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Dancing With Our Hands Tied

reputation (2017)

“Dancing With Our Hands Tied” is the eleventh track on Taylor’s sixth studio album, reputation (2017). It is a song about the combination of love and fear and how those emotions coincide with each other.

Background

Taylor released her fifth studio album, 1989, in October 2014. Its synth-pop production transformed her sound and image from country-oriented to mainstream pop. The album was a massive commercial success, selling over five million copies in the U.S. within one year, and spawning three Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 singles. The BBC asserted that the success of 1989 solidified Taylor’s status as a global pop star.

In 2016, when Taylor was at the peak of overexposure, some of her rivals in the industry (including Scooter Braun, Kanye West and Justin Bieber) succeded in launching a worldwide hate campaign against her. As a result, Taylor disappeared from public view for an entire year and thought about quitting music for good. She became increasingly reticent on social media, having previously maintained an active presence with a large following, and avoided interactions with the press. She conceived her sixth studio album, reputation, as an answer to the media commotion surrounding her celebrity.

Lyrical Theme and Production

When in the studio to record the song, Taylor cried for an hour before she was able to put down her vocals, which she says had never happened to her before. A fan on Tumblr who attended the “reputation Secret Sessions” explained the story behind the song.

«Taylor set 'Dancing With Our Hands Tied' up by saying that the inspiration for the song came when she was back in LA after spending several months out of the public eye. As we know now, she spent basically all of this time in the UK with [boyfriend] Joe Alwyn, without anyone knowing she even was in a relationship. Back in LA […] she went to the gym only to be caught by paparazzi on her way out. They shouted all kinds of things at her, including comments about her weight – remember this was the first time she had been properly seen in months. She described being really overwhelmed by the experience but that her thought process was less about herself and more about how she could possibly have a normal relationship when this was her life. Taylor actually said that after the incident she went straight to the recording studio, cried, and wrote this song.»

A fan on Tumblr

The song shows a different side of Taylor’s sound not present in much of her previous music. It has house music vibes and heavy beat drops. In the last chorus of the song Taylor also hits notes in vocal ranges she has not hit in the previous history of her music career; the notes F5 and G5.

“Dancing With Our Hands Tied” is Taylor’s brother Austin Swift‘s favourite track off of reputation. On the 2018 “reputation Stadium Tour“, Taylor regularly performed the song with an acoustic guitar.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
I, I loved you in secret
First sight, yeah, we love without reason
Oh, twenty-five years old
Oh, how were you to know? And
My, my love had been frozen
Deep blue, but you painted me golden
Oh, and you held me close
Oh, how was I to know? I–

[Pre-chorus 1]
Could’ve spent forever with your hands in my pockets
Picture of your face in an invisible locket
You said there was nothing in the world that could stop it
I had a bad feeling
And darling, you had turned my bed into a sacred oasis
People started talking, putting us through our paces
I knew there was no one in the world who could take it
I had a bad feeling

[Chorus]
But we were dancing
Dancing with our hands tied, hands tied
Yeah, we were dancing
Like it was the first time, first time
Yeah, we were dancing
Dancing with our hands tied, hands tied
Yeah, we were dancing
And I had a bad feeling
But we were dancing

[Verse 2]
I, I loved you in spite of
Deep fears that the world would divide us
So, baby, can we dance
Oh, through an avalanche? And
Say, say that we got it
I’m a mess, but I’m the mess that you wanted
Oh, ’cause it’s gravity
Oh, keeping you with me, I–

[Pre-chorus 2]
Could’ve spent forever with your hands in my pockets
Picture of your face in an invisible locket
You said there was nothing in the world that could stop it
I had a bad feeling

[Chorus]
But we were dancing
Dancing with our hands tied, hands tied
Yeah, we were dancing
Like it was the first time, first time
Yeah, we were dancing
Dancing with our hands tied, hands tied
Yeah, we were dancing (Knew we had our hands tied)
And I had a bad feeling
But we were dancing

[Bridge]
I’d kiss you as the lights went out
Swaying as the room burned down
I’d hold you as the water rushes in
If I could dance with you again
I’d kiss you as the lights went out
Swaying as the room burned down
I’d hold you as the water rushes in
If I could dance with you again (Again)

[Chorus]
Dancing with our hands tied, hands tied
Yeah, we were dancing
Like it was the first time, first time (First time, first time)
Yeah, we were dancing (Oh)
Dancing with our hands tied, hands tied (Dancing with our hands tied)
Yeah, we were dancing (Oh)
And I had a bad feeling (I had a bad feeling)
But we were dancing

[Outro]
(Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh)
Hands tied, hands tied (Dancing)

General Information
Albumreputation
ReleasedNovember 10, 2017
RecordedJanuary 11, 2017
StudioConway (Los Angeles)
GenreDance Pop
Length3:31
LabelBig Machine Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Max Martin
Shellback
Oscar Holter
ProducersMax Martin
Shellback
Oscar Holter
REPUTATION CHRONOLOGY
King of My HeartDancing With Our Hands TiedDress
Song Certification
Handwritten Lyrics
Live Performance
Official Audio