A week before the release of Taylor Swift‘s seventh studio album, Lover, on August 23, the pop star released the LP’s nostalgic and very romantic title track. The song quickly became a favorite among Swifties, but to this day, the fandom continues to sound off on Twitter about one particular lyric that suggests we should all be taking our Christmas lights down before January 1. Now, Swift is offering up a long-overdue explanation.
“I had toyed with the idea of being like, ‘We could have the Christmas lights up ’til April,'” Swift told The New York Times for its “Diary of a Song” series. But she stuck with January for good reason — to show that even the dullest parts of a relationship are special when you’re fully in love with the right person. “It’s not about that being a crazy thing,” she explained. “It’s about how mundane it is. It’s about, like, ‘We could put a rug over there’ [or] ‘We could do wallpaper or we could do paint.'”
If you thought that the final lyric — “We could leave the Christmas lights up ’til January” — was simply overlooked by the pop star, think again. Swift’s songwriting process is a long and arduous one, and it includes “obsessively going over every lyric and making sure that’s what I want the final lyric to be.” Luckily, the attention to detail paid off, and that one song — which Swift wrote herself in the middle of the night — became the track that would define yet another era of her 15-year career.
The truth is, Swift always wanted to make a song that people “who are in love would want to dance to,” and “Lover” certainly fits the bill. Once she came up with the chorus, she knew she was on the right track. “I wanted the chorus to be these really simple existential questions that we ask ourselves when we’re in love,” she told the paper. “‘Can I go where you go?’ is such a heavy thing to ask somebody. ‘Can we always be this close?’ has so much fear in it.”
As made clear, Swift’s songwriting skills are both mystifying and rare. And once “Lover” was written, she knew it was something special. “Even if anybody has been like, ‘I don’t think this one’s great,’ I would’ve been like, ‘Well, I reject your feedback because I love this one.'” And thank goodness for that.
For more on the making of Taylor Swift’s “Lover,” how she came up with the wedding-themed bridge, and what instruments were used to make the song feel the most authentic, watch the full video up above.