When Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York” premiered a few months back, the internet treated it like it was a group of NYU freshman getting off the L train at Bedford for the first time — that is to say, with scorn. That reaction was not lost on the song’s composer, who tells Billboard she “absolutely” understood why many New Yorkers felt the song didn’t represent their lives in a city full of rising rents, police brutality, and horrible things on the subway. But, she says, that’s just what happens when you write from your own personal experience: “If you can capture that and turn it into three-and-half minutes that feel like that emotion, that’s all you’re trying to do as a songwriter. To take a song and try to apply it to every situation everyone is going through — economically, politically, in an entire metropolitan area — is asking a little much of a piece of a music.” Swift added that only a premium-cable drama could do that, which is why she was partnering with David Simon on a 12-part HBO miniseries, Tribéca.
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