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New Romantics

Single | Bonus Track | 1989 (2014)

“New Romantics” is a bonus track and the seventh (and last) single from Taylor’s fifth studio album, 1989 (2014). It is a satirical song discussing how “new romantics” view love and life. It addresses the nonchalant and whimsical nature of the way young adults approach love.

Background and Release

Inspired by 1980s synth-pop, singer-songwriter Taylor moved away from the country-styled music of her previous releases to employ a straightforward pop production for her 1989. To this end, she enlisted prominent mainstream pop producers, including Swedish hitmakers Max Martin and Shellback; Taylor also recruited the former as co-executive producer. Martin and Shellback produced seven out of thirteen tracks on the album’s standard edition, and two out of three bonus tracks on the deluxe edition, including “New Romantics”.

“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, Taylor announced that she would release the three bonus tracks to iTunes Stores in the United States as promotional singles one at a time. “New Romantics” was released on March 3, 2015. Following this release, the song entered the US Billboard Hot 100 chart dated March 21, 2015, at No. 71. Almost a year later, on February 19, 2016, Taylor announced that “New Romantics” would be the seventh and final single from 1989.

Lyrical Theme

“New Romantics” was written by Taylor, Max Martin, & Shellback. The song’s title is a reference to the New Romantic cultural movement of the late 1970s and 1980s in which both men and women wore make-up and dressed in flamboyant clothes. Boy George, the androgynous frontman of Culture Club was typical of the genre. This song’s sound resembles the new wave music that the New Romantic acts performed. Lyrically, Taylor adopted a more mature mindset and approach towards love as she moved away from the fairytale romanticism of her first few albums to a more carefree outlook on matters of the heart. At the time, she explained her new attitude towards dating and relationships in an interview with Cosmopolitan:

«People will say, 'Let me set you up with someone', and I’m just sitting there saying, ‘That’s not what I’m doing. I’m not lonely. I’m not looking.’ They just don’t get it. I’ve learned that just because someone is cute and wants to date you, that’s not a reason to sacrifice your independence and allow everyone to say whatever they want about you. I’m not doing that anymore. It’d take someone really special for me to undergo the circumstances I have to go through to experience a date. I don’t know how I would ever have another person in my world trying to have a relationship with me, or a family.»

Taylor Swift
Taylor told Rolling Stone that she set out to make “blatant Pop music” for 1989 that was heavily influenced by the ’80s. “It was a very experimental time in Pop music,” Taylor said of the decade. “People realized songs didn’t have to be this standard drums-guitar-bass-whatever. We can make a song with synths and a drum pad. We can do group vocals the entire song. We can do so many different things. And I think what you saw happening with music was also happening in our culture, where people were just wearing whatever crazy colors they wanted to, because why not? There just seemed to be this energy about endless opportunities, endless possibilities, endless ways you could live your life. And so with this record, I thought, ‘There are no rules to this. I don’t need to use the same musicians I’ve used, or the same band, or the same producers, or the same formula. I can make whatever record I want.'”

Music Video

On April 6, 2016, Taylor released the music video for “New Romantics” exclusively on Apple Music, which required a paid subscription. The video consists of concert and behind-the-scenes footage during “The 1989 World Tour” in 2015, intertwined with Taylor’s voice-overs about her thoughts for her fans. She made the video available on her Vevo and YouTube accounts on April 13, 2016, without subscription requirements.

Live Performances

Taylor included “New Romantics” on the set list for “The 1989 World Tour“, which ran from May to November 2015. She also performed the song at the “Formula 1 United States Grand Prix” at the Circuit of the Americas on October 22, 2016, and at the DirecTVSuper Saturday Night“, as part of a series of pre-Super Bowl concerts, on February 4, 2017.

Critical Reception

Many critics lamented the song’s exclusion from 1989‘s standard edition and hailed the song’s energetic and lively atmosphere; some ranked “New Romantics” among the best songs of Taylor’s career. Upon the release of 1989, Corey Baesley from PopMatters deemed “New Romantics” and the other two deluxe edition bonus tracks more “compositionally daring” than any track on the standard edition. Slate‘s Carl Wilson called it “manifesto-toned”, and Pitchfork‘s Vrinda Jagota described the track as a “surging, euphoric” number that captures the essence of the album.

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.” In his 2019 ranking of Taylor’s songs, Sheffield ranked it the second best song of her career, labeling it as a “work of genius, exceeding even the wildest hopes any fan could have dreamed”. Rolling Stone also placed “New Romantics” at No. 58 among “The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s”. Critic Brittany Spanos described it as “the type of relieving dance floor soul purge that the best pop can be”. Retrospective reviews from The Guardian‘s Alexis Petridis, NME‘s Hannah Mylrae and Paste‘s Jane Song commented that the song should have made the final cut of 1989‘s standard edition.

Commercial Performance

Upon its single release, “New Romantics” debuted at No. 28 on the Mainstream Top 40/Pop Songs, a Billboard component chart, where it later peaked at No. 18. The song peaked at No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated April 30, 2016, and spent eight weeks on the chart. The single reached the top 40 on charts in Lebanon (18), Belgian Flanders (33), Australia (35), and Scotland (40). The song received a nomination for “Choice Song – Female Artist” at the 2016 Teen Choice Awards.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
We’re all bored, we’re all so tired of everything
We wait for trains that just aren’t coming
We show off our different scarlet letters
Trust me, mine is better
We’re so young but we’re on the road to ruin
We play dumb but we know exactly what we’re doing
We cry tears of mascara in the bathroom
Honey, life is just a classroom

[Chorus]
‘Cause, baby, I could build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me
And every day is like a battle but every night with us is like a dream
Baby, we’re the new romantics, come on, come along with me
Heart break is the national anthem, we sing it proudly
We are too busy dancing to get knocked off our feet
Baby, we’re the new romantics
The best people in life are free

[Verse 2]
We’re all here, the lights and noise are blinding
We hang back, it’s all in the timing
It’s poker, he can’t see it in my face but I’m about to play my Ace (Ah)
We need love, but all we want is danger
We team up then switch sides like a record changer
The rumors are terrible and cruel
But, honey, most of them are true

[Chorus]
‘Cause, baby, I could build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me
And every day is like a battle but every night with us is like a dream
Baby, we’re the new romantics, come on, come along with me
Heart break is the national anthem, we sing it proudly
We are too busy dancing to get knocked off our feet
Baby, we’re the new romantics
The best people in life are free

[Bridge]
So come on, come along with me
The best people in life are free
Please take my hand and
Please take me dancing and
Please leave me stranded
It’s so romantic

[Final Chorus]
‘Cause, baby, I could build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me
And every day is like a battle but every night with us is like a dream
‘Cause, baby, I could build a castle (Castle)
Out of all the bricks they threw at me
And every day is like a battle (Oh)
But every night with us is like a dream
Baby, we’re the new romantics, come on, come along with me
Heart break is the national anthem, we sing it proudly
We are too busy dancing to get knocked off our feet
Baby, we’re the new romantics
The best people in life are free

General Information
Album1989
ReleasedOctober 27, 2014
Recorded2014
StudioConway (Los Angeles)
MXM (Stockholm)
GenreSynth Pop
Length3:50
LabelBig Machine Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Max Martin
Shellback
ProducersMax Martin
Shellback
1989 CHRONOLOGY
You Are In LoveNew Romantics
Single Certification
Single Artwork
Instagram Teaser
Music Video
Live Performance
Official Audio