What is Taypreciation?
It’s a little thing I started with a dear friend, fellow Swiftie as you might guess, to discover the earlier work of Taylor and to combat the late autumn dread and loneliness. We had our first session on 28th October and we have weekly phone calls where we appreciate the album like fancier people appreciate wine. It’s a great bonding experience and I full-heartedly recommend discovering albums with friends in such a way, you can learn a lot about each other and yourselves.
We did our Taypreciation session in the first week of November when I was already knee-deep in Nanowrimo and my Nanovel, Our Best Friend’s Alien Boyfriend (OBFABF) which is a very adolescence / secondary school themed story, so Fearless was a nice soundtrack for it. I wasn’t very well that week in my little soul, so a lot of the songs made me heart-broken. Listening to it again in a somewhat better state, I really don’t find it all that sad 😀
Wikipedia tells me that Fearless spent 11 weeks atop the US Billboard 200 and was the best-selling album of 2009 in the United States, making Swift—19 years old at the time—the youngest artist to have the best-selling album of a calendar year. – Wow, Taylor!
“And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance
in a storm in my best dress, fearless.”
It’s the title song and a single too, and yet I’d never heard before Taypreciation. Okay, that’s not true, it was an important song in the life of my writer friend and she showed it to me, but it didn’t stick with me. It’s a pleasant song about young love.
„I wonder if you know
I’m trying so hard not to get caught up now
But you’re just so cool, run your hands through your hair
Absentmindedly making me want you.”
Yeah, the running hands through the hair is a thing boys do and they have no idea how attractive it can be. 😀 Yes, my characters do it a lot and I’m not sorry.
It’s a nice song, but a bit young for my current taste. The “early stage of love” songs of Lover are closer to me.
“’Cause when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You’re gonna believe them
And when you’re fifteen
Feeling like there’s nothing to figure out
Well count to ten, take it in
This is life before you know who you’re gonna be”
My notes from the original Taypreciation: “This somehow breaks my heart and makes me want to cry. Very OBFABF. Nostalgic and innocent.”
It went right away to the Spotify playlist of OBFABD (If you want to listen to it, you can do it here.)
The four years of high school was a magical period for me. Although I didn’t find true love, I was always in love with someone (unrequited of course). It was an era of innocence when the smallest thing could make me happy.
One of my most cherished memories was the last week before the summer holiday of the second year, we were sitting in the park, listening to Dakota by Stereophonics under the window of my crush’s class. The sun was shining I was with my friends and at peace with the world and my crush dropped a football out of the window and looked down on us smiling. He is the only crush I still find cute and don’t feel ashamed of my feelings. Anyhow at that moment I felt on the top of the world. I don’t know what happened to the football btw. Did I take it up? Did he come down for it? No idea.
Fifteen brings back this high school mood, but also gives me pangs of nostalgia because those innocent days are gone.
“When you’re fifteen and your first kiss
Makes your head spin round but
In your life you’ll do things greater than dating the boy of the football team
But I didn’t know it at fifteen”
“And Abigail gave everything she had to a boy
Who changed his mind and we both cried.”
Okay, I’m crying on this one again. Because that’s how intense high school friendship are and I had some great friendships and I thought we would be together forever. They turned out to be not that great friends and I don’t even speak to most of them. This is something that haunted me for a looong time, even I think one year ago. There is something so intense in high school friendships that I thought I would never be this close to anyone again.
Yet I’ve just realised that this year my friendship levelled up with a handful of my friends. We talked about painful things; we laughed about silly things and I feel like some of that lost innocence has come back.
So thank you, girls :3
3. Love story (single)
“Romeo, save me. I’ve been feeling so alone.
I keep waiting for you, but you never come.
Is this in my head? I don’t know what to think.”
