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The Man” is the fourth track from Taylor’s seventh studio album, Lover. As of January 28, 2020, it became the fourth single off of the album.

Background

It was first announced in Swift’s September 2019 Vogue interview.

Next, Swift cues up a track that “plays with the idea of perception.” She has often wondered about how she would be written and spoken about if she were a man, “so I wrote a song called ‘The Man’.” It’s a thought experiment of sorts: “If I had made all the choices, all the same mistakes, all the same accomplishments, how would it read?” Seconds later, Swift’s earpods are pumping a synth-pop ear worm into my head: “I’d be a fearless leader. I’d be an alpha type. When everyone believes ya: What’s that like?”

In an interview with Billboard magazine upon receiving the first-ever Woman of the Decade award, Swift explained that the song is about sexism and double-standards in the workplace, basing it off her personal experiences in the music industry and suggesting that women have to work harder to succeed. She said in the interview,

“It was a song that I wrote from my personal experience, but also from a general experience that I’ve heard from women in all parts of our industry. And I think that, the more we can talk about it in a song like that, the better off we’ll be in a place to call it out when it’s happening. So many of these things are ingrained in even women, these perceptions, and it’s really about re-training your own brain to be less critical of women when we are not criticizing men for the same things. So many things that men do, you know, can be phoned-in that cannot be phoned-in for us. We have to really — God, we have to curate and cater everything, but we have to make it look like an accident. Because if we make a mistake, that’s our fault, but if we strategize so that we won’t make a mistake, we’re calculating.

“There is a bit of a damned-if-we-do, damned-if-we-don’t thing happening in music, and that’s why when I can, like, sit and talk and be like ‘Yeah, this sucks for me too,’ that feels good. When I go online and hear the stories of my fans talking about their experience in the working world, or even at school — the more we talk about it, the better off we’ll be. And I wanted to make it catchy for a reason — so that it would get stuck in people’s heads, [so] they would end up with a song about gender inequality stuck in their heads. And for me, that’s a good day.”[1]

A lyric video for the song was released on February 7, 2020 and features an animation of a woman in a suit trying to succeed in the business world, who climbs the corporate ladder.[2]

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
I would be complex, I would be cool
They'd say I played the field before I found someone to commit to
And that would be okay for me to do
Every conquest I had made would make me more of a boss to you

[Pre-chorus]
I’d be a fearless leader
I'd be an alpha type
When everyone believes ya:
What's that like?

[Chorus]
I’m so sick of running as fast as I can
Wondering if I'd get there quicker if I was a man
And I'm so sick of them coming at me again
'Cause if I was a man, then I'd be the man
I'd be the man
I'd be the man

[Verse 2]
They'd say I hustled, put in the work
They wouldn’t shake their heads and question how much of this I deserve
What I was wearing, if I was rude
Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves

[Pre-chorus]
And they would toast to me, oh, let the players play
I’d be just like Leo in Saint-Tropez

[Chorus]
I'm so sick of running as fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man
And I'm so sick of them coming at me again
'Cause if I was a man, then I'd be the man
I’d be the man
I'd be the man

[Bridge]
What's it like to brag about raking in dollars
And getting bitches and models?
And it's all good if you're bad
And it's okay if you're mad
If I was out flashing my dollars
I'd be a bitch, not a baller
They'd paint me out to be bad
So, it's okay that I'm mad

[Chorus]
I'm so sick of running as fast as I can
Wondering if I'd get there quicker if I was a man (you know that)
And I'm so sick of them coming at me again (coming at me again)
'Cause if I was a man (if I was a man)
Then I'd be the man (then I'd be the man)
I'm so sick of running as fast as I can (as fast as I can)
Wondering if I'd get there quicker if I was a man (hey)
And I'm so sick of them coming at me again (coming at me again)
'Cause if I was a man (if I was a man), then I'd be the man
I'd be the man
I'd be the man (oh)
I'd be the man (yeah)
I'd be the man (I'd be the man)
 
[Outro]
If I was a man, then I'd be the man

Trivia

  • This is the second song of Taylor Swift’s to use explicit language (the explicit words are "bitches" and "bitch"). However, this is one of the only songs to use profane language twice; the others being "The 1" and "Betty".
    • The radio edit of the song later silences the explicit words of the song.
  • Swift performed this song at the American Music Awards in November 2019 while wearing a white jumpsuit, reminiscent of a prison uniform, with the names of all her previous albums printed on it. This suggests that "The Man" may be based on her legal dispute with Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta in order to secure her masters.[3][4]

Merchandise collection

For information on the merchandise collection, visit The Man/Merchandise.

Music video gallery

Behind the scenes

Live performances

2019)

2019)

Videos

References

  1. Lipschutz, Jason. "Taylor Swift Shares Stories Behind 'The Man' & 'It's Nice to Have a Friend' in Cover Story Outtakes." Billboard, 12 December 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  2. Kaufman, Gil. "Taylor Swift is Our Fearless Leader in 'The Man' Lyric Video: Watch." Billboard, 7 February 2020. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  3. Ahlgrim, Callie. "Taylor Swift Began Her AMAs Performance with 'The Man,' A Song About Double Standards and Sexism." Insider, 24 November 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  4. Miller, Jordan. "Power Moves: Taylor Swift Readies Next 'Lover' Single." Breathe Heavy, 24 January 2020. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
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