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I Wish You Would

1989 (2014)

“I Wish You Would” is the seventh song on Taylor’s fifth studio album, 1989 (2014). It was inspired by John Hughes’ movies (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink) and captures the moment when the one person you want to show up for you more than anything in the world, shows up at the perfect time – at 2am.

Background

Inspired by 1980s synth-pop, Taylor decided to move away from the signature country styles of her previous releases and incorporate a straightforward pop production for 1989. The recording process began in mid-2013 concurrently with the start of Taylor’s headlining “The RED Tour” in support of her fourth studio album, RED (2012). To ensure a smooth transition to pop, she enlisted new collaborators including Jack Antonoff, who produced two songs for the album’s standard edition, and one bonus track for the deluxe edition (“You Are In Love“). Antonoff had previously worked with Taylor on the song “Sweeter than Fiction“, a 1980s new wave-influenced song recorded by Taylor for the soundtrack of One Chance (2013).

Lyrical Theme

Taylor wrote 1989 when she was single and didn’t have “much intense drama going on” in her life. She was living for her friends, enjoyed being in New York City and “everything was exciting”. To access feelings of conflict again she would put herself into other people’s perspectives, she told GQ in 2015. She would watch John Hughes’ movies and would think, “OK, pause, freeze frame: What’s he thinking in this moment? What’s she thinking in this moment?'” Those films helped her define her ideas of what love and romance should be. She further elaborated:

«'I Wish You Would’ is a song that I wrote with Jack Antonoff and it was the first song we ever worked on together. I think, for this song, we wanted to create a sort of John Hughes movie visual with pining and, you know, one person’s over here and misses the other person but is too prideful and won’t say it. Meanwhile this other person is here and missing the same person; they’re missing each other but not saying it. And I had this happen in my life and so I wanted to kind of narrate it in a very cinematic way where it’s like you’re seeing two scenes play out and then in the bridge you’re seeing the final scene, where it resolves itself. So it says, 'It’s a crooked love in a straight line down, makes you wanna run and hide but it makes you turn right back around.’ It kind of is like that dramatic love that’s never really quite where it needs to be and that tension that that creates.»

Taylor Swift
Taylor reportedly told fans who attended the “1989 Secret Sessions” the real story that inspired “I Wish You Would”. One fan shared the following story on Tumblr: “Taylor said that she wrote [‘I Wish You Would’] a couple of months after her and Harry [Styles] broke up, and they decided to become friends again and she said this was the first time she had become friends with an ex, to the point where they were comfortable enough to talk about why the relationship didn’t work out. She said he told her about how, after they broke up, he bought a house literally one road adjacent to hers. Every day he would drive home, and accidentally turn into her street, and he told her how he just wanted to stop at her house and see her, but he never did. She said this song is about while he was in the car making the decision to get out the car and see her, she was sitting in her bedroom, wishing he would make the move and go back to her and just pitch up at her house. She compared it to a classic John Hughes movie where both parties want the same thing but neither has the guts to say anything. Honestly, she spoke so fondly of that relationship.”

Writing to Track

Taylor wrote “I Wish You Would” with Jack Antonoff. The very beginnings of the song trace back to around 2012 when Jack created the beat to it at his parent’s house in New Jersey. Like she did with “Out of the Woods“, Taylor wrote to the lyrics track, which she described on the voice memo included on the deluxe edition of the 1989 album:

«This is another way I’ve written songs recently. This is a song I did with Jack Antonoff, and Jack is one of my friends and so were hanging out and he pulled out his phone and goes ‘I made this amazing track the other day. It’s so cool, I love these guitar sounds.’ And he played it for me and immediately I could hear this finished song in my head, and I just said ‘Please, please let me have that. Let me play with is, send it to me.’ And so he sent it to me and I was on tour and this was me playing the track on my laptop recording me singing the vocal into my phone and it ended up being a song called 'I Wish You Would', because Jack wrote back and said ‘I love that’. So this is another way of writing, it’s writing to track.»

Taylor Swift

Live Performances

“I Wish You Would” was part of Taylor’s setlist for “The 1989 World Tour” (2015). It is therefore featured in the concert movie The 1989 World Tour Live (2015).

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
It’s 2 AM in your car
Windows down, you pass my street, the memories start
You say it’s in the past, you drive straight ahead
You’re thinking that I hate you now
‘Cause you still don’t know what I never said

[Chorus 1]
I wish you would come back
Wish I never hung up the phone like I did
And I wish you knew that I’ll never forget you as long as I live
And I wish you were right here, right now, it’s all good
I wish you would

[Verse 2]
It’s 2 AM in my room
Headlights pass the window pane, I think of you
We’re a crooked love in a straight line down
Makes you wanna run and hide
Then it makes you turn right back around

[Chorus 2]
I wish you would come back
Wish I never hung up the phone like I did
I wish you knew that I’ll never forget you as long as I live
And I wish you were right here, right now, it’s all good
I wish you would
I wish we could go back
And remember what we were fighting for
And I wish you knew that I miss you too much to be mad anymore
And I wish you were right here, right now, it’s all good
I wish you would
I, I, I, I, I, I wish, I wish
I, I, I, I, I, I wish, I wish
I, I, I, I, I, I wish, I wish

[Bridge]
You always knew how to push my buttons
You give me everything and nothing
This mad, mad love makes you come running
To stand back where you stood
I wish you would, I wish you would
I wish you would, I wish you would

[Verse 3]
2 AM, here we are
See your face, hear my voice in the dark
We’re a crooked love in a straight line down
Makes you wanna run and hide
But it made us turn right back around

[Chorus 1]
I wish you would come back
Wish I never hung up the phone like I did
I wish you knew that I’ll never forget you as long as I live
And I wish you were right here, right now, it’s all good
I wish you would

[Chorus 2]
I wish you would come back
Wish I never hung up the phone like I did
And I wish you knew that I’ll never forget you as long as I live
And I wish you were right here, right now, it’s all good
I wish you would
I wish we could go back
And remember what we were fighting for
And I wish you knew that I miss you too much to be mad anymore
And I wish you were right here, right now, it’s all good
I wish you would

[Repeat Bridge]
You always knew how to push my buttons
You give me everything and nothing
This mad mad love makes you come running
To stand back where you stood
I wish you would, I wish you would
I wish you would, I wish you would

[Outro]
I, I, I, I, I, I wish, I wish
I, I, I, I, I, I wish, I wish
I, I, I, I, I, I wish, I wish you would

General Information
Album1989
ReleasedOctober 27, 2014
Recorded2013
StudioLamby’s House (NYC)
Conway (Los Angeles)
GenreSynth Pop
Electro Pop
Length3:27
LabelBig Machine Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Jack Antonoff
ProducersJack Antonoff
Taylor Swift
Greg Kurstin
Max Martin
1989 CHRONOLOGY
Shake It OffI Wish You WouldBad Blood
Hidden Message
He drove past her street every night
Song Artwork
Instagram Teaser
Live Performance
Official Audio
Official Voice Memo