Original notes: I really like this song, I’ve known it before. Also makes me sad. ( <<<Shows that I was really not in a good place)
It’s one of the songs I’ve known for a while and I really like it. This one also has some literary references to Romeo&Juliet and the Scarlet Letter which shows Taylor’s passion for literature. Interesting to see that in the beginning she still has very “young” references, I mean poems and stories that likely have been compulsory readings in high school (This is NOT a read, I did the exact same thing when I started out, it’s natural) but if you compare it with more recent songs like the lakes on folklore, so that they’re more sophisticated J. (“Tell me what’s my words worth” and “Take me to the Lakes where all poets went to die”)
4. Hey, Stephen
“’Cause I can’t help it if you look like an angel
Can’t help it if I wanna kiss you in the rain so
Come feel this magic
I’ve been feeling since I met you”
“But I never seen nobody shine the way you do
The way you walk, way you talk, way you say my name”
I forgot how much I liked this song when I first heard it. (It was for the Taypreciation session, I hadn’t known it before.) It’s such a playful song, a version on first love and the sort of “Hey, my guy, I’m right here by your side, how can you not notice me” theme. The feeling this song gives me is present in many of my own stories, the first glimmering days of a crush and also liking a boy who is very popular.
“Of all the girls tossing rocks at your window
I’ll be the one waiting there even when it’s cold.”
The popular guy who everybody wants comes up in SuperStar too ( a bonus track from Fearless) and also more recently in gold rush where she has a very different tone. (“I don’t like that anyone would die to feel your touch, everybody wants you, everybody wonders what it would be like to love you.) (Guess what, I LOVE gold rush.)
“All those other girls, well, they’re beautiful.
but would they write a song for you? “ << Story of my life 😀
This song wormed itself so much in my head that I created a character called Stephen in OBFABF so that Juniper could say Hey, Stephen. Later he actually had a role, so it wasn’t at all useless 😀 Voilá a little sneak peak:
The following Friday I was sitting in the class reading a fascinating biography of Ada Lovelace when a packet of baby carrots swam into my view.
“Hey Stephen,” I said. I was surprised to realise I wasn’t even upset he interrupted my reading.
“If you want to stay with Ada instead of chatting with me, that’s completely fine. You can keep the snack though.”
“No, it’s okay. Ada can wait.” A sentence I never thought would leave my mouth.
He seemed relieved and threw himself on the chair in front of me.
“How are things going with Leslie?”
“I’ve decided to wait a little. Showing her the calculator thing seemed a bit stalkerish on second thought and the math-y compliments weren’t a great idea either.”
Surprising insight from a boy of out age.
I sighed too. I really started doing it more these days, was I becoming some romantic heroine?
“I wish I could tell you something useful, but you probably picked the single worst person to be your relationship adviser. I might actually be some kind of anti-talent, judging from the fact that I’m sitting alone in class while literally all my friends are making out with each other somewhere.”
There was this strange moment then. I caught Stephen looking at my lips. He looked away immediately, but I still saw it. I don’t even know if he did it on purpose or subconsciously. What was really interesting that I didn’t have the reflex of flipping the table on him. It was actually a pleasant feeling, a sort of tickling.”
5. White Horse (Single)
“I was a dreamer before you went and let me down.”
“This is a big world,
that was a small town
There in my rear view mirror disappearing now
And it’s too late for you and your white horse
Now it’s too late for you and your white horse
To catch me now.”
It feels like a continuation of the previous two songs. The white horse suggests a prince which metaphor is later explicitly said in the chorus “I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairytale” vs “You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess” of Love Story. There are also the angel eyes from Hey, Stephen, but now in a different context.
“Cause I can’t help if you look like an angel (HS) vs “Say sorry that face of an angel” (WH)
“It talks about falling in love and the fairy tales that you are going to have with this person, and then there is that moment where you realize that it is not going to happen. That moment is the most earth shattering moment.” Taylor said to Billboard magazine. (Found the quote on Genius next to the lyrics)
I have also recently discovered the importance of Track 5 on Taylor album’s which are lyrical, emotional songs usually about a heart-wrenching episode in her life. You can read more about it in this article.
6. You belong with me (Single)
“Laughing on a park bench thinking to myself
“Hey, isn’t this easy?”
And you’ve got a smile
That can light up this whole town
This brings back so many memories. It’s one of the rare songs I knew and liked when I was in high school. I had a crush on someone who, it turned out, was already in a relationship. Of course, I was convinced that I would be a better choice, but I’m SO happy he married the other girl, it just wouldn’t have worked J
Hands down my favourite from the “I want to be your girlfriend” songs.
“People are people and sometimes we change our minds
But it’s still killing me to see you go after all this time.”
