Taylor Swift’s new track, Welcome to New York (track 1 on her upcoming album 1989), celebrates — in blindly manic fashion — the very goofy notion of New York as a place where dreamers come, rough it for a while, and eventually fulfill their dreams. It reeks of that Empire State of Mind which was MAYBE still valid when Alicia Keys sang of the “Concrete jungle where dreams are made, ooh.” Were Swift a little more attuned to the times, perhaps it’d be more apt, if perhaps slightly less romantic, to have written it about a place where people with dreams can actually thrive — Welcome to Pittsburgh, for example.
But in case you’re a New Yorker, and don’t have a particularly solid sense of identity as such, TaySwi lays it out for you. According to her song, “everybody here wanted something more/searching for a sound they hadn’t heard before,” suggesting we all gave up our provincial little lives for… what sound, exactly? A feline-AIDS plagued feral cat battling a rat king in the front yard trash heap? The sound of a wrecking ball crashing into a beautiful old factory while a developer chuckles from his toilet in the sky, atop which he’s getting a blumpkin? We were also “someone else before,” she continues, suggesting we’re all… liars? Of course, she simply must conclude by personifying the city, saying that, “like any great love, it keeps you guessing.” And that, I suppose, is true. Is that a bedbug on my pillow? Please just let it be a very constipated mouse’s turd. Welcome to New York.