Mad Woman

Album: Folklore (2020)
Charted: 47

Songfacts®:

  • Here, Taylor Swift fires off vitriol at those who have vilified and maligned her. She starts off by asking why people are so surprised when she stands up for herself.

    What did you think I'd say to that?
    Does a scorpion sting when fighting back?
    They strike to kill, and you know I will


    Swift goes onto speak about the double standards where an angry woman is considered crazy and overemotional, but an angry man isn't. People should be pointing their fingers at the haters who have provoked her.

    No one likes a mad woman
    What a shame she went mad
    You made her like that
  • Swift has had to defend herself since her early days when she got criticized for writing scathing songs about her exes. Later, the pop princess endured public condemnation following her feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian over the rapper's "Famous" lyrics. In this instance, Swift's anger is likely over her former label boss, Scott Borchetta, selling her masters to music manager Scooter Braun.

    Doing your dirtiest work for you
    It's obvious that wanting me dead
    Has really brought you two together


    Swift has publicly lashed out against Borchetta and Braun for losing the rights to the songs on her first six albums. She suspects this drew the two men closer together.
  • Swift connects her own personal anger to the story of eccentric heiress Rebekah Harkness, whom Swift based the Folklore track "The Last Great American Dynasty" on. Harkness was vilified for the way she lived her life and was seen as a "mad woman." Swift herself describes this tune as being about a "misfit widow getting gleeful revenge on the town that cast her out."
  • The National multi-instrumentalist Aaron Dessner wrote the music – one of 11 Folklore songs he contributed towards. He penned this one shortly after the first three he did for the album: "Cardigan," "Seven," and "Peace."

    Dessner told Rolling Stone that in terms of sound, this song runs parallel to "Cardigan" and "Seven." He explained: "I do have a way of playing piano where it's very melodic and emotional, but then often it's great if whoever's singing doesn't sing exactly what's in the piano melody, but maybe it's connected in some way. There was just some chemistry happening with her and how she was relating to those ideas."
  • Dessner considers this to be Folklore's "goth song." He explained to Vulture: "It has a darkness that I think is cathartic, sort of witch-hunting and gaslighting and maybe bullying. Sometimes you become the person people try to pin you into a corner to be, which is not really fair."

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