  6. ^ a b c d 1989 (CD liner notes). Taylor Swift. Big Machine Records. 2014. BMRBD0500A.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ a b c Wilson, Carl (October 29, 2014). "Taylor Swift's 1989, reviewed". Slate. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Sheffield, Rob (December 22, 2014). "Rob Sheffield's Top 25 Songs of 2014". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  9. ^ Wickman, Forrest (October 30, 2014). "Taylor Swift's 1989: A Track-by-Track Breakdown". Slate. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  10. ^ Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "Taylor Swift 1989". AllMusic. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Beasley, Corey (October 30, 2014). "Taylor Swift: 1989". PopMatters. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Jagota, Vrinda (August 19, 2019). "Taylor Swift: 1989". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  13. ^ Yahr, Emily (November 6, 2017). "Taylor Swift: If you think she only sings about her exes, you're wrong". Stuff. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  14. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (February 17, 2015). "Taylor Swift Releasing '1989' Bonus Songs to iTunes". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 16, 2015. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  15. ^ Trust, Gary (March 13, 2015). "Hot 100 Chart Moves: Kanye West, Paul McCartney & Carly Rae Jepsen Debut". Billboard. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  16. ^ "Top 40/M Future Releases". All Access Media Group. Archived from the original on February 19, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  17. ^ Trecker, Erin (April 6, 2016). "Taylor Swift Releases 'New Romantics' Video on Apple Music". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  18. ^ Morris, Jessie (April 7, 2016). "Taylor Swift Shares Her New Fan-Filled Video for 'New Romantics'". Complex. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  19. ^ Quinn, Karl (April 7, 2016). "Taylor Swift New Romantics video release a cynical move that angers fans". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  20. ^ "Watch Taylor's New Music Video". Taylorswift.com. April 13, 2016. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  21. ^ Trust, Gary (February 29, 2016). "Taylor Swift, Fifth Harmony & Gwen Stefani Debut on Pop Songs Chart". Billboard. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  22. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  23. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  24. ^ a b "Taylor Swift". The Official Lebanese Top 20. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  25. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – Taylor Swift – New Romantics" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  26. ^ a b "Australian-charts.com – Taylor Swift – New Romantics". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  27. ^ a b "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  28. ^ a b "American single certifications – Taylor Swift – New Romantics". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 23, 2016. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  29. ^ a b "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2016 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 10 August 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  30. ^ "Teen Choice Awards: Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. July 31, 2016. Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  31. ^ Duboff, Josh (October 28, 2014). "Our 49 Favorite Things About Taylor Swift's '1989'". Vanity Fair. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  32. ^ Cliff, Aimee (October 30, 2014). "1989". Fact. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  33. ^ Sheffield, Rob (December 12, 2019). "All 153 of Taylor Swift's Songs, Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  34. ^ "The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s". Rolling Stone. December 4, 2019. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  35. ^ Gutowitz, Jill. "Taylor Swift's 10 Best (and Worst) Songs of All Time". Glamour. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  36. ^ Jones, Nate (August 13, 2020). "Taylor Swift Songs, Ranked from Worst to Best". New York. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  37. ^ Richards, Chris (October 27, 2014). "Taylor Swift's '1989': A pivot into pop, a misstep into conformity". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  38. ^ Yahr, Emily (May 5, 2015). "Taylor Swift '1989' World Tour: Set list, costumes, the stage, the spectacle". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  39. ^ "Taylor Swift Takes The Stage For First Concert In Almost A Year, Performs Song She Wrote For Calvin Harris". ET Canada. October 23, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  40. ^ Roberts, Kayleigh (February 5, 2017). "Here's What Happened at Taylor Swift's Alleged Only Performance of 2017". Elle. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  41. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  42. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canada AC)". Billboard. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  43. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canada CHR/Top 40)". Billboard. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  44. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canada Hot AC)". Billboard. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  45. ^ "Lescharts.com – Taylor Swift – New Romantics" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  46. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Japan Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  47. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201620 into search. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  48. ^ "CHART: CLUK Update 16.04.2016 (wk15)". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  49. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  50. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 12, 2016.

Cited literature[edit]

  • McNutt, Myles (2020). "From 'Mine' to 'Ours': Gendered Hierarchies of Authorship and the Limits of Taylor Swift's Paratextual Feminism". Communication, Culture and Critique. 13 (1): 72–91. doi:10.1093/ccc/tcz042.