Swift’s six serious relationships
Laura Myers | Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Taylor Swift has always been famous for singing about her relationships, from the very real aspects to the very imaginary. She does the same on “Speak Now,” with songs inspired by some of her famous boyfriends. I won’t be getting into that — much. I’d rather answer the question I’ve heard several people ask, which is how she managed so many relationships in her 16 small-town years. The answer: she didn’t. If you look at the themes of her songs from her debut album, “Taylor Swift,” her next album, “Fearless,” and even a few tracks on “Speak Now,” you see a few common themes that give away a fairly small number of pre-fame flings.
Relationship 1: The passenger seat
Let’s be honest, this girl has a pretty traditional sense of who should be driving the car. Either that, or this particular relationship transpired before Taylor was old enough to have a driver’s license. In “I’d Lie,” an early song not on an album, Swift pines after a boy who says he’ll never fall in love — as she sits in his passenger seat. Cut from there to “Fearless,” in which she has managed to corral this boy and is now out on a first date with him — sitting in his passenger seat. Then you get to “Our Song,” where she is once again in his front seat, returning from a date further along in the relationship. But finally, she gets fed up with this antifeminist relationship, or she turns 16. She recounts in “Picture to Burn” how very angry she is at her teenage lover for not allowing her to drive his truck. Next!
Relationship 2: The shiny guy
Good thing this one happened way before Taylor Lautner, because we all know how he feels about men who sparkle. I hate that I even understand that reference. Anyway, we know from “Hey Stephen” that this bright spot is Stephen, a man shinier than any other Taylor has met. We are part of the experience as she tries to grab him like a raccoon does a piece of tinfoil. She tries to convince him to be with her in “Hey Stephen” and again in “Jump Then Fall,” saying that if he shines, she will too. Pretty cool promise right there. But eventually, as we see in “You’re Not Sorry,” waiting around for him gets pretty dull. Next.
Relationship 3: The fairy tale
Ignoring how a boy wearing a dark gray T-shirt, making you clearly overdressed in comparison, counts as a fairy tale, or how being Romeo and Juliet could ever be a good thing, we can look at the relationship that exists only in Taylor’s mind. First, you have the wonderfully illiterate “Love Story,” followed by “Long Live” on her new album. The prince and princess become the king and queen. You can add “Mine” to this fantasy category as well, as it tells a very similar story. But the fantasy comes crashing down in “White Horse,” when she realizes life is not a fairy tale, and starts to see reality. Which brings us to the next relationship:
Relationship 4: The unrequited love
This one has a pretty clear trail through all three albums. Taylor’s first big hit, “Teardrops on My Guitar,” is all about unrequited love, as she longs for a guy who is unavailable. She continues her sad tale in “You Belong With Me,” and imagines a happy ending that won’t actually happen in “Speak Now.” Bet that guy feels pretty stupid about now. Because look who the woman he spurned is now dating:
Relationship 5: The celebrities
I didn’t want to go into this, but seven minutes explaining why it was dumb to fall for John Mayer? Really? Taylor, I think you’re fantastic, but there’s a certain sales threshold at which I’m allowed to mock your pain, if just a little bit. Plus, your mom was against it, which leads to the last relationship:
Relationship 6: The family
Probably everyone’s favorite of Taylor’s relationships, and certainly the most stable. Tell me you don’t tear up every time you listen to “The Best Day.” And while I already mentioned it once above, part of me likes to think “Long Live” is also a tribute to her family and friends, with a clever reference to “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” in which the four siblings become kings and queens. And if you’ve gotten this far into this story, you’re probably not surprised by the level of over-thinking that went into that statement.
The little black dress and the emotional qualities of rain are too ubiquitous to classify into one relationship. But we have plenty of both here in South Bend, so Taylor, if you need any material you should look no further than another visit to Notre Dame. And I hope you took all of this in the good fun it was written in, though I’d be really impressed if you found something to rhyme with Laura.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. Contact Laura Myers at [email protected]