15 Men/Women Behind Taylor Swift’s Songs
If there is someone good at telling stories through her songs, it’s Taylor Swift. Over the years we’ve watched her display her life through her lyrics and beats. And, if there’s something we admire and love about her, it’s how bold and fearless she is. Born in 1989 in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Taylor had always dreamed of being a singer ever since she was small. She has accomplished outstanding things and has won amazing awards in her 27 years. She started off as a country singer and slowly transitioned into other music styles. Each of her albums is better than the last, or so say her Grammys. Every time she releases an new album, people begin to speculate as to whom the songs are about. Most of the time, they are about a guy she’s previously dated. Taylor’s known and often bullied for making songs about exes and past relationships, which is only normal, as many other artists do it as well (???). Still, some of her songs are vague and it is not clear which person she is singing about. In this article, however, we’ll be discussing the ones that have a confirmed story behind them. It’s just a matter of time before her new album is released and we will have more to daydream about. But for now, her old music will have to do.
15. The Best Day
Let us start off easy. This song has the name Andrea Swift written all over it. If you do not know who Andrea Swift is, it’s Taylor’s mother. Taylor herself said she wrote this to her as a thank you for always being there for her. The song narrates the story of Taylor’s life since she was 5 years old. With lyrics like “it’s the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs, and daddy’s smart and you’re the prettiest lady in the whole wide world”, and “I love you for giving me your eyes, staying back and watching me shine and I didn’t know if you knew, so I’m taking this chance to say that I had the best day with you today”, it was clear to us who she was talking about. Back in 2008 when she first released the song’s video, we were able to see not only how cute she was when she was a little girl, but we also got to see video recordings of her family throughout the years (keep in mind that the first seconds of the video is her talking to her mom). During her Fearless tour, Taylor had to cut this song from the set list because every time her mother heard it, she started to cry. While performing live, she once said this was a song ‘to someone, instead of about someone’.
We all grew up with this song on our radios and it’s definitely one of her strongest hits. Fifteen sold millions of copies, and its music video reached over 130 million views since its release in 2009. The song talks about being naïve when you’re fifteen years old and the story follows a girl who’s a freshman in high school and gives her all to an older boy who doesn’t care. At the same time, the chorus offers some advice and the song ends on a positive note. Taylor wrote this song while on the road. It is for and about her ultimate best friend (ever), Abigail Anderson, who is today happily engaged to be married this year. What’s even more interesting is that her friend stars in the song’s video. The first lyric of the song that Taylor wrote is “’Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind”, and everything just developed from that point on. She’s performed this song many times and has said that the song still gets to her when she sings it because she experienced all this pain with her friend.
This song has helped many people overcome their anxieties and ignore bullies. If you’ve never heard it, then it’s a must that you do. It’s a 100% country hit that targets criticism in general but was written for one particular person who knew how to push her buttons. Taylor’s said she doesn’t handle criticism well. “When you’re famous and put yourself out there, everyone’s going to have a different opinion about you”. All you should do is believe in yourself and ignore it. When Taylor performed Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” with Stevie Nicks at the 2010 Grammy awards, many people started to complain about her performance because it was off key. Bob Lefsetz, the inspiration of this song, was the one that got to her the most by saying: “did Taylor Swift kill her career overnight? I’ll argue she did. (…) Taylor’s too young and dumb to understand the mistake she made.” Ouch. There was no need to be so mean though… and Taylor simply shook it off with a song. Singing “And I can see you years from now in a bar, talking over a football game. With that same big loud opinion but nobody’s listening. Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things. Drunk and grumbling on about how I can’t sing, but all you are is mean.” Ouch back. Don’t mess with Taylor Swift.
This might be one of Taylor’s sweetest, most beautiful songs. No, she doesn’t always write songs about her ex-boyfriends and no, her songs aren’t always resentful. It’s not her fault that you only listen to the catchy break-up songs and ignore the rest of her tunes. Ever heard of Adam Young? You probably have. He goes by the name of Owl City and you have most likely heard his hit song “Fireflies” on the radio… at least once. Props to him for that awesome song. Enchanted is a love song that was written for him, –again-, instead of about him, and you may be wondering if they ever dated. They didn’t. It was just an innocent, strong crush. At first, Taylor wouldn’t spill the beans as to whom the song was about; all she kept saying was that the person she wrote it about would know because of the many hints she left. She described the encounter in detail and used words like ‘wonderstruck’ throughout the song. Taylor later said that she’d never heard anyone use that word but that person. People started to speculate and then something awesome happened: Adam made his own version of the song and redirected it to Taylor. He also left a message, and we’ll share the most important part of it with you:
(…) Everything about you is lovely. You’re an immensely charming girl with a beautiful heart and more grace and elegance than I know how to describe. You are a true princess from a dreamy fairy tale, and above all, I just want you to know… I was enchanted to meet you too. Love, Adam.”
