Nothing New

Album: Red (Taylor's Version) (2021)
Charted: 43
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  • This alternative-rock duet finds Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers trading rhetorical questions and wresting with change.
  • In the first verse, Swift criticizes the sexism young female pop stars often experience in the music industry.

    They tell you while you're young
    "Girls, go out and have your fun"
    Then they hunt and slay the ones who actually do it

    During the chorus, Swift questions why life seems more complicated at 22 than during her innocent teenage years.

    How can a person know everything at 18
    But nothing at 22?
    And will you still want me when I'm nothing new?

    Bridgers' verse finds her also worrying about becoming a has-been once she loses her novelty.

    How long will it be cute, all this crying in my room?
    When you can't blame it on my youth

    During the bridge, the two artists ruminate on meeting a young starlet who has replaced them in the spotlight.

    She'll know the way and then she'll say she got the map from me
    I'll say I'm happy for her then I'll cry myself to sleep
  • In the journals released alongside her 2019 album Lover, Swift explained that "Nothing New" is about "being scared of aging and things changing and losing what you have."
  • Swift originally wrote "Nothing New" in 2012 for Red. She'd just learned to play the Appalachian dulcimer because that's what her hero Joni Mitchell played on Blue. Swift penned this song on a flight from Sydney to Perth using the instrument, inspired by Mitchell's "A Case Of You."
  • The song didn't make the cut on the original version of Red, but Swift re-recorded it for Red (Taylor's Version). The record is part of a sweeping effort to regain control of the master tapes of her first six albums following their controversial sale.
  • Upon revisiting the song, Swift immediately thought of Bridgers. "I really wanted another female artist who I loved to do it with me because I think it has a very female-artist perspective," she told Seth Meyers.

    When Swift texted Bridgers asking her to sing on the song, the Californian artist responded: "I've been waiting for this text my entire life."
  • Swift tapped her Folklore and Evermore collaborator Aaron Dessner to help her produce the track. He recruited Yuki Numata Resnick to play the violin and Clarice Jensen the cello.
  • When Phoebe Bridgers received a text from Swift inviting her to collaborate on a song called "Nothing New," she blacked out. "We'd never met or interacted in any way, so to be asked as our first interaction was crazy," Bridgers recalled to The Guardian.
  • Swift described the song to Bridgers as about her "very first brush with the fear of aging, irrelevance, and replacement."

    "How young women are taught by society that our youth is a rapidly depleting commodity," she continued.

    The superstar singer added that Phoebe's interpretation of it was "profound and insightful - she was talking about how not only do older men and culture fetishes a girl's youth, but we in turn begin to internalize that ideology and genuinely believe it about ourselves."


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