Tuesday, December 29, 2009

FIFTEEN by Taylor Swift (my thoughts)

I was listening to this song and I had a few thoughts.

There are three people in this song, the SINGER, ABIGAIL and an unnamed person referred to as YOU.

VERSE 1 is about YOU as YOU walks through her first day of school in her freshman year. It describes YOU’s insecurities on that day. NOTE: Most freshman are 14 years old. I wonder why the characters in this song are fifteen. Did they fail a previous grade? Are they simply old for their year?

Chorus 1 is about some future event after the first day of school mentioned in VERSE 1 when a na├»ve girl believes the insincere words of a boy. This is where the song becomes confusing to me. Who is the SINGER talking to? Is ‘you’ a general reference to people (i.e. ‘Cause when a person in general is fifteen, they are going to naively believe when a boy tells her that he loves her) or is it to the YOU in the song (the person referenced in verse 1). At this point in the song we still don’t know.

Verse 2 communicates when YOU meets a girl named ABIGAIL and they become best friends. The second half of verse 2 is about YOU’s first date. She is swept away with the excitement of being infatuated with a boy. It is insinuated that the mom disapproves and doesn’t like the choices being made by the simple phrase “mamma’s waiting up”. This brings up a thought. It is insinuated that the fifteen-year-old girl in this song is a victim of a senior boy’s selfishness and lies. But isn’t there a mother that disapproved of the relationship? Assuming the mother was doing what mother’s are supposed to do, why didn’t the girl listen to the counsel of her mother? Is the fifteen-year-old girl in this story really a victim of the boy’s selfishness or is she merely reaping the consequences for poor decisions?

The second half of chorus 2 connects the chorus to the YOU character. YOU’s experience with the boy is further elaborated. There is a kiss, maybe during the first date mentioned in verse 2 or maybe subsequent to that date. And the boy is on the football team. It is also insinuated that dating a boy on a football team is a trite and meaningless thing.

Verse 3 is confusing. It introduces the SINGER, “I”, into the song. Who is SINGER and where was she for the first two verses and the first two choruses. Why does SINGER cry with ABIGAIL? I thought that YOU was bests friends with ABIGAIL?

I like this song. I really do, regardless of its perspective problems. Why didn’t a producer listen to these lyrics and think, “Hmm, the lyrics should be fixed. They don’t really make sense.”

This is my resolution to the perspective problems. The SINGER and YOU are the same person. Perhaps, the SINGER is singing in front of a mirror, singing to a reflection of herself. And when an emotionally powerful part of the song comes, SINGER is unable to continue singing about it in the second person and she is forced, by the swell of emotion, to include herself in the first person, therefore introducing the “I”. How do you like my resolution to the perspective problem? With my resolution, there are only two people, the SINGER/YOU is one person and ABIGAIL is the second.

Another assumption is that ABIGAIL’s story and SINGER/YOU’s story parallel each other with the exception that SINGER/YOU didn’t give everything she had to a boy; ABIGAIL did. So in the chorus, when it is stated, “Cause when your fifteen, somebody tells you they love you, your gonna believe them”, it, at least, refers to SINGER/YOU and ABIGAIL.

Below, I’ve included the lyrics and the guitar chords for easy reference.

Fifteen by Taylor Swift

(G C Em C)

(Verse 1)

You take a deep breath and you walk through the doors

It’s the morning of your very first day (G C Em C)

You say hi to your friends you ain’t seen in a while

Try and stay out of everybody’s way (G C Em C)

It’s your freshman year and you’re gonna be here

For the next four years in this town (G C Em C)

Hoping one of those senior boys will wink at you and say

You know I haven’t you seen you around before (G C Em C)

(Chorus 1)

‘Cause when you’re fifteen

Somebody tells you they love you

You’re gonna believe them (G Em D C)

And when you’re fifteen feeling like

There’s nothing to figure out but (G D Em C)

Count to ten, take it in

This is life before you know who you’re gonna be (Em D G D C D)


(Verse 2)

You sit in class next to a redhead named Abigail

And soon enough you’re best friends (G C Em C)

Laughing at the other girls who think they’re so cool

We’ll be out of here as soon as we can (G C Em C)

And then you’re on you’re on your very first date

And he’s got a car and you’re feeling like flying (G C Em C)

And you’re mamma’s waiting up and you’re thinking he’s the one

And you’re dancing ‘round your room when the night ends

When the night ends (G C Em C)

(Chorus 2)

‘Cause when you’re fifteen

Somebody tells you they love you

You’re gonna believe them (G Em D C)

And when you’re fifteen and your first kiss

Makes your head spin round but (G D Em C)

In your life you’ll do things greater than

Dating the boy on the football team

But I didn’t know it at fifteen (Em D G D C D)



When all you wanted was to be wanted

Wish you could go back

And tell yourself what you know now (C Em D G D C D)

(Verse 3)

Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday

But I realized some bigger dreams of mine (G C Em C)

And Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind

And we both cried (G C Em C)

(Chorus 3)

‘Cause when you’re fifteen

Somebody tells you they love you

You’re gonna believe them (G Em D C)

And when you’re fifteen

Don’t forget to look before you fall (G D Em C)

I’ve found time can heal most anything

And you just might find who you’re supposed to be (Em D G D C)

I didn’t know who I was supposed to be

At fifteen (Em D C D)

La la la la la la (G C Em C)

Your very first day

Take a deep breath girl

Take a deep breath as you walk through the doors

1 comment:

  1. if I could go back to when I was fifteen, I would change a lot things that I did wrong