(Taylor Swift, Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey)
This is a song about the fearlessness of falling in love. No matter how many break up songs you write, no matter how many times you get hurt, you will always fall in love again. When I wrote “Fearless,” I wasn’t dating anyone. I wasn’t even in the beginning stages of dating anybody. I really was all by myself out on tour and I got this idea for a song about the best first date. I think sometimes when you’re writing love songs, you don’t write them about what you’re going through at the moment, you write about what you wish you had. So, this song is about the best first date I haven't had yet.
I wrote this around the story line of my best friend from high school, Abigail. I started everything with the line “Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind” and wrote everything else from that point, almost backwards. I just decided I really wanted to tell that story about our first year of high school because I felt in my freshman year, I grew up more than any year in my life so far.
This is a song I wrote when I was dating a guy who wasn't exactly the popular choice. His situation was a little complicated, but I didn't care. I started this song with the line "This love is difficult, but it's real." When I wrote the ending to this song, I felt like it was the ending every girl wants to go with her love story. It’s the ending that I want. You want a guy who doesn’t care what anyone thinks, what anyone says. He just says, “Marry me, Juliet, I love you, and that’s all I really know.” It’s sort of told in a character kind of thing, where it’s Romeo and Juliet, and it’s not me saying that I’m getting married or anything...but I think it’s fun to write about it.
We were recording at John McBride’s (Martina McBride’s husband’s) studio and he was like, ‘My kids are dying to meet you. Do you think that you could say hi to them?’ I said, ‘Sure, have them come and hang out while we’re recording.’ So his daughters and their friends from school – there were about ten of them there – they all came into the studio when we were recording “Hey Stephen” and they loved it. They were singing along with it by the end of it.
(Taylor Swift, Liz Rose)
I actually wasn’t going to put this song on the album. I was going to wait for the third album because I really felt like we had the “sadness” represented on this record. Then my agency out in LA set up a meeting with executive producers Betsy Beers and Shonda Rhimes at Grey’s Anatomy because that’s my favorite show. It would just be a dream come true to have a song on it. So, I played them “White Horse.” It was just me and my guitar and they freaked out. They loved it. They said, “We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.” For a while, we didn’t know if we were going to put it on the record because if it wasn’t going to be on the show, then we weren’t going to put it on the album. Then they called and said they were very interested in the song. We recorded it right away, sent it off to them, and they put it in!
To me, “White Horse” is about what, in my opinion, is the most heart-breaking part of a break-up – that moment when you realize that all the dreams you had, all those visions you had of being with this person, all that disappears. Everything after that moment is moving on.. But that initial moment of "Wow, it's over" is what I wrote "White Horse" about.
You Belong With Me
(Taylor Swift, Liz Rose)
I came into the writing session with Liz Rose and said….I’ve got this idea. I had overheard a friend of mine talking to his girlfriend and he was completely on the defensive saying, “No, baby...I had to get off the phone really quickly...I tried to call you right back...Of course I love you. More than anything! Baby, I’m so sorry.” She was just yelling at him! I felt so bad for him at that moment.
So I came up with the first line “You’re on the phone with your girlfriend, she’s upset, going off about something that you said,” and I ran that into the story line that I’m in love with him and he should be with me instead of her. It just became this whole picture. It was really fun for us to write the line, “She wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts.”
(Taylor Swift, Colbie Calliat)
It’s 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.
I was a huge fan of Colbie’s record. When it came out, I fell in love with the way that she makes music. I contacted her management right away and I asked if I could write with her and, sure enough, Colbie had a date coming up in Nashville where she was going to be playing a show and she had the day off. I think she sounds beautiful on it. I’m so excited to have her voice on my album.
Tell Me Why
(Taylor Swift, Liz Rose)
I’d been talking to a guy I’ve never “officially” dated. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing when you have all these dreams of dating them, and you’re getting close, but it doesn’t work out. He would say things that would make me go, “Did you just say that?” It bothered me so much because he would say one thing and do another, do one thing and say another. Because he didn’t know what he wanted, he would just play all these mind games.
So I went over to write with Liz and was just ranting and raving about how this guy is such a flake and such a jerk sometimes, and so cool other times. I was like, “Liz, I don’t know what’s up with this guy!” So I just started playing the beginning, “I took a chance, I took a shot. And you might think I’m bulletproof, but I’m not.”
You’re Not Sorry
It is about this guy who turned out to not be who I thought I was. He came across as prince charming. Well, it turned out prince charming had a lot of secrets that he didn’t tell me about. And one by one, I would figure them out. I would find out who he really was. I wrote this when I was at the breaking point of, “You know what? Don’t even think that you can keep on hurting me.” It was to a point where I had to walk away.
The Way I Loved You
(Taylor Swift, John Rich)
I got this idea for a song about being in a relationship with a nice guy who is punctual and opens up the door for you and brings you flowers...but you feel nothing. The whole time you’re with him, you’re thinking about the guy who was complicated and messy and frustrating.
So I brought that idea, the title and where I thought the song should go to John. He was able to relate to it because he is that complicated, frustrating messy guy in his relationships. We came at the song from different angles. It was just so cool to get in a room and write with him because he really is an incredible writer.
Forever & Always
“Forever & Always” is about when I was in a relationship with someone and I was just watching him slowly slip away. I didn't know why, because I wasn't doing anything different. I didn't do anything wrong. He was just fading. It’s about the confusion and frustration of wondering why? What changed? When did it change? What did I do wrong? In this case, the guy I wrote it about ended up breaking up with me for another girl. Guess I know why he was fading..
The Best Day
I wrote this song on the road and didn’t tell my mom about it. I decided that I was going to keep it a secret and give it to her as a surprise for Christmas. I wrote it in the summer and then recorded it secretly with the band in the studio. After it was done, I synched the song up to all these home videos of her, and my family.
She didn’t even realize it was me singing until halfway through the song! She didn’t have any idea that I could possibly write and record a song without her knowing about it. When she finally got it, she just started bawling her eyes out.
At one point, I began to understand that it would be harder for me on a smaller record label to get to the places and accomplish the things that artists were accomplishing on bigger record labels. I realized that I wouldn’t get favors pulled for me because there weren’t any other artists on the label to pull favors from. It was going to be an uphill climb and all that I had to encourage me was the hope that someday things would change. That things would be different. After so many times of just saying that to myself over and over, I finally wrote it down in a song.