Taylor Alison Swift (born December 13, 1989) is a popular country-pop turned full on pop Singer-Songwriter from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. She has been a defining voice of the 2010s pop music scene and was named Artist of the Decade at the 2019 American Music Awards.
Swift found herself interested in poetry and music from an early age, and won a nationwide poetry contest at age nine with a poem called "Monster in My Closet", learned to play guitar from a computer repairman at 10, sang the national anthem at the U.S. Open in 2001 at the age of 11, and was signed by Sony/ATV at age 14. Swift broke into the Top 40 in 2006 with her debut single "Tim McGraw", and has since achieved widespread appeal and success both in the world of country music and in mainstream pop.
Nine albums, two EPs, and five tours into her career (and counting!), Swift has seen all four of her country albums go to #1 on the country charts (and four albums, including the pop 1989 go to #1 on the Billboard 200), seven #1 singles on the country charts, dozens of songs charting in the Hot 100 (almost all of those making the top 40), gotten to #1 on the Hot 100 for the first time in 2012 with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", has won seven Grammy awards, became the first female artist to succeed herself in the #1 spot in 2014 with "Shake It Off" and "Blank Space", and all of her big hits have crossed over massively. She's been certified by Nielsen as the most commercially successful country artist in music history and almost singlehandedly made the independent Big Machine Records label and her early producer Nathan Chapman big names in the country music industry.
In complement to her musical career, Swift has appeared in an episode of CSI as a murder victim, was the musical guest for two episodes of Saturday Night Live (a season 34 episode hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and a season 35 episode where she was both host and musical guest, becoming the second-youngest host/musical guest to appear on the shownote ) and was one of the many stars in the film Valentine's Day. Her first leading film role was as the voice of Audrey in the film adaptation of Dr. Seuss's The Lorax. She has since played Rosemary in the film adaptation of The Giver; appeared As Herself in (and on the soundtrack of) Hannah Montana: The Movie and her own documentary, 2020's Miss Americana; and been featured in Cats as Bombalurina.
- Taylor Swift (2006)
- The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection (EP) (2007)
- Beautiful Eyes (EP) (2008)
- Fearless (2008)
- Speak Now (2010)
- Red (2012)
- 1989 (2014)
- reputation (2017)
- Lover (2019)
- folklore (2020)
- evermore (2020)
- Live From SoHo (2008)
- CMT Crossroads: Taylor Swift & Def Leppard (2009)
- Speak Now World Tour Live (2011)
- Taylor Swift: Reputation Stadium Tour (2018, concert movie)
- Live from Clear Channel Stripped 2008 (2020, most notably released by her old label without her permission)
- Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (2020, documentary concert movie)
- Fearless Tour (200910)
- Speak Now World Tour (201112)
- The Red Tour (2013-2014)
- The 1989 World Tour (2015)
- Reputation Stadium Tour (2018)
- Hannah Montana: the Movie as Herself (cameo)
- Valentine's Day as Felicia Miller
- The Lorax as Audrey
- The Giver as Rosemary
- Cats as Bombalurina
- Miss Americana as Herself (documentary)
Tropes relating only to specific albums or songs can be found on their respective pages.
"These are the best tropes that have ever been mine":
- AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: Fairly common in her early work.
- Combined with a strange line-break, the bridge of "Fearless" is hard to decipher:Well you stood there with me in the door-
-way, my hands shake, I'm not usually this way...
- "Teardrops On My Guitar" also counts:Drew talks to me
I laugh 'cause it is just so funnynote
- Combined with a strange line-break, the bridge of "Fearless" is hard to decipher:
- Adam Westing: Playing caricatures of herself is one of her long-standing pastimes.
- Done in the video for rapper T-Pain's parody song, "Thug Story", in which she pokes fun at her squeaky clean image.
- Done in the song "Blank Space" and even more explicitly in the music video. Taylor's character is the media's perception of her: A girl who lures boys in, dates them for song writing material, gets jealous and clingy, goes Ax-Crazy, and as the current boy escapes, she has another one lined up.
- The music video for "Look What You Made Me Do" features numerous callbacks to previous music videos and appearances, culminating in a lineup of Taylor Swifts caricaturing herself and trading barbs.
- During a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live, she crashes Seth Rogen's monologue out of the blue, claiming that Seth was getting upset, and, "Whenever a man shows emotion... I appear."
- The Monologue Song has her play up her tendency to write song about her exes.
- Advertised Extra: Taylor on John Mayer's "Half of My Heart". She listed as featured but is really a glorified backup singer.
- Album Closure: As part of her meticulous story-crafting, she tends to end her albums with tracks that wrap up the themes discussed.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: A frequent motif in her songs.
- In "The Way I Loved You", though she expresses genuine affection for her new boyfriend (who is very much a Nice Guy) the narrator is still reminiscing passionately about the excitement of "screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain" with her bad-boy ex.
- Deconstructed in "Dear John," where the narrator learns the hard way that there was a good reason people were trying to warn her off dating the guy.I look back in regret, how I ignored when they said
"Run as fast as you can"
- "Blank Space" has this line:I can make the bad guys good for a weekend
- "Wildest Dreams":He's so tall and handsome as hell
He's so bad, but he does it so well
- Anti-Love Song: Her later albums have a lot of songs that set themselves up as love songs only to reveal themselves to be much more complicated.
