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Taylor Swift Talks Next Album, Shares Songwriting Secrets

Taylor Swift
Isaac Brekken, Getty Images

Taylor Swift plays coy when asked who her songs are about, but she’s proven more than happy to talk about how she writes her often vengeful love stories. In a recent YouTube interview, the singer-songwriter gives candid answers to how a song begins, where she goes for the perfect metaphor and when fans can expect to hear new music. 

The idea for most songs that Swift writes begins with a personal conversation or happening. Typically, it’s a recent event that’s still lingering with her emotionally. “It’s very hard for me to come up with just some random metaphor for a situation if I’m not going through it or recently have just gone through it,” Swift says in the video below. She adds that her mother is the queen of metaphors, and she’s been a good student in her 21 years. A fan asked asks what comes first, the melody or lyrics. Swift, looking elegant in a black-and-white polka dot sun dress and her long hair pulled back, says, “Neither.”

“For me it more comes as a general idea,” she explains “My favorite thing about songwriting is it’s so spontaneous and unpredictable what’s gonna hit me first. Whether it’s gonna be a general thought, like for example … when I wrote the song ‘Love Story,’ that’s a song I wrote sitting on my bedroom floor because I liked a guy and my parents didn’t want me to date him.”

Swift begins writing new songs as soon as the last album is finished, which means she already has dozens of ideas for her next album. Typically, she’ll trim 40 or 50 songs down to the 12 or 15 that provide the most “ooo, ooo” moments. That’s the sound she makes when she or a co-writer finds the perfect line to describe how she’s feeling.

“I have to have about four or five of those lines in a song to put it on a record,” Swift says after acting out the “ooo, ooo, ooos” to the live audience’s delight. It generally takes about two or three years of life events before Swift feels she’s experienced enough to put out a new album. That means fans can expect new music late in 2012 at the earliest.

“I never really talk about my personal life but I write about it, so that’s basically what the album is about as always,” she teases.

Watch the Full Taylor Swift interview

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