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Taylor Swift knows better than anyone that the haters are always gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. In particular, they’ve been hating on the fact that she was named NYC’s global tourism ambassador, and they’ve also been hating on her new song “Welcome to New York.”

Okay, they haven’t exactly been “hating” on it as much as some have offered measured critiques. Critics have said the tune lacks “the sophistication, or substance, of Gotham-themed hits” by other artists; others said it “speaks only in empty cliches about big city life.” More generally, people who’ve lived in a New York much more gritty and challenging and crime-ridden (and much, much less luxurious) than the one recently inhabited by Swift simply scoffed at her depiction of the city and her apparent love for it.

Well, Tay-Tay understands why people feel that way. In a recent interview with Billboard (as the magazine’s Woman of the Year) she said the criticism has “absolutely” made her think differently. “But when you write a song, you’re writing about a momentary emotion,” she said. “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.”

Basically, she thinks maybe we all put too much pressure on her. “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,” she said.

Swift also made sure to debunk the idea that her relationship with New York is new. She grew up in Pennsylvania, just a few hours away, and would often come into New York as a kid for auditions and singing lessons. She also went to her first Knicks game at age 12 — for a halftime talent competition. “But I didn’t win because the kid who won sang ‘New York, New York,’ and I was like, ‘Here’s a song I wrote about a boy in my class …'”


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