“Never a clean break,no one here to save me
You’re the only thing I know like the back of my hand.”
After two lines I already know it’s heart-break central. I feel like this song is about a break up where people still love each other but it just doesn’t work out. I think that’s the most heart-wrenching of all scenarios because it’s easier to walk out on someone who has been an asshole than to say look we’re both nice people this just doesn’t work anymore. This is one of my favourite “sad break-up songs” from her. Having said that I don’t listen to it a lot because it’s too sad and resonates with me too much, so I don’t want to go there.
In Taylor’s own words to That’s Country :
“A song about having to say goodbye to somebody, but it never blames anybody. Sometimes that’s the most difficult part. When it’s nobody’s fault.”
8. Tell me why
“You could write a book on how to ruin someone’s perfect day.”
My original notes: Nope. This song just skips my mind. Listened to it 3 times and I still have no memories of it. Apparently I’m not the only one, this is the least researched lyrics from the album.
I misheard the line “I need you like a heartbeat”, thought it was “I need you like a heartbreak” – fits my emo mood more. I like the banjo in it. This song reminds me of Avril a bit, in the energy and the melody. (I mean this is a very Complicated mood:
“I’m sick and tired of your attitude
I’m feeling like I don’t know you
You tell me that you love me,
then cut me down”)
9. You’re not sorry
“You’re looking so innocent,
I might believe you if I didn’t know
Could’ve loved you all my life if you hadn’t left me waiting in the cold
And you’ve got your share of secrets
And I’m tired of being last to know.”
“You used to shine so bright and I watched it all fade.”
Another song for the angel-faced assholes. (Cf White horse) I didn’t remember this song, but it’s good. A powerful break-up song.
10. The way I loved you
This song also reminded me of Avril’s Complicated, not only in the reference to the ex’s problematic character, but also in the music. In my head, this is sort of Taylor’s answer to that song. (I know I know, I have this tendency of finding connections where there are none, but that’s how I work. Actual textual proof: “Just so frustrating ,Intoxicating, complicated)
The new boyfriend is so OBFABF Robert that it’s ridiculous 😀
“He is sensible and so incredible
And all my single friends are jealous
He says everything I need to hear and it’s like
I couldn’t ask for anything better”
“He’s close to my mother
talks business with my father
he’s charming and endearing
and I’m comfortable.”
This kind of song always makes me wonder how it feels like to have such a passionate (and destructive) relationship. But well that’s my fault I always went for the sweet guys J
11. Forever & Always
“‘Cause it seems to me this thing is breaking down
We almost never speak
I don’t feel welcome anymore
Baby, what happened?
Please tell me’
Cause one second it was perfect,
now you’re halfway out the door.”
“Oh and it rains in your bedroom.
everything is wrong.
It rains when you’re here
“Was I out of line?
Did I say something way too honest,
made you run and hide
Like a scared little boy?”
I didn’t think much of this song on the first listen, but now I like it quite a lot. It has happened to be more than once that I felt like things were going well with someone and then suddenly you find yourself against a cold shoulder. I can definitely sympathise.
Fun fact: Again something happens on a Tuesday, it seems to be a recurring day, as 2. AM is a recurring time.
Taylor said about the song that: “rejection, for me, usually starts out sad and then gets mad. This song starts with this pretty melody that’s easy to sing along with, then in the end I’m basically screaming it because I’m so mad. I’m really proud of that.”
12. The Best Day
“And now I know why all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
For staying back and watching me shine.”
A sweet song about Taylor’s parents. I’m very happy for her that she comes from such a sweet, supportive family, it’s very important for an artist. I listen to this song the bare minimum or else it makes me cry.
“Tonight we stand, get of our knees
Fight for what we’ve worked for all these years
And the battle was long, it’s the fight of our lives
But we’ll stand up champions tonight.”
One of my favourites from the album, full of hope and energy. We listened to it just before the American elections and it gave hope. It reminds me of the song that is featured in Miss Americana, „Only the Young,” empowering the youth for action.
To me it’s clearly a political song, but apparently it wasn’t the original intent, Taylor wanted it as an “underdog story” about her rise to the spotlight. Apparently it was also a song chosen to be played at the Olympic Games which a hue thing. (Info from here)