That’s Surprising – Inspirations of Popular Songs

That’s Surprising – Inspirations of Popular Songs


Have you ever wondered where musicians find the inspirations for their songs? Read about how Muse and Taylor Swift came to write some of their most popular songs.




“Resistance” was inspired by the characters Winston and Julia in George Orwell’s book “Nineteen Eighty-Four”.  The song is about love crossing boundaries such as religion and strong political beliefs, and the unimportance and divisiveness of such beliefs.

Undisclosed Desires

“Undisclosed Desires” was inspired by Matthew Bellamy's relationship with his then girlfriend, Gaia Polloni. Matt said that it is about love and the dark secrets that lovers share.

Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)

"Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)" was written in a difficult point in Matthew Bellamy's life. It was inspired by Matt’s reflections on how it feels like everything is going to go on forever at the start of your relationship when you first fall in love, and how heavy you feel when you break up. It was written after he had just broken up with his girlfriend.

Mylo Xyloto

“Mylo Xyloto” was influenced by “the Wire”, an HBO television series. According to Chris Martin, it is a concept album based on a love story with a happy ending.

A Rush of Blood to the Head

“A Rush of Blood to the Head” is an album that was inspired by experiencing the September 11 attacks and their aftermath. The songs reflect a new perspective and attitude. Most of the lyrics are about urgency. They tell listeners to not be frightened and that anyone can achieve whatever they want to achieve.


“Trouble”, according to Chris Martin, was inspired by his own behaviour towards other members of the band. It’s about behaving badly towards someone you love.

Taylor Swift

State of Grace

"State of Grace" was inspired by Taylor Swift’s feelings about first falling in love with someone and thinking about all the possibilities that lie ahead of you.

I Knew You Were Trouble

"I Knew You Were Trouble" was inspired by Taylor Swift feeling hurt and frustrated with herself. She was heartbroken and she had seen a lot of red flags at the start of the relationship but had pursued the relationship anyway.


"Ronan" was inspired by a blog that Taylor Swift read about a four year old boy, Ronan, who had died from cancer. She first performed it live for “Stand Up to Cancer” in 2012 and dedicated all proceeds of the single to help fight cancer. Maya Thompson, the mother of Ronan, has co-writing credit for the song.

Speak Now

"Speak Now" was inspired by the story of how one of Taylor Swift’s friends parted with her boyfriend after high school with the idea that they would get back together. The ex-boyfriend later got engaged to someone else and was soon to be wed. The song came from Taylor Swift’s thoughts about how tragic it would be if the person you loved married someone else. "Speak Now” comes from the idea of storming the church and answering the call to “speak now or forever hold your peace.”

You're Not Sorry

"You're Not Sorry" was inspired when Taylor Swift realized that her boyfriend was very different from what he’d first appeared to be. She had thought that he was a “Prince Charming” but as the relationship progressed she found out that he had many secrets. The song was written when she decided that he could not hurt her any more and that she had to walk away from the relationship.


Taylor Swift felt that some of her critics were attacking everything about her personally instead of offering professional, constructive criticism. She wrote “Mean” to get back at such critics. The critic Taylor Swift was addressing is reputed to be Bob Lefsetz. He gave her a critical review on his blog “The Lefsetz Letter”.

"The Story of Us"

"The Story of Us" was inspired when Taylor Swift encountered an ex-boyfriend at the 2010 CMT Music Awards. They were seated a couple of seats away from each other, but they ignored each other. It was a very painful experience, heartbreakingly awkward and miserable. The subject of the song is reputed to be musician John Mayer.

Back to December

"Back to December" was inspired by Taylor Swift’s feeling that she should apologize to an ex-boyfriend. The apology is rumoured to be for The Twilight Saga actor Taylor Lautner, but this has not been confirmed.


"Fearless" was inspired by Taylor Swift’s reflections on what the best first date would be and of being fearless in the sense that no matter how many times you’ve been hurt by relationships, you will always fall in love again.

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