“Never take advice from someone who’s falling apart.”
“Dear Reader” is the final song on Taylor Swift’s 10th album, Midnights, and part of the 3am bonus tracks. Like so many of her other tracks on this album, this song is complex and rife with double meanings. Swift addresses her listeners as if she’s a newspaper advice columnist, trying to give advice through her lyrics. But it’s ironic, because she also cautions that you shouldn’t take advice from someone whose life is falling apart and to go “find another guiding light.” This in and of itself is another piece of advice.
But what advice is she actually giving her loyal readers? I’ve provided a summary below, as well as my own interpretation of each lyric.
- “When you aim at the devil, don’t miss.”
It’s unclear which devil she’s referring to, but the gist is this: if you’re going up against a power greater than yourself, be confident in both your strategy and ability to handle the fallout.
- “you don’t have to answer, just ’cause they asked you.”
In this line, she’s saying silence speaks louder than words and when in doubt, plead the fifth.
- “the greatest of luxuries is your secrets.”
This is very similar to the last one, but Swift is telling everyone that privacy is a gift. Coming from an artist who has spent so much time in the public eye, this says a lot.
- “if it feels like a trap, you’re already in one.”
This line certainly inspires paranoia. Always trust your gut about a situation. Intuition won’t lead you astray.
- “get out your map, pick somewhere and just run.”
Not exactly the bravest piece of advice, but hey, haven’t we all wanted to run away at some point? This is why they call it “fight or flight.”