It was beautiful and magical, and we all cried. Guess we’ll spend forever wondering if they’ll ever reconnect, date and make cute, cute babies.
Do you remember Taylor dating Connor Kennedy? It was brief and ended too soon but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Still, this beautiful song isn’t about him… it’s about his family. When he and Taylor dated, she became really close to Ethel Kennedy, wife of Robert F. Kennedy. The story, as told by her, started when she saw a family picture of two teens dancing around in what seemed like the 40’s. Taylor then saw they were actually Ethel and Bobby, and they looked like they were seventeen at the time. She didn’t know how they met or how their story unraveled, so she just made one up from the ideas she got from the photo. With lyrics that go “I met Bobby on the boardwalk, summer of ’45. Picked me up late one night out the window, we were 17 and crazy, running wild, wild. Can’t remember what song it was playing when we walked in; the night we snuck into a yacht club party pretending to be a duchess and a prince” among others, make this song marvelous and magical.
10. We’re Never Ever Getting Back Together
So this tune from Taylor’s Red album was the first single to top the charts. Back in 2012, Swift dated Jake Gyllenhaal, and there we were thinking we’d never hear Jaylor again (since she had dated Joe Jonas many years back). They eventually called it quits and we were hoping for Taylor to write him some lines to get an insight of what their romance was like. When Taylor first released this song, she said she didn’t want to be too cryptic as to who the inspiration was but she also didn’t want to give it all away so easily. All she wanted was to make a catchy song that would make it to the radio and drive the guy crazy. Guess she pretty much accomplished her goal, considering how long the song stayed in the top 10. She hasn’t officially stated the song is about him, but if you look at the video, it’s evident that it’s him. The actor playing Swift’s ex in the video resembles Gyllenhaal in a crazy way. Another thing that led us to believe the song is about him, is the many times Swift references “indie music” in the video since Jake had previously dated Indie music singers.
9. Forever and Always/Last Kiss/Holy Ground
Taylor’s Fearless album revolves around her relationship with Joe Jonas. There’s no hiding anything. He and Taylor dated for around four months and their love seemed to give hope to all of us. As many of you may know, he then broke up with her over the phone in a 28-second call. Ouch. Taylor wrote this song with feelings of betrayal and heartbreak and said it was about a love that was fading. Of course, Joe heard this and later said he felt flattered that she’d written about him. Two years after the release of Fearless, the Speak Now era came along with a song called Last Kiss, which was also about him. Discussing yet new things that happened in their past relationship. This song didn’t express resentment either, it was rather about being sad and still brokenhearted and it made us all cry. The part that goes “all that I know is I don’t know how to be something you miss” is simply too much for us. Wow. Two years later (this guy scored three songs!), and with the release of Red, Taylor gifted us with Holy Ground, which pretty much says Joe all over it, once again. This time, the song is hopeful, happy and thankful for the time they shared. Taylor and Joe rekindled their friendship a couple of years later when he dated Swift’s friend Gigi Hadid, and all is good again between the two.
8. Back To December
There’s always a first time for everything. This is an apology song, and we know you may be thinking Taylor is only good at complaining but she’s not. In this song, she opens up about a past relationship that went wrong because of her. Remember the movie Valentine’s Day? She and Taylor Lautner sparked dating rumors and Taylor Squared was officially all we daydreamed about. After some time, they eventually broke up. The fandom was officially grieving because we all thought they’d marry and make cute babies, but guess that will never happen now. Even when Taylor never admitted to writing this song about him, Taylor Lautner confirmed it was about him when doing a live interview. While promoting “Scream Queens” with his co-star Lea Michele, she said “You dated Taylor Swift; didn’t she write a song about you?” and then started to guess its name. He responded saying “it’s called Back To December”. If he hadn’t done that, there were still other ways to know it was about him. If you’re a creeper like us, you’ll see a key necklace hanging from Taylor’s lamp. Said necklace resembles the one Lautner usually wore. We’re not crying, you are.
When Taylor released her Red album, “22” was one of the singles she chose to make into a video. In several interviews she has claimned this song is about her friends. This is the moment she introduced us to her girl squad, which only keeps growing. If you’re a huge Swiftie, you’ll know Taylor leaves hidden messages in all of her song lyrics in the album art. You’re supposed to pin the uppercase letters and decipher the message in the end. The one you’ll find for this song is “Ashley, Dianna, Claire, Selena”. Many of her friends are featured in the video as well, which just makes it awesome. Among the friendly faces, there was Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl’s Vanessa), who said she had never had so much fun shooting because she did it with her real-life best friends. Friendship goals much?
