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We Have Liftoff: Avoiding Hard Landings in Jump Then Fall


The Basics

Taylor Swift is on the phone with someone when she suddenly realizes how much she wants them to be together. Throughout the verses, Swift grows increasingly infatuated and describes the experience. In the chorus, Swift repeatedly implores her crush to reciprocate, asking him to “jump then fall” into her.

Literary Device: Anaphora

Swift returns to an old classic in Jump Then Fall: anaphora! Almost every line in the verses starts with the word: “I”, followed by a verb. From the first verse:

  • “I like”

  • “I realize”

  • “I have”

  • “I like” (again!)

  • “I watch”

  • “I hear”

In addition to creating a snappy rhythm, the repetition of “I” highlights the central topic of the verses: Taylor Swift.


Swift’s central focus in Jump Then Fall is not her crush, but herself. Even when Swift seems to be describing her crush, his features are incidental – only mentioned in order to describe how they make her feel. When Swift says “your laugh is the best sound / I have ever heard,” we don’t actually learn anything about her crush or his laugh. Similarly, when Swift says “I hear the words but all I can think is / We should be together,” she admits that she isn’t even listening to him – the focus is on her feelings. “I like the way you’re everything I’ve ever wanted” is equally vague and self-centered. In Jump Then Fall, Swift thus makes it clear that she is interested in describing the experience of falling in love rather than the person or relationship causing those feelings.


Analysis

Swift explores the experience (and the idiom) of “falling in love” by repeating the phrase “jump then fall” in the chorus. While a fall is passive, sudden, and moving downwards, jumping is active, premeditated, and moving upwards. Swift combines these terms to suggest that falling in love can be both premeditated and sudden, and that the combination can make the fall more pleasant. Swift encourages her crush to jump, putting himself into a vulnerable position where he might fall. In the first verse, Swift “jumped” by choosing to spend time on the phone with her crush. That jump enabled the subsequent fall – when she realized her feelings “without a warning.” Swift emphasizes repeatedly that a fall need not be unpleasant, providing reassurance that “I’ll catch you.”

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