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Did Dateline Really Inspire This Song from Taylor Swift's Tortured Poets Department?

Taylor Swift has long been vocal about her love of Dateline, even once posing with correspondent Dennis Murphy backstage at a concert. 

By Jill Sederstrom

Taylor Swift’s new album, The Tortured Poets Department, is giving Dateline fans something to sing about.

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The songstress recently revealed that one of the tracks on the highly-anticipated album, which dropped Friday, is  inspired by her love of Dateline NBC.

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Which Taylor Swift song is inspired by Dateline

The song “Florida!!!” — co-written with Florence Welch, the lead singer of the band Florence and the Machine —subtly pays tribute to the beloved NBC newsmagazine by telling the story of a criminal on the run looking to start a new life and “beat the charges” against them.

“I think I was coming up with this idea of like, what happens when your life doesn’t fit or your choices you’ve made catch up to you and you’re surrounded by these harsh consequences and judgment, and circumstances did not lead you to where you want to be and you just want to escape from everything you’ve ever known," Swift explained to iHeartRadio of her inspiration. "Is there a place you could go?”

The answer — at least according to Swift — is Florida. 

“I’m always watching like Dateline — people, you know, have these crimes that they commit,” Swift shared. “Where do they immediately skip town and go to? They go to Florida, you know? They like try to reinvent themselves, have a new identity, blend in. And I think when you go through a heartbreak, there’s a part of you that thinks, I want a new name, I want a new life, I don’t want anyone to know where I’ve been or know me at all. And so that was the jumping-off point.” 

Taylor Swift walks the carpet of the 66th GRAMMY Awards

Swift gives a playful nod to life on the run in "Florida!!!" with lyrics like, “You can beat the heat if you beat the charges too/They said I was a cheat, I guess it must be true” and “All my girls got their lace and their crimes/And your cheating husband disappeared/Well, no one asks any questions here."

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What other Taylor Swift song was sparked by her love of true crime?

This isn’t the first time Swift’s love of true crime has worked its way into her song catalog. The song “No Body, No Crime” off her 2020 album Evermore is a delicious, revenge-filled murder fantasy.

The track tells the story from the perspective of a friend of a woman who suspects her husband of having an affair before she disappears. The husband moves on with his life, taking up residence with his mistress and buying new tires for his truck, without any consequences as the missing woman's friend fumes — until he disappears himself. 

“No, no body, no crime/I wasn't letting up until the day he died,” Swift darkly ended the song.

Taylor Swift performs on stage at Melbourne Cricket Ground

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Taylor Swift watches Dateline "nonstop"

Swift has been open about being a Dateline fan for years, once confessing to US Weekly that she watched the true crime newsmagazine “nonstop.” 

The artist even happily posed with Dateline correspondent Dennis Murphy backstage at a Miami concert in 2018. Murphy later described Swift to US Weekly as being “gracious” and “real” during the meeting.

“I said, ‘Hi, Taylor, I’m Dennis,’ and she said with a big smile, ‘I know who you are!’ An out of body moment: she knows me?” the stunned journalist shared.

To catch up on all the latest episodes of Dateline, tune in Fridays at 9/8c p.m. on NBC or stream them the next day on Peacock.

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