Most of all, Springsteen and Swift share a sensibility: that a story can be reduced purely to its rising action. There’s a central relationship to “Holy Ground,” and Swift refers tidily to its end with the lyric, “Well I guess we fell apart in the usual way / And the story’s got dust on every page.” But the song is focused inflexibly on a single, revelatory moment that happened during the course of the relationship. The second verse begins “Took off faster than a green light—go,” and the song builds itself in the shape of this line. The shape resembles ghostly restraint of “I’m on Fire” or “Brilliant Disguise,” with intense, variable emotions flickering beyond a fire door. There’s no climax; it’s a tense framework of expectations and barely contained ecstasy. It’s like the seconds right before you run into the middle of traffic. It lasts three and a half minutes.
The Atlantic: If You Listen Closely, Taylor Swift is Kind of Like Leonard Cohen
In which I attempt to install Swift in a pantheon of dude rock poets and maybe I’ll survive it.