When Taylor Swift released the Grammy-winning, banjo-tinged Mean in 2010, haters fired shots at the then-20-year-old. Four years later, Swift says she's grown and could write her new single about others dissing her, Shake It Off, from a new perspective.
"We are all getting our hearts broken, being built up, being let down, feeling disappointed, feeling joy, feeling all these emotions, but what I've noticed is that even when it's the same kind of emotion that I'm feeling, I process it and feel it differently now than I used to," says Swift. "And I think that's a factor of growing up, but I'm pretty proud of the way it's gone."
All signs point to growth as Swift released her fifth album, 1989, last Monday: she's left behind her country roots to go full-blown pop, she's moved to New York and she hasn't really thought about dating in nearly two years.
"I think it's a beautiful thing to be in love. If you're in a good relationship, that's wonderful, but you are factoring someone else's feelings, schedule, opinion and priorities into your own feelings, schedule, opinions, priorities," she says. "And in the last year and a half, that just hasn't been something that I've been interested in."
Famous for taking inspiration from ex-boyfriends, if you listen to new track Bad Blood without knowing the back-story, you may think it's yet another I Knew You Were Trouble. But there's a twist; it's not about an ex, but a female frenemy - apparently fellow pop star Katy Perry.
Swift gave fans some help decoding this one in a Rolling Stone interview: "For years, I was never sure if we were friends or not," she said, confirming the song was about a fellow female singer.
"She would come up to me at awards shows and say something and walk away, and I would think, 'Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?'"
Swift added that the anger behind the tune stemmed from the fact that the artist, "basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour."
That's an easy hint - some of Swift's back-up dancers left her Red tour for Perry's Prism tour last summer. Perry also dated Swift's ex-boyfriend John Mayer. It was enough for the internet to start preparing for a fight between the two singers.
Check out some of Swift's lyrics on Bad Blood. "Now we got problems / And I don't think we can solve them / You made a really deep cut," she vents.
And she goes even further, singing: "I was thinking that you could be trusted" and "Did you have to hit me where I'm weak, baby, I couldn't breathe / And rub it in so deep, salt in the wound like you're laughing right at me."
Might Swift forgive and forget? "Did you think we'd be fine? Still got scars on my back from your knife / So don't think it's in the past, these kind of wounds they last and they last." That'd be a "no".
Later in the song, she goes deeper: "Band-aids don't fix bullet holes / You say sorry just for show / If you live like that you live with ghosts."
Now this might be a good point to mention that Perry has a song called Ghost. That song is written by Max Martin, who also co-wrote Bad Blood. What a small world!
When Swift played the song to 89 fans invited to an album preview at her New York apartment, she explained it was about a female pop singer she'd had a falling out with.
A fan yelled: "It's because she doesn't have a Grammy!" and Swift gave her famous coy look, as the crowd looked to the two Grammy Awards on her mantel, one for album of the year for 2008's groundbreaking Fearless.
So many clues; the icing on the cake is a picture in the liner notes of the album. Next to the lyrics for Bad Blood is a random photo of a Grammy Award. Swift has seven Grammy Awards; Perry has zero. We're looking forward to Perry's response.