As Taylor Swift rolled out the promotional campaign for her current album Speak Now, one of the key moments came when she performed “Innocent” at the MTV Music Video Awards.
There was plenty of drama around it, since Kanye West had famously interrupted her acceptance speech at that show a year before, and he was in the house for the 2010 edition. As fans would discover during the performance, “Innocent” effectively offered forgiveness to Kanye, who had revealed just weeks before how badly his mistake had crushed him. He lost a concert tour because of it, had to fire employees and went through prolonged public ridicule.
And, he recognized, he brought it all on himself.
“Innocent” was written before Kanye revealed any of that, yet it accurately recognizes the depth that he went through as he replayed his mistake over and over again in his mind. The song’s second verse in particular lays out the emotional detail, picturing him “shattered on the floor.”
How, you wonder, did Taylor get it so right? Apparently, she simply paid attention. Taylor saw some of the same stories the rest of us read. But she had an added benefit. The music business can be a pretty small community, and she got some feedback along the way.
“I felt like I knew what was going on on the other side of it,” she says. “It was publicized beyond publicized and just from reading the same headlines and from a few little conversations here and there, I knew what was going on. I just felt like that song was the best that I could do to sum up how I felt about it. I think that a lot of people expected me to write a song about him, and I felt it was more appropriate to write a song to him and for him. That just seemed more of the right thing to do.”
Taylor’s new single, “Back To December,” is allegedly about another guy who’s had an impact in her life, actor Taylor Lautner. It was released to radio last week, a day after she performed it on the 44th annual Country Music Association Awards. It’s likely that she’ll be singing it on her first network television special, “Taylor Swift—Speak Now.” It airs on Thanksgiving on NBC.