To all the boys who inspired this album, you should’ve known
Taylor Swift has opened up about the stories behind some of the songs on her new album, but there are a few questions still answered. Who is she really singing about? Joe? Taylor L? John? We investigated and told you a bit about it in the issue of Creme mag on sale now – there’s only so much you can fit onto a page though, so here’s Emma Clifton’s FULL investigation into Swifty’s songs….
In the lyrics that come with her CD, it’s Swifty’s style to always include a secret message for each song. We’ve included each lyrics hint so you can help solve the puzzle.
Taylor talks Speak Now:
“These songs are open letters. Each is written with a specific person in mind, telling them what I meant to tell them in person. To the beautiful boy whose heart I broke in December. To my first love who I never thought be my first heartbreak. To my band. To a mean man I used to be afraid of. To someone who made my world very dark for a while. To a girl who stole something of mine. To someone I forgive for what he said in front of the whole world.”
Lyrics hint: Toby
Taylor says: “It’s a song about somebody who’s been hurt by love – and has seen it fail over and over again – and then… finds it. Finds it and then has to work through the fact that she’s seen all of these people get their heart broken by love. And she has to realise that this time it’s worth fighting for.”
Puzzle solved? No. The Toby referred to is most likely Toby Hemingway, the blond cutie who plays her love interest in the music video for Mine who Taylor is rumoured to have dated. However, seeing as the song was written a while ago, it’s very unlikely he was the inspiration for the song itself. So who put his arm around her by the water? Was it one of Taylor’s other rumoured boyfriends – Cory Monteith, Joe Jonas, Taylor Lautner? We may never know.
Lyrics hint: Portland Oregon
Taylor says: “Sparks Fly is about falling for someone who you maybe shouldn’t fall for, but you can’t stop yourself because there’s such a connection and chemistry. This is a song I wrote a few years ago and I have been working on it ever since.”
Puzzle solved? Nope. Portland, Oregon refers to where the song was first performed waaay back in 2008, so there’s probably no romantic reason for that hint, it’s more of a shout out to the fans who heard it first. A clue for the guy who inspired the song lies in the line, “Get me with those green eyes, baby.” So who is the owner of these green eyes? We’re not sure! The only boy Taylor is confirmed to have dated in 2008 was Joe Jonas, but his eyes are brown…
Back to December
Lyrics hint: Tay
Taylor says, “The person I wrote this song about deserves this. This is about a person who was incredible to me, just perfect to me in a relationship, and I was really careless with him…This is a song full of words I would say to him.”
Puzzle solved: Ding ding ding! If you miss that golden time when Taylor Squared were a couple, turns out you’re not the only one. T & T first met in July when filming Valentine’s Day, and then were spotted on a series of dates from October – November. “You held me in your arms that September night, the first time you ever saw me cry,” no doubt refers to the infamous Kanye incident at the VMAs, as Taylor L was actually the one who presented the award to Swifty moments before Kanye stormed the stage. Rumour has it the Lautner was the one who comforted Taylor S backstage, and this song seems to confirm it. So what happened in December to make Swifty have a change of heart regarding the Lautner? The answer lies in her song Dear John…
Lyrics hint: You Always Regret What You Don’t Say
Puzzle solved: Yep! Back in October before her album came out, Taylor told the story of where the song Speak Now came from. “This song was inspired by my friend, who was telling me about her childhood sweetheart… they were together in high school but then went their separate ways, and I kind of understood they were always going to get back together. But one day she comes in and tells me, “He’s getting married!” He had met this girl, who’s this horrible, mean girl that made him stop talking to all his friends, cut off his family and had him so completely isolated. And I just randomly said, “Oh, are you going to speak now?” And she said, “What?” And I said, “You know, storm the church, ‘Speak now or forever hold your peace…’ I’ll come! I’ll play the guitar.” And then later I had a dream about one of my ex-boyfriends getting married and it just all came together and I wrote this song about interrupting a wedding.”
Lyrics hint: Loved You From The Very First Day
Taylor says: “When I was 12 years old, I was writing about my life and just because more people are now interested in the subject materials of these songs – a little more interested than when I was 12 – I’m still going to continue to write about my life. I guess people are going to continue to speculate about them, and I’m going to continue to never tell them what the song’s about!”
Puzzle solved: Totally. Taylor won’t ever admit it, but all signs point to John Mayer. The pair collaborated on his single Half of my Heart in mid 2009 and from December 2009 were rumoured to be dating. Yep, the same month things ended with Taylor Lautner. Perhaps this is the “careless” behaviour Swifty refers to in Back to December. Whatever went down, we now know it ended badly due to the beautiful-but-angry lyrics featured in this song, e.g. “Don’t you think 19’s too young to be played by your dark, twisted games?” Take that, Mayer.
