Taylor Swift recently dropped by NPR’s famed Tiny Desk to deliver an intimate medley of songs from her latest album, Lover, as well as an old fan favorite.
The pop star took to the desk solo—“there’s no dancers, unfortunately,” she joked—and explained that she viewed this as “an opportunity to show you guys how the songs sounded when I first wrote them.” Swift then opened her set with an acoustic rendition of “The Man,” a biting critique of sexism in the entertainment industry.
A sweet piano version of “Lover” followed, where Swift explained the meaning of the “guitar string scar” line from the bridge: “In life, you accumulate scars. You accumulate hurt. You accumulate moments of learning and disappointment and struggle and all that. And if someone’s gonna take your hand, they better take your hand, scars and all.”
She returned to the guitar for “Death by a Thousand Cuts,” an outlier on the self-described “very, very happy” Lover album. The singer said that the song, which is based on several break-ups her friends experienced, was “proof” to naysayers that she didn’t have to “stop writing songs about heartache and misery” once she found happiness.
Swift wrapped up her set with a throwback to her 2012 album Red, performing the fan favorite “All Too Well.” While bantering with the audience, the singer also admitted that the song, which critics have called one of the singer’s best work, is her favorite from the album.
Swift is the latest artist to perform at NPR’s Tiny Desk, following the Jonas Brothers, Ari Lennox and The-Dream. Her Lover LP arrived in August, and features tracks such as “The Archer” and “You Need to Calm Down.”
Watch her Tiny Desk performance below: