Delicate

Album: Reputation (2017)
Charted: 45 12

Songfacts®:

  • "Delicate" finds Taylor Swift taking a hesitant approach to a budding romance during a rocky time in her life. She worries the intense media scrutiny will scare off her potential new beau, but this is not the case and he seems to be falling for her in return.

    This ain't for the best
    My reputation's never been worse, so
    You must like me for me
  • Some fans and reviewers have concluded that the subject of the song is Tom Hiddleston, with whom Taylor first hooked up with before breaking up with Calvin Harris.

    Others have speculated that the Pop Princess is talking about the start of her relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn, at a time when her public image had taken a battering over her feud against Kanye West and Kim Kardashian over the rapper's "Famous" lyrics and a beef with Calvin Harris following their split.

    It is likely that Taylor is singing about the same lover as on "Gorgeous". Both tunes reference her beau's blue eyes and significantly Joe's eyes are a bright shade of blue.
  • Speaking at the iHeartRadio reputation release party, Taylor had this to say about the track:

    "This is a song where the idea of reputation is definitely something that I play on for the entire album but when the album started off it's much more bombastic. 'I don't care what you say about me! I don't care say about my reputation. Blah.' But, like, then it hits this point on Track 5 where it's like what happens when you meet someone who you really want in your life and then you start worrying about what they've heard before they met you? You start to wonder like, 'Could something fake, like your reputation, affect something real like someone getting to know you?' You start to wonder how it all matters. This is the first point of vulnerability in the record where you're like, 'Oh, maybe this does actually matter a little bit,' and questioning the reality and the perception of a reputation and how much weight it actually has. So this is called 'Delicate.'"
  • Max Martin and Shellback's production utilizes melancholic voice harmonies backed by a simple instrumental. Taylor said:

    "There is an effect that you may hear on the vocals throughout the rest of the album that is recurring and it's a vocoder. It's a vocal effect where you sing and the vocoder splits your voice into chords and you can play your voice on a keyboard in chords. So if you're singing the notes of a piano you can play your own voice. That's what you'll hear in the beginning of this song and then you'll hear it several times – we tried it in the studio and I thought it sounded really emotional and really vulnerable and really sad but beautiful."
  • Taylor Swift's eighth music video with longtime collaborator Joseph Kahn finds her stifled as she interacts with crazed fans and the press. Suddenly, the songstress discovers that she is invisible and she proceeds to dance barefoot through the city knowing no one is watching her goofy moves. The clip is a satire and symbolic of Taylor feeling she has to behave in a certain way because of her reputation and fame. Once she is free from the public gaze the star can be herself.
  • Fans have pointed out on social media similarities between Swift's video and a Spike Jonze-directed ad for the Kenzo World fragrance, which first aired in 2016. Twitter users pointed out that the setting, dance moves, and facial expressions are extremely similar.

    Incidentally, the Kenzo ad itself may well have inspired by Spike Jones' 2001 video for Fatboy Slim's "Weapon Of Choice."
  • The "Lipstick Lady" who stands inside an elevator with Swift and applies lipstick is Junko Cheng. It was the 57-year-old mother's first acting role. "I'm only 5-foot-3 and Taylor is way taller [5-foot-10], so they had to put me on a metal box to make us the same height even though I was in heels and Taylor was barefoot," Cheng recalled to Billboard. "By the time I got done with the scene, I had about 10 layers of lipstick."

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