"Writing that song was a journey," Swift says of the hit
Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

Much can be said about Taylor Swift‘s “Blank Space” – especially if you talk with the woman whose life informed the lyrics.

“Writing that song was a journey,” Swift, 25, tells NME in a new video about penning the hit. “It was one of those things where I would be writing lines years before I ended up constructing the song. I’ll be going about my daily life and I’ll think of like, ‘Wow, so you only have two real options in relationships, like it’s going to be forever or it’s going to go down in flames.’ I’ll jot that down in my notes.”

Swift continues, “I’ll come up with a line that I think is clever, like, ‘Darling, I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.’ I just pick them and put them where they fit and construct the bridge out of more lines. I’d come up with in the last couple years. It was really more like a crossword puzzle. ‘Blank Space’ was like the culmination of all my best ones, one after the other.”

Swift, whose romance with boyfriend https://www.people.com/people/news/category/0,,personsTax:CalvinHarris,00.html has made the DJ insanely happy, says there was a time when she felt the media’s portrayal of her love life wasn’t rooted in reality.

“[From] 2012 to 2013, they thought I was dating too much because I dated two people in a year and a half, but whatever – we’ll leave it there,” she says sarcastically. “‘Oh, a serial dater. She only writes songs to get emotional revenge on guys. She’s a man hater. Don’t let her near your boyfriend.’ It was just kind of excessive and, you know, at first it was hurtful and then I kind of found a little comedy in it.”

Swift admits the coverage intrigued her as much as the next reader.

“This character is so interesting, though,” she says. “If you go and read these gossip sites and they describe how I am, [it’s] so opposite my actual life.”

Then Swift sums up the imaginary persona she decided to make the song about: “You know, I can get these guys. I’m just like a nightmare and I’m clingy and I’m awful and I throw fits and tantrums and there’s drama. But then they leave. They can’t stay away so they come back. But then I drive them away again. [I’m] emotionally fragile and just [this] unpredictable mess that just … Oh my god.”

The pop star took it a step further for the song’s riveting music video, which currently has 1.2 billion views.

“I painted a whole picture of this character,” she says. “She lived in a mansion with marble floors and she wears Dolce and Gabbana around the house. She wears animal print, unironically. And so I created this whole character, and I had fun doing it.”

After sharing the project with her fans, Swift soon found a particular part taking on a life of its own.

“Once the song was written, my favorite line of the song was, ‘Got a long list of ex lovers. They’ll tell you I’m insane. But I’ve got a blank space, baby, and I’ll write your name,'” she says. “I watched as it got so misconstrued. It turned into, ‘Got a lonely Starbucks lovers. They’ll tell you I’m insane.'”

Even Andrea Swift, the singer’s mom, thought she heard "Starbucks lovers" in the chorus – and Swift is fine with that.

“Whatever it was, I was saying something about Starbucks, which was kind of like the most delightful misunderstanding about this song, which was written about misunderstandings,” she jokes.

And then there were the people who didn’t find the irony in Swift’s lyrics about being a vindictive girlfriend.

“Half the people got the joke,” she says. “Half the people really think that I was really owning the act that I’m a psychopath, which is fine. Either one is fine as long as they know the semblance of the words, even if they’re incorrect.”

With a smile on her face, Swift points out the cherry that tops it all off: “It was number one for like eight or nine weeks, so I have no complaints as to how things turned out.”

For more on Swift’s interview – including her potential break from the limelight – read the free NME available on NME.com.