Taylor Alison Swift is infamous for many things. Aside from being a 10-time Grammy award winner and Billboard’s Artist of the Decade, she is known as a prolific singer-songwriter, (composing lyrics that emotionally connect with people of all ages) as well as an avid cat lover. She is a champion for female artists in the music industry and is outspoken about artists deserving the right to own their masters. Her Reputation Stadium Tour broke the record for the highest grossing U.S. tour in history, and her outstanding list of achievements and accomplishments is ever expanding.
Taylor has been an inspiration of mine since I was 9 years old. She learned guitar and starting making music from a very young age, which I’ve always admired. She started out just as a girl with a guitar and over the course of many years, (through talent and hard work) has risen to the top to become the superstar that she is now. Through it all she has never lost sight of her passion for music, or taken for granted the fans that helped make her so successful. Her dedication to her craft, as well as her humbleness and perseverance despite the obstacles she has faced in her career, are just some of the many of the reasons why she is my role model and why I love her.
To celebrate Taylor’s 30th birthday, I have compiled a list of 13 of my personal all time favorite Taylor Swift lyrics (numbered from most recent to least recent in no particular order, not ranked from best to least). Let’s take a look at some of the best songs that Taylor has gifted us over the course of her 13 year career.
The bridge in ‘Lover‘ is one of the best parts of the song. The instrumentals that play throughout this piece gives the feeling of dancing the waltz with your loved one, and provides a romantic and dreamy feeling. The sentence structure and words used in this verse are reminiscent to a wedding vow, which conveys the wonderful feeling of finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
“Ladies and gentlemen, will you please stand?
With every guitar string scar on my hand
I take this magnetic force of a man to be my lover
My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue
All’s well that ends well to end up with you
Swear to be overdramatic and true to my lover
And you’ll save all your dirtiest jokes for me
And at every table, I’ll save you a seat, lover”
In this song Taylor admits her faults and insecurities. The verse helps us envision the complexities and extremes of the spectrum of love. It describes how love can be irrational when there is a lot of passion between two people. Love is a powerful weapon and you can often unintentionally hurt those you really care about.
“I blew things out of proportion, now you’re blue
Put you in jail for something you didn’t do
I pinned your hands behind your back, oh
Thought I had reason to attack, but no
Fighting with a true love is boxing with no gloves
Chemistry ’til it blows up, ’til there’s no us
Why’d I have to break what I love so much?
It’s on your face, and I’m to blame”
3. Cornelia Street
‘Cornelia Street’ is written in classic Taylor Swift storytelling style. Listeners can visualize how the relationship between Taylor and her boyfriend unfolded based on the description she provides with her lyrics. Their romance is described as being new and is compared to a spontaneous story that is in the process of being written.
“We were in the backseat
Drunk on something stronger than the drinks in the bar
‘I rent a place on Cornelia Street’
I say casually in the car
We were a fresh page on the desk
Filling in the blanks as we go
As if the street lights pointed in an arrowhead
Leading us home”
4. Dancing with Our Hands Tied
This song describes the feeling of having to hide your relationship. Taylor describes her fears and worries about how to keep her relationship safe while maintaining her privacy from the public. Her description depicts the types of obstacles she would be willing to go through just to be with the person she loves.
“I’d kiss you as the lights went out
Swaying as the room burned down
I’d hold you as the water rushes in
If I could dance with you again”
The bridge of ‘Dress’ is arguably the most powerful part of the song. The verse is filled visual imagery that makes references to meeting her boyfriend at the 2016 Met Gala. The lyrics perfectly describe what it’s like to meet someone who understands you and accepts you for who you are, flaws and all.
“Flashback when you met me
Your buzzcut and my hair bleached
Even in my worst times, you could see the best of me
Flashback to my mistakes
My rebounds, my earthquakes
Even in my worst light, you saw the truth of me
And I woke up just in time
Now I wake up by your side
My one and only, my lifeline
I woke up just in time
Now I wake up by your side
My hands are shaking, and I can’t explain this”
‘Clean’ tells of the process of healing and getting over the end of a relationship. There are comparisons to a dark thunderstorm used to describe the initial turmoil that exists along with the sudden changes that come with leaving a relationship. Imagery is used to portray the feeling of being “dirty” and “suffocating” which is then followed by ease of “breathing” and being “clean” when Taylor has finally overcome her heartbreak.
