Taylor Swift’s ‘Welcome to New York’ Is Literally a Tourism Campaign Disguised as a Single


Last week when Taylor Swift released the song “Welcome to New York” we were confused. We were confused because it was bad. Very bad. So much worse than the single she released a few days earlier (which we sincerely love). Most of all, we were confused because there was nothing particularly familiar in this lab-engineered New York anthem.

As Dave Colon put it in his piece:

“Welcome to New York” celebrates as generic, flat, and lifeless a New York as has ever existed in pop culture. Think about the song, and try to pick out a single detail about the city. You can’t. Replace “New York” in the lyrics with “Des Moines,” with “L.A.,” with “Pittsburgh,” any city you can shoehorn into the beat, and you wouldn’t have to change a single detail.

See also: Why Taylor Swift’s ‘Welcome to New York’ Is Bullshit

But today it all makes sense, because today, in addition to being release day for Swift’s new album, 1989, is also the day New York City’s tourism department announced Swift as the city’s new “Global Welcome Ambassador.” Surprise! That wasn’t a single we were all listening to last week — it was a commercial.

It makes so much more sense now, right?

It makes so much more sense now why last week, Swift was Instagramming generic items like this latte, and hashtagging it #WelcometoNewYork.

Lattes. #WelcomeToNewYork #TS1989

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Yes, we all know New York lattes — maple ones — hold special significance for Swift, but a latte is not like a slice of pizza, or a bagel, or a pickleback, which is to say it is not a quintessentially, or even an overtly, New York foodstuff.

See also: 50 Things You Do When You’re New To New York

What a latte is is a specific reference to one of five promotional videos starring Swift that debuted on the official New York City tourism website today. “Having a good cup of coffee or a latte is really important to me — no one does it better than New York,” Swift says.

Ditto with “front stoops” — one of the exercises in Swift’s NYC vocabulary lesson, another of the promotional videos.

Front stoops. #WelcomeToNewYork

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Some people might look at all this and say Swift is a marketing genius with an eye for
~ S y N e R g Y ~ …Others (us) will say she’s a cyborg sent to this planet to convince people without ideas to drink Diet Coke, and shop at Target, and move to New York. #WelcometoDesMoines