swift

Taylor Swift’s lyrics are secretly all about Chapel Hill and Carrboro

Here at TBB we’re thinking about town politics all the time, even when we’re listening to Midnights for the millionth time while contemplating the latest batshit NextDoor thread. And we can’t 🎵 shake it off 🎵 – we’re fairly certain Taylor is singing, over and over again, about what’s happening right here in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Take, for instance, Treacherous.

🎵 This slope is treacherous

This path is reckless

This slope is treacherous

And I, I, I like it 🎵

You say this song is about Jake Gyllenhaal, we say it’s Swift’s ode to the Bolin Creek Trail in Carrboro.

Or think about what she’s really saying on Tolerate It:

🎵 I wait by the door like I’m just a kid

Use my best colors for your portrait

Lay the table with the fancy shit

And watch you tolerate it 🎵

We’ve listened to enough Community Design Commission meetings to know what that one’s about.

Back to Midnights (3am Edition)

🎵 What if I told you I’m a mastermind?

And now you’re mine

It was all by design

‘Cause I’m a mastermind 🎵

You know the 17 different “friends of” organizations you signed up for? We used AI software to generate lyrics based on the content of their websites and emails – turns out it’s just one person behind all of them! (Related: It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.)

Or the ongoing squabble about the American Legion land, and what it should be called – and what should go on it:

🎵 They’ll tell you I’m insane

But I’ve got a blank space, baby

And I’ll write your name 🎵

Then again, sometimes Taylor goes deep — into the not-too-distant past:

🎵 We are never, ever, ever getting back together

We are never, ever, ever getting back together

You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me

But we are never, ever, ever, ever getting back together

Like, ever 🎵

“There are definitely moments when it’s like this cloud of an idea comes and just lands in front of your face, and you reach up and grab it,” Taylor told Harper’s Bazaar. And we’re pretty sure that the idea for Never Ever Getting Back Together came from following the Durham-Orange Light Rail project, may it rest in peace.

Speaking of “mystical, magical moments, inexplicable moments when an idea that is fully formed just pops into your head,” Death by a Thousand Cuts is likely about the Chapel Hill development review process and we know that Taylor wrote this one after reading the town inbox:

🎵 And I ain’t trying to mess with your self-expression

But I’ve learned the lesson that stressin’

And obsessin’ ’bout somebody else is no fun

And snakes and stones never broke my bones so

So, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh

You need to calm down

You’re being too loud

And I’m just like oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh (oh)

You need to just stop

Like, can you just not step on my gown?

You need to calm down 🎵

TayTay was definitely referencing the feelings of local developers after presenting their development to Town Council for a Conditional Zoning review:

🎵 And maybe we got lost in translation

Maybe I asked for too much

But maybe this thing was a masterpiece ’til you tore it all up

Running scared, I was there

I remember it all too well 🎵

And we heard through a friend of a friend of a friend of an alliance of neighbors that Taylor wrote this after contemplating a very late council meeting:

🎵 I stay out too late

Got nothin’ in my brain

That’s what people say, mmm-mmm

That’s what people say, mmm-mmm 🎵

And though Chapel Hill doesn’t have a “Cornelia Street” or any properties owned by “heirs to the Standard Oil name,” Taylor could probably find a Folklore/Evermore-worthy cottage in the historic district that would suit her (though good luck making any changes!)