“Hung my head as I lost the war
And the sky turned black like a perfect storm
Rain came pouring down
When I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe
And by morning
Gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean”
7. All Too Well
This song is a literary masterpiece that talks of Taylor mentally retracing the moments she had with her past boyfriend. She makes genius comparisons between the feeling of heartbreak with that of a broken promise. There is an abundant use of metaphors as a literary device to beautifully tell the story of the aftermath of a relationship.
“Maybe we got lost in translation, maybe I asked for too much
But maybe this thing was a masterpiece ’til you tore it all up
Running scared, I was there, I remember it all too well
Hey, you call me up again just to break me like a promise
So casually cruel in the name of being honest
I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here
‘Cause I remember it all, all, all too well”
‘Red’ perfectly describes the various emotions that you can feel when you’re in love with another person. In this song, Taylor associates each feeling with a different color: passion is red, loneliness is grey, while sorrow is blue. She helps give a physical representation of our inner thoughts.
“Losing him was blue like I’d never known
Missing him was dark grey, all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met
But loving him was red “
9. Dear John
Taylor was only 20 years old when she released her entirely self-written album ‘Speak Now’. One of those tracks included ‘Dear John’ and utilizes metaphors to portray Taylor reflecting back on a previous relationship. The references to matches, fire, and fireworks shows how she learned from her past relationship and grew from it.
“You are an expert at sorry,
And keeping the lines blurry
Never impressed by me acing your tests
All the girls that you’ve run dry
Have tired, lifeless eyes
‘Cause you burned them out
But I took your matches before fire could catch me,
So don’t look now, I’m shining like fireworks over your sad, empty town”
10. If This Was A Movie
This song is another one from the iconic ‘Speak Now’ album. Similar to its title, the description of the lyrics allows listeners to see the song come to life like an actual movie. The details that Taylor sings about, describe the sounds she heard, the emotions she felt, as well as the thoughts that she had inside her head. The song helps portray the feeling of heartache and nostalgia, reminiscing about a lost love.
“Last night I heard my own heart beating
Sounded like footsteps on my stairs
Six months gone and I’m still reaching
Even though I know you’re not there
I was playing back a thousand memories, baby
Thinking ’bout everything we’ve been through
Maybe I’ve been going back too much lately
When time stood still and I had you”
11. Long Live
Not only are the lyrics in this song magical, but the meaning behind it is extra sweet. ‘Long Live’ was written by Taylor for her team (band, producers etc) and her fans as a way to commemorate the memories that they’ve built together. It tells a story of fighting and struggling through obstacles in order to reach the top, and serves as a metaphor for the legacy that Taylor built with everyone that has ever supported her throughout her career.
“Long live the walls we crashed through
All the kingdom lights shined just for me and you
I was screaming, “long live all the magic we made”
And bring on all the pretenders
I’m not afraid
Long live all the mountains we moved
I had the time of my life
Fighting dragons with you
I was screaming, “long live the look on your face”
And bring on all the pretenders
One day we will be remembered”
‘Innocent’ is about forgiveness, and learning and growing from our mistakes. In the song, Taylor acknowledges her faults and recognizes that everyone is human, and therefore subject to imperfection. She uses a simile to compare the fickleness of human nature to the weather and a fire burning out.
“Time turns flames to embers
You’ll have new Septembers
Every one of us has messed up too
Lives change like the weather
I hope you remember
Today is never too late to
Be brand new”
13. Last Kiss
Last but not least, the lyrics in ‘Last Kiss’ cut extremely deep. Whether or not you’ve experienced heartbreak before, the detail in the words for this song help you feel the heartache Taylor felt after she parted ways with her boyfriend. The narration is extremely specific, which makes it easy to see the story line unfold in our imaginations. The concept of the unpredictability of relationships and losing people we always thought would remain in our lives is extremely relatable, which makes this song so meaningful.
“So I’ll watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep
And I feel you forget me like I used to feel you breathe
And I’ll keep up with our old friends just to ask them how you are
Hope it’s nice where you are
And I hope the sun shines
And it’s a beautiful day
And something reminds you
You wish you had stayed
You can plan for a change in weather and time
But I never planned on you changing your mind”
Do you have a favorite Taylor song that wasn’t included in the list? Let us know what you think are Taylor’s best lyrics by commenting down below or tweeting us at @thehoneypop on Twitter!
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Featured image source: Christopher Polk/Variety/Shutterstock