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Cornelia Street

Lover (2019)

“Cornelia Street” is one of Taylor’s favorite songs on her seventh studio album, Lover (2019). It focuses on the central role the Greenwich Village street played in her memories of her early relationship with her partner Joe Alwyn. She rented an apartment on Cornelia Street in 2016 and 2017 while her Tribeca apartment was being renovated.

Background and Release

Taylor released Lover on August 23, 2019, through Republic Records. It is the first album she owns the masters to. She has described the album as a “love letter to love itself.” It explores the “full spectrum of love”, inspired by the connections she felt with her fans during her “reputation Stadium Tour” (2018). The track list of Lover consists of 18 songs, of which three were solely written by Taylor: “Lover“, “Cornelia Street”, and “Daylight“. All three songs were produced by Taylor and Jack Antonoff.

Lyrical Theme

Taylor told her fans at the “City of Lover” concert in September 2019 that she wrote “Cornelia Street” alone in a bathtub. She also said that it is one of the most personal songs on Lover and “nearest to her heart”. Its lyrics depict Taylor’s pleading to never let her lover go, after having shared the ups and downs during the course of their relationship. She told the Elvis Duran Show in 2019:

«It’s about the things that took place, the memories that were made on that street. I rented an apartment there and just wanted to write a song about all the nostalgia of, you know, sometimes in our lives we kind of bond our memories to those places where those memories happened. It’s just something we do if we romantisize life, which I tend to do. And so, I wrote this song about going back over the memories of things that happened in this particular place, and it ended up being one of my favorite songs. I wrote this one alone.»

Taylor Swift

Live Performance

Taylor first performed the song at the “City of Lover” one-day concert at the Olympia on September 9, 2019, in Paris, France. She performed an excellent, stripped-down version of “Cornelia Street”, backing herself on an acoustic guitar. The concert was filmed and later aired as a TV special on American Broadcasting Company (ABC) on May 17, 2020. The performance of “Cornelia Street” was released for digital download the following day, on May 18, 2020.

Critical Reception

In publications’ reviews of Lover, critics praised “Cornelia Street” for showcasing Taylor’s songwriting abilities, and some picked it as an album highlight. Ben Rayner of The Toronto Star felt that the song exemplified Taylor’s “real-girl relatability” that shaped her public image and artistry. Vogue‘s Jenna Adrian-Diaz observed that the song reflected Taylor’s personal life at the time, as she was no longer associated with on-and-off relationships that served as an inspiration for her songwriting, but instead retreated her love life from the public eye. Anna Gaca from Pitchfork lauded the song for offering a contemplative moment: “a lovely, understated tribute to memory and nostalgia with the power to make one rarefied block of Manhattan feel universal”.

Commercial Performance

Upon the release of Lover, during the week ending September 7, 2019, “Cornelia Street” peaked at No. 57 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also entered the charts in Australia, Canada, and the UK.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
We were in the backseat
Drunk on something stronger than the drinks in the bar
“I rent a place on Cornelia Street”
I say casually in the car
We were a fresh page on the desk
Filling in the blanks as we go
As if the street lights pointed in an arrow head
Leading us home

[Chorus]
And I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again
That’s the kinda heartbreak time could never mend
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again
And baby, I get mystified by how this city screams your name
And baby, I’m so terrified of if you ever walk away
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again

[Verse 2]
Windows flung right open, autumn air
Jacket ’round my shoulders is yours
We bless the rains on Cornelia Street
Memorize the creaks in the floor
Back when we were card sharks, playing games
I thought you were leading me on
I packed my bags, left Cornelia Street
Before you even knew I was gone

[Pre-chorus]
But then you called, showed your hand
I turned around before I hit the tunnel
Sat on the roof, you and I

[Chorus]
I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again
That’s the kinda heartbreak time could never mend
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again
And baby, I get mystified by how this city screams your name
And baby, I’m so terrified of if you ever walk away
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again

[Bridge]
You hold my hand on the street
Walk me back to that apartment
Years ago, we were just inside
Barefoot in the kitchen
Sacred new beginnings
That became my religion, listen

[Chorus]
I hope I never lose you
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again
Oh, never again
And baby, I get mystified by how this city screams your name
And baby, I’m so terrified of if you ever walk away
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again

[Post-chorus]
I don’t wanna lose you (Hope it never ends)
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again
I don’t wanna lose you (Yeah)

[Outro]
“I rent a place on Cornelia Street”
I say casually in the car

General Information
AlbumLover
ReleasedAugust 23, 2019
RecordedNovember 2018 – February 2019
StudioElectric Lady (New York City)
GenreSynth Pop
Electro Pop
Length4:47
LabelRepublic Records
SongwriterTaylor Swift
ProducersJack Antonoff
Taylor Swift
LOVER CHRONOLOGY
Paper RingsCornelia StreetDeath By A Thousand Cuts
Single Certification
Song Artwork
Cornelia Street Apartment
Live Performance
Official Audio
Official Live Audio