New Romantics (song)

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

"New Romantics"
Cover artwork of Taylor Swift's single "New Romantics", showing Swift standing on a ferry with the NYC skyline in the background
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album 1989
ReleasedFebruary 23, 2016 (2016-02-23)
Studio
GenreSynth-pop
Length3:50
LabelBig Machine
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 by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, who wrote it with the producers Max Martin and Shellback. The title is a reference to a cultural movement of the 1970s and 1980s, whose new wave musical style influenced the song's synth-pop production and pulsating synthesizers. The lyrics are about reigniting one's hopes and energy after emotional hardships.

A deluxe-edition bonus track of Swift's fifth studio album, 1989, "New Romantics" was released as the album's seventh and final radio single on February 23, 2016, by Big Machine in affiliation with Republic Records. The music video is a compilation of footage from Swift's 1989 World Tour. "New Romantics" peaked at number 46 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The single peaked in the top 40 on the charts in Belgian Flanders, Lebanon, Scotland, and Australia, being certified double platinum in the lattermost country.

Many music critics hailed the energetic and lively atmosphere of "New Romantics"; they lamented its exclusion from 1989's standard edition and ranked it as one of Swift's best songs. A few critics otherwise deemed it a forgettable track. In 2019, Rolling Stone included the song on their list of the 100 best songs of the 2010s decade. Following the 2019 dispute regarding the ownership of Swift's back catalog, she re-recorded the song as "New Romantics (Taylor's Version)" for her re-recorded album 1989 (Taylor's Version) (2023).

Production

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Inspired by 1980s synth-pop, the singer-songwriter Taylor Swift moved away from the country-styled music of her previous releases to employ a straightforward pop production for her fifth studio album, 1989 (2014).[1] To this end, she enlisted prominent mainstream pop producers, including Swedish hitmakers Max Martin and Shellback; Swift also recruited the former as co-executive producer.[2] Martin and Shellback produced seven out of thirteen tracks on the album's standard edition,[2] and two out of three bonus tracks on the deluxe edition, including "New Romantics".[3] Swift, Martin and Shellback are credited as the songwriters of "New Romantics".[3] The song was recorded by Michael Ilbert at MXM Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, and Sam Holland at Conway Recording Studios in Los Angeles.[3] It was mixed by Serban Ghenea at MixStar Studios in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and mastered by Tom Coyne at Sterling Sound Studios in New York City.[3]

Music and lyrics

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"New Romantics" incorporates pulsating synthesizers.[4] The song's title is a reference to the New Romantic cultural movement of the late 1970s and 1980s.[5] According to Slate editor Forrest Wickman, this reference is also apparent through the song's sonic resemblance to the era's new wave.[6] Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone dubbed "New Romantics" the song that showcased the most authentic tribute to 1980s synth-pop on 1989.[5] AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine similarly considered the track among the few on the album that truly sounded like 1980s pop, specifically "1983 new wave".[7] For Corey Baesley from PopMatters, "New Romantics" is where Swift emulates the "indie electro-pop" styles of Scottish band Chvrches.[8] While acknowledging the 1980s influences, such as the "coolness" of the 1980 hit "We Got the Beat", music professor James Perone opined that "New Romantics" was musically "more about the pop music of the 21st century" than about the prevailing styles of the New Romantic era.[9]

The lyrics are about Swift reigniting her hopes and energy after the heartbreak she had endured.[10][11] For Pitchfork's 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.[10] The refrain starts with Swift singing, "'Cause baby I could build a castle / Out of all the bricks they threw at me." Anna Leszkiewicz from the New Statesman commented that the "castle" imagery in "New Romantics" was used in a "self-referential way" and departed from the fairytale notion of "castles" on Swift's previous songs.[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; Emily Yahr from The Washington Post said this sentiment resembled Swift's 2013 single "22".[11] Slate's Carl Wilson described the song as 1989's representation of Swift's new attitude towards romance. The lyric, "The best people in life are free", sees Swift no longer seeking revenge on ex-lovers.[4] Perone noted that the lyrics were representational of Swift's generation's defiant and carefree attitude, which he compared to that of the mods in the 1960s, specifically citing the Who's 1965 song "My Generation".[9]