This beautiful song from Taylor’s 1989 album is the last song. Its hidden message is “she lost him but she found herself and somehow that was everything”. Says a lot, doesn’t it? With the help of Imogen Heap, Taylor made this masterpiece that’s not only heartbreaking but empowering as well. It’s a song that has no muse… or, it does; it’s herself. This song is about her from her own perspective. Taylor had recently broken up with Harry Styles and was devastated. This was the song that helped her heal. She once admitted that she wrote this song because she’d been in London and had not thought about him, and that’s when she knew she would be okay. Harry seemed like an addiction, but she portrayed the whole break-up and moving on processes with such beautiful metaphors, we’re still crying over it.
5. Style/Out Of The Woods
Speaking of, these two songs have one common muse: Harry Styles. Taylor dated Harry for a while and we all died anytime photos of them made it online. When they broke up, it was only normal that there’d be a song or two written about him. Style pretty much gives it away with the title, and its lyrics tell you all you need to know. The lyric, “You got that long hair, slicked back white t-shirt”, says Harry Styles all over it. If all is true, Taylor pretty much explained this guy cheated on her, or so she felt. Ouch. However, we get to listen to Out Of The Woods next and slowly die. And, if this one isn’t obvious enough, there is also that famous line that goes: “your necklace hanging from my neck, the night we couldn’t quite forget, when we decided to move the furniture so we could dance, baby like we stood a chance, two paper airplanes flying”; if you do your stalker job properly, you’ll see they had paper airplane necklaces when they dated. Is your heart breaking? Because same.
4. Better Than Revenge
Even when this song was released in Taylor’s Speak Now album, this story goes back to the Fearless era. When Taylor dated Joe Jonas, something happened. Actress Camilla Belle got involved with him and was the reason for their breakup, so naturally, we’d have to find this out via Taylor. Better Than Revenge was a way of letting Camilla know that she wasn’t over the situation and she did an excellent job at it. Judge for yourself and listen to the harsh lyrics. “Sophistication isn’t what you wear or who you know or pushing people down to get you where you wanna go… they didn’t teach you that in prep school so it’s up to me. No amount of vintage dresses gives you dignity” and “stealing other people’s toys on the playground won’t make you many friends” are two of the lines that we love the most. One other thing that happens in this storyline is the end of the song. (When Taylor and Joe broke up, he was still part of the Jonas Brothers, and they wrote a song about her called “Much Better”. We are sure of this because of the line “Now I’m done with superstars, and all the tears on her guitar (Taylor’s song duh), I’m not bitter”). When Better Than Revenge is reaching its ending, Taylor sings “show me how much better you are”, which is directed at Joe. Smart move, Taylor.
3. Bad Blood
This online “beef”, as many people call it, is between Katy Perry and Taylor. So obviously, the muse behind this song is Katy. It all started because Taylor was on tour, and suddenly her backup dancers left to dance for Katy Perry’s tour. Taylor felt betrayed and had no dancers for her tour, so eventually, she decided to write a song about it. In this song, Taylor invites her girl squad 2.0 to join her in the music video. The video features the friendly faces of Jessica Alba, Cara Delevingne, Lily Aldridge, Gigi Hadid, and Selena Gomez, among many others. This fight has been ongoing through the years, as “Swish Swish” is a Katy Perry song that people have speculated is about her. However, Taylor has been silent for months now, so we have no idea where she is at, what she’s up to, or if she even cares.
2. Dear John
We think this is one of the most obvious Taylor Swift songs. It’s not as sweet as the Dear John movie though… it’s actually a little too harsh? Taylor dated singer John Mayer in 2010, and they even collaborated on a song together before that! Couple goals? Even with their notable age difference, the two looked like they were in love and when they broke up, we knew it’d be catastrophic because both were singers. It was catastrophic, and we both loved and hated it. Taylor came up with this song for her Speak Now album where she says “you paint me a blue sky, then go back and turn it to rain” and “I took your matches before fire could catch me so don’t look now, I’m shining like fireworks over your sad empty town”. That has to hurt. John Mayer said he felt humiliated with the song and we thought it was over. It wasn’t. He, years later then released his song “Paper Doll” where he sings “you’re like 22 girls in one” targeting her song 22, and “someone’s gonna paint you another sky” responding to the Dear John lyrics.
You had to see this one coming. This is the thing everyone was talking about in September 2009 after the Video Music Awards. When Taylor, 20, won her award, she was all set to give a heart-wrenching speech until Kanye, 32, took the microphone out of her hands and said Beyoncé should’ve won the award. All hell broke loose. Many people supported her that night and the days following the event, including Beyoncé, who let Taylor say some words when she won an award. It just felt like the world was going to end. Even Obama had something to say about the incident. Naturally, Taylor brushed it off in a song, which she titled Innocent. This song, which is featured in Swift’s Speak Now album, was released before the 2010 VMAs and Taylor decided to sing it live at the event. With lyrics that go “time turns flames to embers. You’ll have new Septembers. Every one of us has messed up too” and “who you are is not what you’ve been… you’re still an innocent. It’s okay, life is a tough crowd. 32, and still growin’ up now”, she made it clear who the song was about.
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