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Why Phoebe Bridgers’ Feature On Red (Taylor’s Version) Is So Significant

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Emo Swifties, we have been waiting for the Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers feature for so long and it’s finally here. Taylor announced that she would be re-recording Red in June, sending her fanbase into a frenzy. The next cryptic Taylor message was released on August 5. Hardcore Swiftie sleuths were able to decode Swift’s message that revealed several of her collaborations for the album and three vault song titles.

This Instagram post officially confirmed swirling rumors: Phoebe Bridgers and Swift would finally sing together on Red (Taylor’s Version). Huge win for the emo indie music crowd, myself included.

Longtime fans know that Swift isn’t a huge fan of sharing the spotlight with other female artists. She has collaborated with several female artists over the years, but each collab only features the artist singing background vocals. Singer-songwriters including Colbie Calliat, Maren Morris, and groups The Dixie Chicks, and HAIM have only added to Swift’s harmonies but never received their own verses. Until now.

Phoebe Bridgers was featured on “Nothing New (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault).” Bridgers contributes a solo verse and chorus, which has never before been done on a Taylor Swift feature.

While is groundbreaking for a female artist on a Taylor Swift album, this is “nothing new” for male singers. Everyone knows about Swift’s close friendship with Ed Sheeran. Sheeran was the opening act for Swift on her Red tour and he collaborated with her on “Everything Has Changed” and “Run (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” as well as “End Game” on Reputation. Sheeran, among other artists including, but not limited to, Keith Urban, Future, Bon Iver, and The National, have played significant roles in Swift’s songs.

Each of the previously mentioned male artists has given solo verses and choruses to Swift’s songs, unlike each of her female features. Therefore, this makes Phoebe Bridgers’ contribution that much more revolutionary. But why now? Why Phoebe? Will there be more female collaborations?

“I really wanted another female artist who I loved to sing it with me because I think it was a very female artist perspective,” Swift told Seth Myers. Listeners know that Swift is equally a storyteller and singer. Perhaps the visions she has for her songs are so specific that it is hard to share songs with other female artists.

“Nothing New” is almost like Swift talking to her younger self. She describes the confusion of no longer being a “new” artist and experiencing a lull in her career. Taylor and Bridgers sing “how can a person know everything at eighteen, but nothing at twenty-two?” These lyrics highlight the ease of life when your career and fame are growing exponentially, but acknowledge the hardship when the plateau arrives.

Because of the structure of “Nothing New,” Bridgers was the perfect choice for a collaboration since the song is conversational. The song is formatted in a way that Taylor is almost talking to her younger self, reassuring her that things are hard but will turn out okay in the end.

Additionally, Taylor and Bridgers have had similar relationship experiences, further reinforcing how Bridgers’ collaboration on Red (Taylor’s Version) was completely intentional. As most of us know, Red is unquestionably a Jake Gyllenhaal diss track. When Swift and Gyllenhaal dated in 2010, their age gap was nine years. Because the pair were both celebrities, their relationship was in the spotlight and constantly analyzed.

Similarly, Bridgers dated Ryan Adams, a singer formerly in the band Whiskeytown. Adams was 20 years older than Bridgers. Bridgers was 20 years old at the time of their relationship, the same age as Taylor when she dated Gyllenhaal. Bridgers released “Motion Sickness” in 2018, recounting the emotional abuse that she suffered at the hands of Adams and it has since become her most popular song.

Taylor Swift doesn’t do anything on accident and I believe that the two artists’ shared trauma made them an ideal match for a song about the hardships of being a female in the music industry.

Swift revealed that when she reached out to Bridgers asking if she would be interested in the Red feature, Bridgers responded, “I’ve been waiting for this text my entire life.” Both artists are clearly huge fans of one another.

The Swiftie and Pharbz fanbases have reacted with nothing but love and excitement towards “Nothing New.” Bridgers’ fans are generally considered to be “emo” and Bridgers has completely embraced this stereotype. She posted this meme on Instagram the day of Red’s release.

Phoebe, congratulations on a hugely successful feature on Red (Taylor’s Version). Taylor, we need more collaborations with Phoebe and other female artists! We are begging you!

Finally, on a completely unrelated note, Phoebe, we are so excited that you are dating Paul Mescal. That is all.

Keeley is a first-year journalism major from Richmond, Va. and is one of Her Campus at Penn State's associate editors. She is a lover of grilled cheese, sports, and Kevin Jonas. If you would like to discuss the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @lammkeeley.