Theme and Songs
Theme is a tricky thing to talk about, especially when you are talking about the same writer. That is why it is great to look at Taylor Swift, who writes about so many different themes. It always helps to know about the author – which is another reason why Taylor is a good choice. Here are some of the different themes you will hear.
Taylor Swift Song Themes
• Loss of Innocence – “Dear John”
“You paint me a blue sky
And go back and turn it to rain
And I lived in your chess game
But you changed the rules everyday”
This song, that many claim is written about John Mayer, has a theme of losing innocence. The images within the song include chess games, rainy skies, fires, and Dear John letters. The song talks about how he took away her happiness and innocence.
• Friendship – “22”
“We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time
It’s miserable and magical.”
This song discusses the importance of being young, and having friends. The video strengthens the theme by having Taylor sing and dance with a bunch of her closest friends.
• Isolation – “The Outside”
“So how can I ever try to be better?
Nobody ever lets me in
I can still see you, this ain’t the best view
On the outside looking in”
In this song from Taylor’s first album, she talks about feeling left out at school – something many teenage girls can relate to. She references sitting on the outside, and not really having anyone around her.
• Family – “Best Day”
“It’s the age of princesses and pirate ships
And the seven dwarfs
And you’re the prettiest lady in the whole wide world”
In “Best Day,” Taylor talks about the importance of her family, and what they mean to her – specifically, her mother. The song chronicles her growth from a little girl to a woman in Hollywood.
• Hatred – “Bad Blood”
“Did you think we’d be fine? Still got scars on my back from your knife
So don’t think it’s in the past, these kinda wounds they last and they last now.”
This song was written about Taylor’s fight with Katy Perry. It discusses their fight over dancers, and how Taylor feels betrayed over Katy stealing her dancers while she was in the middle of her world tour. Taylor’s hatred of Katy comes through because she talks about being stabbed in the back, and says Katy hit her with bullets.
• Nostalgia – “Tim McGraw”
“But when you think Tim McGraw
I hope you think my favorite song
The one we danced to all night long
The moon like a spotlight on the lake”
In Taylor’s first hit song, she talks about the start of a relationship. She reminisces on the small things that make the relationship special, as she is letting her first love go. She recalls images that all people can remember about their first relationships, and the innocence that was there.
• The Perils of Fame – “Lucky One”
“They say you bought a bunch of land somewhere,
Chose the Rose Garden over Madison Square,
And it took some time, but I understand it now.”
In the height of the media making fun of her and turning on her, Taylor wrote this song about Joni Mitchell. She talks about all of the problems with being famous, and how one day she hopes she can escape.
• Growing Up – “Never Grow Up”
“So here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off
It’s so much colder that I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my night light on”
In another song where she chronicles her growth, Taylor talks about all of the things she learned while growing up: from the sound of her father coming up the driveway, to moving out on her own.
• Starting Again – “Welcome to New York”
“Walking through a crowd, the village is aglow
Kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats under coats
Everybody here wanted something more
Searching for a sound we hadn’t heard before”
In the first song off of her latest album, Taylor talks about starting over in a new city. She picks New York, and mentions many of the best things about the city – including the fact that you can start over and become someone new.
• Loss – “Ronan”
“I remember the drive home
When the blind hope turned to crying and screaming “Why?”
Flowers pile up in the worst way, no one knows what to say
About a beautiful boy who died”
In this song, about a young boy who died from cancer, Taylor talks about loss. She mentions all of the sadness that comes with his death, and the feeling of being completely alone. This song, which Taylor will not perform, was written in tribute to a young fan.