Taylor Swift can lose a guy in 30 days in the calculated “Blank Space.”
A fidgeting synth opens the single, setting an anxious tone. A handsome young man, his tie swept across his shirt and his white t-shirt hanging loose from his black dress pants. He seems to have stopped into the restraurant after a charity event. She believes his family is newly wealthy. The clothes are expensive but the messiness suggests that he could buy ten others if needed. She has seen him around town and he has quite the reputation: sleeping with every girl he meets, attending his classes drunk and/or stoned and a cocky attitude. He would make her absolutely miserable but she has to know him. He waves to her and she calls him over. They introduce themselves to each other. She asks him if he wants to hang out. He gives her a quizzical look, saying she doesn’t seem the type. She shrugs her shoulders and says she’s not looking for a relationship. “Friday night, then?” She nods his yes and they exchange phone numbers. Guys see her as proper and clean them themselves up around her. They stand a little taller and find manners they lost. (“Nice to meet you, where you been?/I could show you incredible things/Magic, madness, heaven sin/Saw you there and I thought/Oh my God, look at that face/You look like my next mistake/Love’s a game, want to play?/New money, suit & tie/I can read you like a magazine/Ain't it funny, rumors fly/And I know you heard about me/So hey, let's be friends/I'm dying to see how this one ends/Grab your passport and my hand/I can make the bad guys good for a weekend.”)
In the chorus, she wonders if it’s going to be lovely fairytale or if the relationship will erupt in a scandal that will cause mutal friends to choose sides. Her ex-boyfriends would say she’s psycho. She would say she’s passionate. She enjoys the drama of a relationship and he, in general, likes the thrill of the chase. They’ll be immature, playacting they while they are together. In the end, it might be meaningful or leave him bitter. Her history has shown that it won’t work out but it’ll fun to see if it will. (“So it's gonna be forever/Or it's gonna go down in flames/You can tell me when it's over/If the high was worth the pain/Got a long list of ex-lovers/They'll tell you I'm insane/Cause you know I love the players/And you love the game/Cause we're young and we're reckless/We'll take this way too far/It'll leave you breathless/Or with a nasty scar/Got a long list of ex-lovers/They'll tell you I'm insane/But I've got a blank space, baby/And I'll write your name.”)
He whispers in ear that they need find somewhere more private. They excuse themselves from the table and head outside. They make out. He tells her she’s wonderful. She’s says he’s the kindest boyfriend. They are on top of the world and everything is perfect. Until she decides he is spending too much time with his friends. She will pick a fight with him and then break into tears, asking him if he really does love her. He will wonder what happened to his cool, adventurous girlfriend. He will say it’s over and then call later, asking if she would like hang out with him. She’s just too good to resist. (“Cherry lips, crystal skies/I could show you incredible things/Stolen kisses, pretty lies/You're the King baby I'm your Queen/Find out what you want/Be that girl for a month/Wait the worst is yet to come, oh no/Screaming, crying, perfect storm/I can make all the tables turn/Rose gardens filled with thorns/Keep you second guessing like "Oh my God, who is she?"/I get drunk on jealousy/But you'll come back each time you leave/Cause darling I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream.”)
The chorus is sung again.
In the bridge, she has found guys like the drama, too. Running around and doing what they want is how they remain in control. She even tells the guys that the tide will turn eventually. (“Boys only want love if it's torture/Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn ya/Boys only want love if it's torture/Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn ya.”)
The chorus is sung again to end the single.
Swift’s impish vocals toy with her good girl image. She’s the free spirit guys love to have but they are in for a surprise after dating her for awhile. She seems perfect from the outside. However, she takes her relationships seriously right from the start, giving the guys whiplash. Love is the ongoing competition that she has to win.
It is notable she is addressing her very public dating history, complete with spreads in Us Weekly, without any defensiveness. It’s as though she realized why Amy Poehler and Tina Fey made the joke about her writing a song about her latest ex (which at the time, was a remark that couldn’t be found on any messageboard). She’s owning up to it now and even has a sense of humor about it. It’s often said celebrities are stunted at whatever age they became famous. It’s refreshing to see Swift buck the trend.
The scampish “Blank Space” lets Amy Poehler and Tina Fey know that everything's cool now.