Taylor Swift Relives The Origins Of Her ‘Lover’ Songs During A Raw Tiny Desk Performance

NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts have become a storied music institution, and at this point, there have been around 800 or so of them. Through all those performances, though, the NPR offices have likely never hosted a star bigger than Taylor Swift. She’s a generational icon, and now, she has taken her stadium-filling songs and brought them to the Tiny Desk for an intimate performance.

Swift began by explaining the premise of her set, saying that she would be taking some songs from Lover back to their roots: “Tiny Desk is one of my favorite corners of the internet, and I always love seeing… it’s an opportunity for artists to decide a different way to showcase their music. You’re kind of inundated by overwhelming opportunity and choices. I just decided to take this as an opportunity to show you guys how the songs sounded when I first wrote them, so it’s just me. There are no dancers, unfortunately.”

Unaccompanied, she alternated between guitar and piano to perform “The Man,” “Lover,” and “Death By A Thousand Cuts,” before returning to the piano to conclude with Red favorite “All Too Well.” At 29 minutes, the video is longer than most Tiny Desk performances, and Swift’s presence justifies the extra length.

Swift teased the performance a few days ago, sharing some photos from her set and tweeting, “Tiny desk, BIG mood. Thank you @NPR for that awesome experience, I can’t wait to relive it when #tinydesk comes out!”

Watch Swift’s Tiny Desk performance above.