Welcome to New York (song)

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"Welcome to New York"
Promotional single by Taylor Swift
from the album 1989
ReleasedOctober 20, 2014 (2014-10-20)
RecordedJanuary 23, 2014 (2014-01-23)
StudioConway Studios
Genre
Length3:32
LabelBig Machine
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)

"Welcome to New York" is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released as the first promotional single on October 20, 2014 from Swift's fifth album, 1989. Swift donated all proceeds from the sale of the single to the New York City Department of Education.[1]

Background and release[edit]

Swift performing "Welcome to New York" during 1989 World Tour.

The song was released to digital download on iTunes and with the CD on October 20, 2014.[2] The song is the opening track on the album, 1989.[2] Prior to the digital release Swift released a 30-second sampler of the song on YouTube.[3][4] When discussing the song with E! Online, Swift states that "The inspiration that I found in that city is kind of hard to describe and hard to compare to any other force of inspiration I've ever experienced in my life." She continued on by stating "I approached moving there with such wide-eyed optimism and sort of saw it as a place of endless potential and possibilities. You can kind of hear that reflected in this music and this first song especially."[5]

Swift sent a voice memo of the song to Ryan Tedder, who programmed the song with a Roland Juno-106 synthesizer for a 1980s sound, finishing it in three hours.[6] He then produced four versions of the song, and Swift chose the one closest to the demo.[6]

When discussing the song's placement on the album Swift stated the reason she wanted the track to be the first song on the album was "because New York has been an important landscape and location for the story of my life in the last couple of years. You know, I dreamed about living in New York, I obsessed moving to New York and then I did it."[7] The lines "And you can want who you want / Boys and boys and girls and girls" has been viewed as Swift's way of supporting LGBT equality.[8]

Composition[edit]

"Welcome to New York" is a synth-pop[8] and electropop[9][10] song written by Swift and Ryan Tedder[11] and produced by Swift, Tedder and Noel Zancanella.[3] It runs the length of three minutes and thirty-two seconds (3:32).[12] It has a moderate beat of 117 beats per minute. The song is written in the key of G major with Swift's vocals spanning between the octaves of D4 and D5.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

Jim Farber of New York Daily News criticized the song saying "Unlike the classic odes to our city, Swift’s lacks the sophistication, or substance, of Gotham-themed hits by Frank Sinatra ("New York, New York"), Billy Joel ("New York State of Mind") or Alicia Keys/Jay-Z ("Empire State of Mind")."[14] Jen Carlson of Gothamist called it "the worst NYC anthem of all time."[15] Julianne Escobedo Shepherd of Jezebel called the song a "gentrification anthem so obtuse it makes one wonder if (Swift) is, in fact, trolling at this point."[16] Esther Zuckerman of Entertainment Weekly pointed out that "It honors the city... but only skims the surface."[2] Robert Christgau, who called it his favorite song on 1989, felt critics had been too harsh so as to not appear to be fans of Swift, while writing:

Having emigrated to Manhattan myself, albeit from Queens, I think it's silly to demand sociology from someone who can't stroll Central Park without bodyguards. I note that even from a limo you can tell that the "everyone" here who "was someone else before" includes many immigrants of color. And I credit its gay-curious moment even if she ends up with a banker like her dad. All that said, however, there's a big difference between Swift's Manhattan and the one I can afford only due to real estate laws as vestigial as the family grocery that just closed up across the street, and you can hear that difference in the music.[17]

In more enthusiastic critique, Forrest Wickman from Slate considered it "a soaring synth-pop anthem of the kind you could imagine being sung by Katy Perry."[8] Daniel D’Addario of Time magazine stated that it was a "new kind of equality anthem" and that while, "A full-throated cry for marriage equality or an end to bullying it isn't...its simple declarativeness fits the tenor of the times."[18] Nate Scott of USA Today praised the song and said it would be "the next New York anthem" and stated that the song "works. It works because Taylor Swift is the kind of artist that doesn’t care — at all — that the “I’m a young person who just moved to New York!” narrative is a tired cliché. She just lived it: She moved to New York, and she felt her life was changed by moving to the big city."[19] Jason Lipshutz of Billboard gave the song three stars out of five and praised the song stating that it "naturally arrives with a warm grin slapped on the first carnival-themed synthesizer. Compared to two other Swift songs—her last two album openers, 'Mine' from Speak Now and 'State of Grace' from Red—'Welcome To New York' is sunny and conflict-free, an uncomplicated NYC greeting straight out of the opening montage to "That Girl" while criticizing the song by stating that "Swift’s experience of moving to New York is probably a bit different than those of us out-of-staters who have had to make the post-college pilgrimage to the big city; while Swift perkily admires how 'the Village is aglow,' she doesn't remark on the subway rats or waking up in closet-sized bedrooms."[20]

Chart performance[edit]

The song has peaked at number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100.[21] On January 22, 2015, "Welcome to New York" was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for its shipments exceeding of one million units in the United States.[22]

The song performed well in Oceania, peaking at number 6 and 23 in New Zealand and Australia,[23][24] respectively. In Hungary, the song peaked at number 16 on the Association of Hungarian Record Companies Top 20 Singles chart,[25] number 19 on the Canadian Hot 100,[26] number 21 in Spain,[27] number 27 in Denmark,[28] and 39 on the UK Single Charts.[29]

