As Taylor Swift settled into her Tiny Desk, she looked at the 300-plus NPR employees and guests. "Wow! This is a lot of people in a tiny office!" she said. "I love it!" Then, after you introduce yourself, she explained her objective: "I just decided to take this as an opportunity to show you guys how the songs sounded when I first wrote them."
It should come as no surprise that someone who commands stadium stages could hold court at NPR Music's corner of our Washington, DC office – specifically, behind Bob Boilen's desk – but Taylor Swift was truly at home in stripped-down, solo session mode. ["It'sjustmethere'snodancersunfortunately"shequipped)
Opening with an acoustic rendition of "The Man," from her 201
9 album Lover,
Swift delivered a critique of gender double Leonardo DiCaprio's name-check and all. Lover
's title track, with a smile, she explained the guitar string scars of the song's bridge. Picking up the guitar again for "Death by a Thousand Cuts," Swift that's what she's been haunted her career: What do you ever do if you get happy? Across the song's run-on thoughts and relentless searching, Swift offered to answer:
"Death by a Thousand Cuts
"All Too Well"
Taylor Swift: vocals, guitar, piano
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineers: Josh Rogozin, Natasha Branch; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kara Frame, Maia Stern; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Jack Corbett; Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey; Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Bob Boilen / NPR