Late last year, Jimmy Fallon endured a terrible personal tragedy: His mother passed away. After he took some time away, Fallon returned to The Tonight Show for a tremendously emotional episode, the apex of which what Taylor Swift’s performance of “New Year’s Day.” Reputation had just been released at that point, and as one of Fallon’s writers later noted, one of the lyrics had an eerie, oddly specific, and touching connection to Fallon’s relationship with his mother, so much so that Fallon got teary and shared an emotional embrace with Swift after her performance.
Jack Antonoff was a guest on yesterday’s Tonight Show, and since he produced and co-wrote most of Reputation, including “New Year’s Day,” he and Fallon talked about the process behind writing that emotional song.
Antonoff said that the song was written “very quickly,” and added that he prefers to write in an intimate setting with few or no other people around: “Writing music is not much different than having a physical. You know, like you wouldn’t want…,” he said before trailing off. He went on to discuss his proclivity towards collaborating with just one other person at a time (like with Swift or Lorde), saying: