Taylor Swift has proven herself time and time again to be a genius at writing songs not only inspired from her own life, but also at writing songs inspired from her vivid imagination, and others’ past works of fiction. Here are four extremely well known books that Swift has referenced in her music.
1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
In “happiness,” off of her ninth album, evermore, Swift directly quotes Daisy Buchanan’s line in The Great Gatsby, “I hope she’ll be a beautiful fool.”
In the book, Daisy speaks this as a blessing of sorts to her daughter, wishing for her that she will be able to stay innocent and carefree of the troubles of the world. Daisy recognizes this is hard to do as a girl in a world dominated by men.
However, Taylor Swift, genius that she is, changes the meaning of this quote to fit the context of her song. “happiness” tells the story of a couple who has been in a committed relationship for years, but as the songs begins, the relationship is ending.
Swift mourns the relationship saying, “When did all our lessons / Start to look like weapons / Pointed at my deepest hurt?” She uses the direct quote, “I hope she’ll be a beautiful fool” to speak on what the narrator of the song wishes for her partner’s new lover.
She sings, “No I didn’t mean that / Sorry I can’t see facts / Through all of my fury / You haven’t met the new me yet” showing the dichotomy between being heartbroken and feeling betrayed at the prospect of your ex finding love again with someone new, but also continuing to want the best for them, even when the best thing for them is no longer you.
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
The quote from Jane Eyre, “I have a strange feeling with regard to you: as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly knotted to a similar string in you” seems to have heavily inspired Swift’s song entitled “invisible string” from her album folklore. This line is spoken in the book from Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester to Jane Eyre when he is begging her to stay with him.
Swift obviously saw the immense potential for a song based around this idea of an “invisible string” binding a person to their soulmate, and she used it to tell her own story of finding love with actor Joe Alwyn.
She sings, “And isn’t it just so pretty to think / All along there was some invisible string / Tying you to me?” Swift and Alwyn have been in a relationship for over six years now and I hope he knows how lucky he is to have someone who writes such beautiful songs about him!
3. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Swift gives a nod to this classic by putting a twist on the novel’s exceedingly famous and overly quoted first line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
In her song “Getaway Car” Swift begins with the lyrics, “It was the best of times / The worst of crimes.” This line alludes to the drama surrounding her whirlwind romance in the summer of 2016 with British actor Tom Hiddleston, and her simultaneous split from Calvin Harris.
The song is meant to be about how she self-admittedly used Hiddleston as her “getaway car” to leave her then boyfriend, Harris. She sings, “I wanted to leave him / I needed a reason.” She does, however, show that she felt deep remorse about what she did, calling it, “The worst of crimes.”
4. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
I have a hunch that this classic children’s book might have been one of Swift’s favorite books when she was younger, since she makes references to it in two songs.
First, in her album 1989, on the deluxe edition song “Wonderland,” Swift basically alludes the book for the entirety of the song. She uses many book related metaphors, such as, “Didn’t you calm my fears with a Cheshire Cat smile?” and “Took a wrong turn and we / Fell down the rabbit hole.” And then of course there is the even more obvious reference to the book in the chorus: “We found Wonderland / You and I got lost in it.”
In her song “long story short” from evermore she also sings “Fell from the pedestal / Right down the rabbit hole” to explain how she felt about the public scrutiny she received after her drama with Kanye West in 2016. For a time, Swift fell off of her pedestal and down into the rabbit hole of being subjected to the public’s opinions on an issue that they weren’t even apart of. But she made it through the ordeal, writing, “Long story short it was a bad time / Long story short I survived.”
Well there you have it, some of the most popular books that Taylor Swift has referenced in her songs. I think it is safe to say that Taylor Swift is an avid reader with an impeccable taste in books.
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