100 songs of the decade: Out Of The Woods – Taylor Swift

 100 songs of the decade: Out Of The Woods – Taylor Swift

Written by: Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff
Produced by: Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff
Album: 1989
UK release: October 2014
UK chart peak: 136

I was on my way to work one morning when I first heard this song. In fact I’ll tell you where I was specifically! I was on the platform of Shoreditch High Street station! And it really made me TAKE PAUSE, you know? This – the first “promotional single” from 1989, released a few weeks after the divisive Shake It Off – was the first taste we got of Taylor Swift hitting her full synthpop potential. And CHRIST it’s good.

Despite lyrics that hone-in on specific detail (“Remember when you hit the brakes too soon, twenty stitches in a hospital room”), Out Of The Woods feels universal. It’s that horrible, anxiety-ridden feeling of not knowing if a relationship is coming or going; and thanks to a perfect combination of honest songwriting and chaotic, bombastic production, it’s veeeeery affecting.

What’s more, I really think this song provides one of the best ever examples of smart repetition in pop. The layered chanting of the chorus is what really delivers the angsty gut-punch; and although the almighty finale is only really made up of a handful of different words, it is a devastatingly perfect minute of pop music.

Plus, if this is what paved the way for Getaway Car and Cruel Summer further down the line, truly it must be hailed as a masterpiece.

  • I’ll be writing about my favourite 100 pop songs of the decade; one a day for the last 100 days of 2019. They’re in no particular order, except the Top 10 – which will (obviously) come in late December.
  • See the full list so far here.
  • You can follow the rolling, daily-updated playlist below, or here.

Shaun Kitchener


Scriptwriter for the theatre and TV (currently Hollyoaks) and freelance entertainment ~reportage.