Cover versions and media usage[edit]

Ryan Adams recorded a rock version of "Welcome to New York" for his album 1989, a cover of Swift's album 1989. Yahoo! writer Oscar Gracey said that Adams' cover of "Welcome to New York" is "more Coney Island than East Village."[30] The song is also featured in the films How to Be Single, Dance Academy: The Movie and The Secret Life of Pets. It is also used as the main theme for the current TSG Pictures incarnation.[citation needed]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from liner notes of 1989.[31]

Studio locations
  • Recorded at Conway Studios (Los Angeles)
  • Mixed at MixStar Studios (Virginia Beach)
  • Mastered at Sterling Sound (New York)
Personnel

Charts[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[23] 23
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[26] 19
Denmark (Tracklisten)[28] 27
France (SNEP)[32] 85
Hungary (Single Top 40)[25] 16
Ireland (IRMA)[33] 55
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[34] 80
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[24] 6
Scotland (OCC)[35] 16
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[27] 21
UK Singles (OCC)[29] 39
US Billboard Hot 100[21] 48

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[36] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States October 20, 2014[2] Digital download Big Machine

References[edit]

  1. ^ Messer, Lesley (October 29, 2014). "Taylor Swift to Donate 'Welcome to New York' Proceeds to NYC Public Schools". ABC News. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Zuckerman, Esther (October 20, 2014). "Here is Taylor Swift's 'Welcome to New York'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on January 12, 2015. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Strecker, Eric (October 20, 2014). "Taylor Swift's 'Welcome To New York' Coming Tuesday: Listen to a Preview Now". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  4. ^ Goodman, Jessica (October 20, 2014). "Taylor Swift's 'Welcome To New York' Is A Love Letter To A City". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  5. ^ Toomey, Alyssa (October 20, 2014). "Taylor Swift Talks New Single 'Welcome to New York,' Says It's 'Very Sexist' to Claim She Only Writes About Exes". E! Online. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Highfill, Samantha (April 23, 2020). "Ryan Tedder breaks down his biggest hits with Beyoncé, Adele, Taylor Swift, and more". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on April 24, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  7. ^ Swift, Taylor (October 20, 2014). "Taylor Announces NEW SONG from 1989!". taylorswift.com. Archived from the original on October 23, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Wickman, Forrest (October 20, 2014). "Taylor Swift's Pro-Gay "Welcome to New York" Takes Her Further Than Ever From Nashville". Slate. Archived from the original on April 23, 2020. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  9. ^ Zoladz, Lindsay (October 27, 2014). "Taylor Swift's 1989 Is Her Most Conservative Album Yet". Vulture. Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  10. ^ Rosenfeld, Laura (October 20, 2014). "Taylor Swift previews new song 'Welcome to New York.' Here's 5 other songs about New York you should listen to". Tech Times. Archived from the original on May 30, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  11. ^ Walker, John (October 20, 2014). "Taylor Swift's Finally 'Living In A Big Ol' City' In 'Welcome To New York'". MTV News. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  12. ^ "iTunes – Music – 1989 by Taylor Swift". iTunes Store (US). Archived from the original on September 23, 2016. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  13. ^ "Digital sheet music – Taylor Swift – Welcome to New York". Musicnotes.com. Alfred Music Publishing. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  14. ^ Farber, Jim (October 20, 2014). "'Welcome to New York,' music review". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  15. ^ Carlson, Jen (October 21, 2014). "'Welcome to New York,' music review". Gothamist. Archived from the original on October 23, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  16. ^ Escobedo Shepherd, Julianne (October 20, 2014). "Taylor Swift's New Song Is the Gentrification Anthem NYC Didn't Need". Jezebel. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 6, 2015). "Expert Witness". Cuepoint. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  18. ^ D'Addario, Daniel (October 21, 2014). "Taylor Swift's 'Welcome to New York' Is a New Kind of Equality Anthem". Time. Archived from the original on July 25, 2017. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  19. ^ Scott, Nate (October 20, 2014). "Taylor Swift's 'Welcome to New York' is the next New York anthem". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 9, 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  20. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (October 20, 2014). "Taylor Swift Packs Her Bags on 'Welcome To New York': Song Review". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 29, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  21. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  22. ^ "Gold & Platinum Program searchable database". Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  23. ^ a b "Australian-charts.com – Taylor Swift – Welcome To New York". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  24. ^ a b "Charts.nz – Taylor Swift – Welcome To New York". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  25. ^ a b "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  26. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  27. ^ a b "Spanishcharts.com – Taylor Swift – Welcome To New York" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  28. ^ a b "Danishcharts.com – Taylor Swift – Welcome To New York". Tracklisten. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  29. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  30. ^ Gracey, Oscar (September 21, 2015). "Ryan Adams' '1989': Track By Track". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on January 26, 2016. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  31. ^ 1989 (Compact disc liner notes). Taylor Swift. Big Machine Records. 2014. BMRBD0500A.CS1 maint: others (link)
  32. ^ "Lescharts.com – Taylor Swift – Welcome To New York" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  33. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Taylor Swift". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  34. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Japan Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  35. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  36. ^ "American single certifications – Taylor Swift – Welcome to New York". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved July 23, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]