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I Know Places

1989 (2014) | 1989 (Taylor's Version) [2023]

“I Know Places” is track twelve on Taylor’s fifth studio album, 1989 (2014). Co-written by Taylor and Ryan Tedder, it is a song about the difficulty of a high-profile couple finding privacy from paparazzi and the tabloid media. The re-recording of the song, “I Know Places (Taylor’s Version)” was released on 1989 (Taylor’s Version) in 2023.
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Background

Inspired by 1980s synth-pop with synthesizers, drum pads, and overlapped vocals, Taylor decided to move away from the signature country styles of her previous releases and incorporate straightforward pop production for 1989. The recording process began in mid-2013 concurrently with the start of Taylor’s “The RED Tour” in support of her fourth studio album, RED (2012). Taylor actively sought to collaborate with new producers, including Ryan Tedder. Tedder was contacted by Taylor via a Voice Memo, and produced two tracks for 1989: “Welcome to New York” and “I Know Places“. He has shared his admiration for Taylor and her worth ethic multiple times, telling a media outlet in February 2014:

«I did a little stuff with Taylor, who’s probably the fastest songwriter I ever met in my life. I can go on record saying that Taylor is genuinely the quickest songwriter I’ve ever met. For anyone who doubts it, she writes her own stuff. Any idea and you’re like, 'Yeah I don’t know if I like that lyric', and she’ll have three options, replaced within ten seconds, she’s like bam bam bam. She’s a bit of a songwriting prodigy.»

Taylor and Ryan recorded “I Know Places” on January 22, 2014, at Conway Studios in Los Angeles, as confirmed by a polaroid Taylor shared of the session on social media.

Lyrical Theme

In the voice memo released on the deluxe edition of the 1989 album, Taylor said she began writing “I Know Places” on piano. She later finished the song with producer Ryan Tedder. It uses the metaphor of a fox hunt, where the animals’ only chance of escaping the dogs, horses and guns lies in their cunning and ability to hide. At a private Grammy Pro session in October 2015, Taylor further explained her inspiration behind the song:

«I had this idea of like, you know, when you’re in love – along the lines of 'Out of the Woods’ – it’s very precious, it’s fragile. As soon as the world gets ahold of it, whether it’s your friends or people around town hear about it … it’s kind of like the first thing people want to do when they hear that people are in love is just kind of try to ruin it […] I kind of was in a place where I was like, ‘No one is gonna sign up for this. There are just too many cameras pointed at me. There are too many ridiculous elaborations on my life. It’s just not ever gonna work.‘ But I decided to write a love song, just kind of like, ‘What would I say if I met someone really awesome and they were like, hey, I’m worried about all this attention you get?’ So I wrote this song called ‘I Know Places’ about, ‘Hey, I know places we can hide. We could outrun them.’ I’m so happy that it sounds like the urgency that it sings.»

She then went on to explain that when she met Ryan a few weeks later in a studio he was already working on the track. Taylor’s goal was to make the song sound like it could be in a spy movie, with a soaring chorus. Ryan also provides background vocals on the song, which he recorded on his tourbus when he was in Switzerland.

Live Performances

“I Know Places” was part of Taylor’s setlist for “The 1989 World Tour” (2015), where she performed the song with an extended bridge. It is featured in the concert movie The 1989 World Tour Live (2015). A few years later, she sang the song acoustically in Tokyo on November 20, 2018, while on her “reputation Stadium Tour” (2018). In 2023, she chose “I Know Places” as the first surprise song on August 8 for one of her “The Eras Tour” (2023-2024) shows in Los Angeles. She sang the song acoustically on guitar.

Taylor's Version

In 2023, Ryan Tedder and Noel Zancanella returned to the 1989 project by co-producing both “I Know Places (Taylor’s Version)” and “Welcome to New York (Taylor’s Version)” with Taylor. On release day, Ryan posted on Instagram:

«1989. Out now. So proud and honored to be a part of this album. Will never forget it. Taylor – you're so good it's crazy. Thank you.»

Lyrics

[Intro: Recorder click]
I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I-I
I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I-I
I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I-I (I, I, I, I)

[Verse 1]
You stand with your hand on my waistline
It’s a scene and we’re out here in plain sight
I can hear them whisper as we pass by
Bad sign…
Something happens when everybody finds out
See the vultures circling, dark clouds
Love’s a fragile little flame
It could burn out, it could burn out

[Pre-chorus 1]
They got the cages, they got the boxes, and guns
They are the hunters, we are the foxes
And we run

[Chorus]
Baby
I know places we won’t be found and
They’ll be
Chasing their tails
Trying to track us down
And I know places we can hide
I know places… (I know places)

[Verse 2]
Lights flash
And we’ll run for the fences
Let them say what they want
We can’t hear it
Loose lips sink ships all the damn time, not this time

[Pre-chorus 2]
Just grab my hand
And don’t ever drop it
My love
They are the hunters, we are the foxes, and we run

[Chorus]
Baby
I know places we won’t be found
They’ll be chasing their tails
Trying to track us down
And I know places we can hide
I know places

[Bridge]
They are the hunters, we are the foxes
We run
Just grab my hand
And don’t ever drop it
My love

[Chorus Variation]
Baby
I know places we won’t be found
They’ll be chasing their tails
Trying to track us down
And I know places we can hide
I know places

[Outro]
They take their shots but we’re bulletproof (I know places)
You know for me, it’s always you… (I know places)
In the dead of night, your eyes so green (I know places)
I know for you, it’s always me… (I know places)
I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I-I
I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I-I

[Recorder click]

General Information
ArtistTaylor Swift
Albums1989
1989 (Taylor’s Version)
ReleasedOctober 27, 2014
Re-ReleasedOctober 27, 2023
WrittenJanuary 22, 2014
StudioConway (Los Angeles)
GenreElectro Pop
Length3:16
LabelsBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Ryan Tedder
ProducersRyan Tedder
Noel Zancanella
Taylor Swift
1989 CHRONOLOGY
This LoveI Know PlacesClean
Single Certification
Hidden Message
And everyone was watching
Song Artwork
Journal Entry
Instagram Teaser
Polaroid
Live Performance
Lyric Video
Taylor's Version
Original Audio
Voice Memo