Lyrics hint: I Thought You Got Me
Taylor says: “This happens…no matter what you do, no matter how old you are, no matter what your job is, no matter what your place is in life. There’s always going to be someone who’s just mean to you. Dealing with that is all you can control about that situation, how you handle it. Mean is about how I handle it, and sort of my mind set about this whole situation.”
Puzzle solved: Yes. Taylor has been very open about her history of being bullied at high school by her former friends and being labeled a ‘freak’ because of her music skills. The song is a great ode to the saying, “living well is the best revenge” because, frankly, who do you think is going to enjoy their high school reunion more – Taylor, or her bullies?
The Story of Us
Lyrics hint: CMT Awards
Taylor says: “I was at an awards show and there was a guy there – obviously, it all starts there doesn’t it? – and it was a guy I’d been in a relationship with. And we’d fallen out and then we end up at the same awards show and we’re both trying to act like we don’t care… And then afterwards, I just felt so empty. Like, we were both completely fighting this silent war of pretending we didn’t care that the other one was there. And I went home and wrote a song about it, and at that point I had a gut feeling that the album was finished.”
Puzzle solved: Yes. Taylor has admitted that The Story of Us and Dear John were written about the same person, and guess who was also in attendance at the CMA awards on the 9 June? John Mayer.
Never Grow Up
Lyrics hint: Moved Out In July
Puzzle solved? Yep! Taylor says the song is for her younger fans. “I look out into a crowd every night and I see a lot of girls that are my age and going through exactly the same things as I’m going through. Every once in a while I look down and I see a little girl who is seven or eight, and I wish I could tell her all of this. There she is becoming who she is going to be and forming her thoughts and dreams and opinions. I wrote this song for those little girls.”
Lyrics hint: Adam
Taylor says: “I wrote “Enchanted” about a guy who I was enchanted to meet, obviously. He was somebody that I had talked to a couple of times on email, and then I was in New York and went to meet him. I remember just the whole way home thinking, “I hope he’s not in love with somebody.” It was just wonderful, that feeling. Like, “Oh my gosh. Who’s he with? Does he like me? Does he like somebody else? What does it mean?” I got home and he had emailed me and said something like, “Sorry I was so quiet. I was just wonderstruck meeting you.” And so I incorporated the word wonderstruck, into the song as a, ‘Hey this one’s sorta for you.’”
Puzzle solved? 100%. Online speculation has already named the “Adam” in question as Adam Young, the voice behind Owl City. Taylor has been very vocal about her love for Owl City and the song talks about their first magical meeting in NYC.
Better Than Revenge
Lyrics hint: You Thought I Would Forget
Taylor says: “The song Better Than Revenge is about a girl, who a few years ago, stole my boyfriend. I think she probably thought I forgot about it, but I didn’t.”
Puzzle solved: Camilla Belle proves that it’s not only the boys that need to worry about getting on the wrong side of Taylor. Swifty’s stinging song about a man-stealing actress with a fondness for vintage dresses is apparently directed at Camilla, whom Joe Jonas dumped Taylor for after starring with Camilla in the music video for Love Bug. Ouch!
Lyrics hint: Life Is Full of Little Interruptions
Taylor says, “When it comes to performing songs I’ve written, any time I’m singing those words I’m back in the place where I was when I wrote that song.”
Taylor also said that she had heaps of options leading up to her performance at the VMAs, saying, “You can pretend that nothing happened last year, that everyone’s not thinking about it, or you can say what you need to say at the time you need to say it.”
Puzzle solved: Yes. Taylor’s performance of Innocent at the VMAs opened with a clip of the Kanye incident, and was Taylor’s only response to the event. She admits, “When I don’t know how I feel about something, I say nothing. And that’s what I did until I could come to the conclusion that I came to in order to write Innocent. Even then, I didn’t talk about it, and I still don’t really talk about it. I just thought it was very important for me to sing about it.”
Lyrics hint: Still To This Day
“Haunted” is about the moment that you realize the person you’re in love with is drifting and fading fast. And you don’t know what to do, but in that period of time, in that phase of love, where it’s fading out, time moves so slowly. Everything hinges on what that last text message said, and you’re realizing that he’s kind of falling out of love. That’s a really heartbreaking and tragic thing to go through, because the whole time you’re trying to tell yourself it’s not happening. I went through this, and I ended up waking up in the middle of the night writing this song about it.
Lyrics hint: Forever And Always
“The song “Last Kiss” is sort of like a letter to somebody. You say all of these desperate, hopeless feelings that you have after a breakup. Going through a breakup you feel all of these different things. You feel anger, and you feel confusion, and frustration. Then there is the absolute sadness. The sadness of losing this person, losing all the memories, and the hopes you had for the future.”
Lyrics hint: For You
“This song is about my band, and my producer, and all the people who have helped us build this brick by brick. The fans, the people who I feel that we are all in this together, this song talks about the triumphant moments that we’ve had in the last two years… It’s sort of the first love song that I’ve written to my team.”