Release and commercial performance

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Taylor Swift on the 1989 World Tour
Swift performed "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 at 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.[13] "New Romantics" was released on March 3, 2015, by Big Machine Records.[14] Following this release, the song entered the US Billboard Hot 100 chart dated March 21, 2015, at number 71.[15]

On February 19, 2016, Swift announced that "New Romantics" would be the seventh and final single from 1989.[16] Republic Records in partnership with Big Machine released the song to US contemporary hit[17] and hot adult contemporary radio stations on February 23.[18] Upon its single release, "New Romantics" debuted at number 28 on Pop Songs, a Billboard airplay chart;[19] it peaked at number 18 on Pop Songs.[20] The single peaked at number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated April 30, 2016, and spent eight weeks on the chart.[21] It reached the top 40 on charts in Lebanon (18),[22] Belgian Flanders (33),[23] Australia (35),[24] and Scotland (40).[25] "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.[26] It also received a gold certification by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), which indicates 35,000 units.[27] The song received a nomination for Choice Song – Female Artist at the 2016 Teen Choice Awards.[28]

On April 6, Swift released the music video for "New Romantics" exclusively on Apple Music, which required a paid subscription.[29] Directed by Jonas Åkerlund,[30] the video consists of concert and behind-the-scenes footage during the 1989 World Tour in 2015, intertwined with Swift's voice-overs about her thoughts for her fans.[31] Laura Bertens, a scholar in art history and cultural studies, cited "New Romantics" as an example of "why music videos often elicit strong reactions". Bertens noted that the behind-the-scenes footage of Swift's performances made the audience connect with her on a personal level, "to see the private person behind the celebrity, all the while knowing that we are looking at a performance as well".[32] Complex's Jessie Morris deemed the exclusive Apple release part of Swift's "partnership" with Apple Music, with whom Swift had collaborated on advertisements and interviews.[33] 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 Spotify—the largest on-demand streaming platform at the time. Swift had publicly condemned Spotify's free streaming services that provided low royalties for artists.[34] Swift made the video available on her Vevo and YouTube accounts on April 13, 2016, without subscription requirements.[35]

Swift included "New Romantics" on the set list for the 1989 World Tour, which ran from May to November 2015.[36] She sang the song at the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas on October 22, 2016,[37] and at the DirecTV Super Saturday Night, as part of a series of pre-Super Bowl concerts, on February 4, 2017.[38] Swift performed an acoustic guitar rendition at the August 9, 2023, show of the Eras Tour at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, prefaced by her announcement of the October 27 release of her re-recording of 1989, 1989 (Taylor's Version).[39] She sang the song again as part of a guitar medley with her songs "Message in a Bottle" and "How You Get The Girl" in dedication to Martin on the May 19, 2024, show of the tour at Friends Arena in Stockholm.[40]

Critical reception

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Upon the release of 1989, Corey Beasley from PopMatters deemed "New Romantics" and the other two deluxe edition bonus tracks more "compositionally daring" than any track on the standard edition. Beasley favorably likened the song to the works of Chvrches, writing that "[Swift] can do it better than anyone else".[8] Slate's Carl Wilson called it "manifesto-toned",[4] and Pitchfork's Vrinda Jagota described the track as a "surging, euphoric" number that captures the essence of the album.[10] 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".[41] Aimee Cliff from Fact picked "New Romantics" as an example that best demonstrates Swift's ability to "[document] memories as romantic, filtered snapshots".[42]

