Taylor Swift made one of the best pop songs and no one knows about it

By: Justin Turner
1989 by Taylor Swift

On her mega-successful album 1989, Taylor Swift cemented her sound and persona and rose to unthinkable heights. 1989, Swift’s definitive marker into the landscape of pop music, brought back nostalgia of 80’s synth-pop along with her sharp pen and keen skills for songwriting. For those reasons,1989 is one of the most notable pop albums of the 2010s. One song in particular seems to capture the mood of the entirety of her album. Looking towards smash singles like “Shake It Off” and “Bad Blood” won’t give you the answer. To be reminded of what makes pop music so great, Swift wants us to dig deeper.

Tucked away on the deluxe version of the album lies one of Swift’s unnoticed strokes of genius, “New Romantics.” Making use of 80’s pop influence in all of its infectious being, Swift delivers a sucker punch of heartbreak and self-awareness. She is largely known for her teary-eyed and lovelorn ballads, but with “New Romantics,” she achieves what her critical darling contemporary Robyn knows best: putting one’s feelings out on the dance floor.

In less than four minutes, Swift takes you to the bars and through a blackout. She cries in the bathroom and pukes on the sidewalk. She drinks coffee with you hungover, checks her phone incessantly and dances alone in her room. She drinks and parties and stumbles around, engulfed in the haze of young confusion and fear. She takes a hard look at herself in the mirror (“We’ve all got scarlet letters/trust me mine is better”) and mixes the beauty of young love with all of its pain (“Please take me dancing/please leave me stranded/it’s so romantic.”) Swift boils down the highs and lows of being a lost 20-something into poetic lines and shouts them through a megaphone. To add insult to injury, she chops and processes her vocals, yelping on the pre-chorus akin to a battle cry. Through the vessel of backbeats, tequila shots and flashing neon lights, Swift offers catharsis.

“New Romantics” serves as a shining beacon for those trying to figure out the world, wearing their hearts on their sleeves covered by a glitter mesh top. Swift reminds you of the importance of dancing through the pain and wearing your scars like a badge of honor (“Heartbreak is the national anthem/we sing it proudly.”) So the question you may be asking: Why didn’t she put this track on the main album? Why didn’t she make it the first single? In Swift fashion, she saves her best songs for you to find. For those who look hard enough, they’ll find the anthem to get them through the whirlwind that is self-discovery.