When Taylor Swift dropped 1989 a year and a half ago, I was kind of awestruck. I’d enjoyed a few songs of hers before, but now she was onto a whole new level. While the entire album isn’t perfect, the first half is a breathtaking run of near-perfect pop gems.
At the center lies Out of the Woods, a song that gripped me immediately and never let go. I tried to share it before, but her record label was way too good at getting streams taken down. However, just this week someone pointed out that she finally made a video for the song. So here it is in all its glorious, wolf-chasing, hot nonsense:
I’m guessing the aim was to capture that dystopian YA fiction vibe that Hunger Games, Divergent, and other series have been making bundles of cash with. It’s silly, it’s self-serious, and it makes no sense, but the song itself is a treasure of anthemic pop bombast.
From the very beginning, this tune felt like an M83 tune with Swift on guest vocals. Well over a year later, I’m even more confident in this take. Out of the Woods roars with an epic wash of shoegaze synthesizers and reverb-drenched percussion, building toward telegraphed crescendos that reach a little higher every time. It feels like, as much as M83 was incorporating old school pop tropes into his own music, Swift incorporated his digital drift into her own 80s pop opus. It just works, a burst of candy coated ecstasy.
It’s been a while since I heard it, so don’t be surprised if you see me driving my car, hand drumming on the wheel to this song for the next few days.