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."[5] In his ranking of Swift's songs, Sheffield ranked it the second greatest song of Swift's career, labeling it as a "work of genius, exceeding even the wildest hopes any fan could have dreamed".[43] Rolling Stone magazine placed "New Romantics" at number 58 among "The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s"; the critic Brittany Spanos described it as "the type of relieving dance floor soul purge that the best pop can be".[44] Retrospective reviews from The Guardian's Alexis Petridis,[45] NME's Hannah Mylrae,[46] and Paste's Jane Song commented that the song should have made the final cut of 1989's standard edition.[47] Lucy Ford from British GQ ranked the single among Swift's 10 best and praised its "cheeky and winking" theme.[48] In a list ranking the bonus tracks from Swift's albums, Variety's Chris Willman ranked "New Romantics" third and described it as Swift and Martin's "peak [...] collaboration in terms of sheer ear candy".[49]

In less enthusiastic reviews, Nate Jones from Vulture called "New Romantics" a failed attempt at "writing a big generational anthem."[50] 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.[51]

Credits and personnel

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Credits adapted from the liner notes of 1989[3]

Charts

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2015–2016 weekly chart performance for "New Romantics"
Chart (2015–2016) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[24] 35
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[23] 33
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[52] 58
Canada AC (Billboard)[53] 46
Canada CHR/Top 40 (Billboard)[54] 24
Canada Hot AC (Billboard)[55] 31
France (SNEP)[56] 190
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[57] 90
Lebanon (Lebanese Top 20)[22] 18
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[58] 58
Scotland (OCC)[25] 40
UK Singles (OCC)[59] 132
US Billboard Hot 100[21] 46
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[60] 18
US Adult Pop Airplay (Billboard)[61] 9
US Pop Airplay (Billboard)[20] 18
2023 weekly chart performance for "New Romantics"
Chart (2023) Peak
position
Portugal (AFP)[62] 65

Certifications

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Certifications for "New Romantics"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[27] 2× Platinum 140,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[63] Silver 200,000
United States (RIAA)[26] Gold 500,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

"New Romantics (Taylor's Version)"

[edit]
"New Romantics (Taylor's Version)"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album 1989 (Taylor's Version)
ReleasedOctober 27, 2023 (2023-10-27)
StudioPrime Recording (Nashville)
Length3:50
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Lyric video
"New Romantics (Taylor's Version)" on YouTube

After signing a new contract with Republic Records, Swift began re-recording her first six studio albums in November 2020.[64] The decision followed a public 2019 dispute between Swift and the talent manager Scooter Braun, who acquired Big Machine Records, including the masters of Swift's albums which the label had released.[65][66] By re-recording the albums, Swift had full ownership of the new masters, which enabled her to control the licensing of her songs for commercial use and therefore substituted the Big Machine–owned masters.[67]

The re-recording of "New Romantics", subtitled "Taylor's Version", was released as part of 1989's re-recording, 1989 (Taylor's Version), on October 27, 2023.[68] Swift produced "New Romantics (Taylor's Version)" with Christopher Rowe, who had produced her previous re-recordings.[69] The track was engineered by Derek Garten at Prime Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee; mixed by Ghenea at MixStar Studios in Virginia Beach, Virginia; and mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound in Edgewater, New Jersey. Rowe recorded Swift's vocals at Kitty Committee Studio in New York.[70]

Personnel

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Credits adapted from the liner notes of 1989 (Taylor's Version)[70]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, background vocals, songwriter, producer
  • Max Bernstein – synthesizer, electric guitar, acoustic guitar
  • Matt Billingslea – drums, drum programming
  • Bryce Bordone – engineer for mix
  • Dan Burns – drum programming, synth bass, synthesizer
  • Derek Garten – engineer, editing, programming
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • Amos Heller – bass guitar
  • Max Martin – songwriter
  • Mike Meadows – synthesizer, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
  • Brian Pruitt – drums, drum programming
  • Christopher Rowe – producer, vocal engineer
  • Shellback – songwriter

Charts

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Chart performance for "New Romantics (Taylor's Version)"
Chart (2023) Peak
position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[71] 27
Global 200 (Billboard)[72] 24
Greece International (IFPI)[73] 40
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[74] 26
Singapore (RIAS)[75] 22
Sweden Heatseeker (Sverigetopplistan)[76] 13
UK Streaming (OCC)[77] 31
US Billboard Hot 100[78] 29

References

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Citations

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Cited literature

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