- "I Almost Do" open with the singer lovingly fantasize about what her lover is doing after a hard day of work... before revealed that they broke up and she was trying so hard to not call them because their relationship has left too many hurt on both side. The aforementioned opening lyrics is repeated at the end, implying that she still thinks about them.
- "The Moment I Knew" opens with the singer fantasize about how happy she would be when her lover shows up as an event important to her. However, as the song goes on, she realizes that her lover won't show up and the title is referred to her knowing her lover won't show up and that they are not right for her.
- "The Last Time" opens with the male singer going to the female singer house and show up as her door, with lyrics setting up as an intimate meeting only to reveal that the reason he is going there to beg her for forgiveness.
- "august" took this Up to Eleven, with every verses and chorus started by expressing the singer's longing for the guy... Only to subverted at the end of each verse by concluding that "You aren't mine to lose".
- "illicit affairs" starts with the singer setting up all the way she and her love interest conducts an affair... right before revealing that all the lies and secrecy has eaten away and exhausted her for the rest of the song and ended the song stating that she can't end the relationship because she loves the man so much.
- evermore: "ivy" opens with the narrator exclaiming and praising her lover... until the rest of the song revealed that she is very conflicting about this relationship affecting her current one with her husband (which mean either this is an affair or the lover she is exclaiming is dead and she still can't get over them) and compare their love to ivy that will destroy her.
- "champagne problems" is sung from the point of view of a woman who only realises that she doesn't want to marry her boyfriend when he proposes to her in front of the rest of his family. The song is her feeling bad for her ex-boyfriend, but neither expressing any regret for having broken up with him, nor having any explanation that might make him feel better: "Sometimes you just don't know the answer /'Til someone's on their knees and asks you."
- Arc Number: Since 13 is her favorite number, she has set about to make it the Arc Number of her career, hiding it in liner notes, merchandise, and social media handles and scheduling performances and song releases for the 13ths of months. Three days before her 31st birthday, she stated that she always looked forward to turning 31, since it's 13 reversed. That same day, she announced the release of evermore, a "sister album" to its predecessor folklore... and the two albums have 31 tracks between them.
- Bare Your Midriff: Taylor's been going for this look to one degree or another since 1989's release, although she's more subdued about it than many other pop acts. Especially prominent are the cheerleader and hip hop dancer outfits in the "Shake It Off" video. But though she often bares her midriff, she rarely shows her belly buttonnote .
- Beach Episode: All the photos taken for her cover story in the September 25, 2014 Rolling Stone were shot on a beach. See under Contractual Purity on the Trivia page.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Has been particularly evident in recent years, with her hard turn to liberal politics and artists rights issues, especially after the sexual assault lawsuit that she won. Do NOT fuck with her or her friends and colleagues. Or anyone else that she feels well-disposed towards.
- Be Yourself: She's on record as saying, "If you're lucky enough to be different, don't ever change." Her accessibility is seen by many to be her biggest asset and huge reason for her success.
- Big "WHAT?!": In the early years, one of these was likely to be the first word out of her mouth every single time she won an award, if not 'Oh my God'. Even if it was her third or fourth award of the night. She'd usually have her Jaw Drop and have an Eye Take to go along with it.
- In a 2019 interview with Rolling Stone, she admitted that when she was younger, she didn't want people to know the extent to which she carefully planned and organised her own career, along with her parents and other advisers. She talked about the pressure exerted on women in the music industry to behave as though they were amazed and grateful for whatever success they had, and to downplay their own agency and responsibility. Having grown older, she no longer thinks that that's a healthy example.
- Blind Without 'Em: By her own admission, Taylor has horrible eyesight, and is totally blind without her contact lenses. (Or at least she used to be—she got Lasik surgery done sometime around 2016-17, which led to her mother and Jimmy Fallon pranking her with some post-surgery footage on the Tonight Show.)
- Break the Cutie: Her entire career arc from sweet country ingénue to embittered snake queen. The shift began between her second and third albums when nefarious figures such as Kanye West, Jake Gyllehaal and John Mayer entered her narrative. Since reputation, however, she's built herself back up to something approaching her old optimism—just a bit wiser this time. By the time of the Long Pond Studio Sessions, she comes across as positively wise and mellow.
- Break-Up Song: If you make a Drinking Game out of it, you will die.
- "I Knew You Were Trouble," about the end of a relationship she claims to have known was doomed all along.
- "You're Not Sorry," an accusation to a former lover.
- "White Horse," where she warns her ex not to try to come after her because she's gone and not coming back.
- "Haunted" is a barely-pre-breakup song, where the singer can tell something is going horribly wrong.
- "Dear John," a scathing polemic to an older man who mistreated her but whom she finally escaped.
- "Forever & Always," an ironic dig at a dishonest ex.
- "Should've Said No," a message to a former beau who cheated on her.
- "Begin Again" is set between relationships—she favorably contrasts her new love interest with the man she has recently broken up with.
- "The Story of Us" is another pre-breakup song about falling out of love.
- "Breathe," where the singer laments the end of a love she thought was forever.
- "Last Kiss," where she does the same.
- "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," a poppy declaration to her on-again off-again boyfriend that this time it's, like, for real.
- "All You Had To Do Was Stay," a melancholy song to a lover who shouldn't have left.
- "Clean," about the relief of finally getting over a toxic relationship.
- "I Almost Do," where the singer reminisces about an ex-lover she can barely keep herself from calling.
- "Sad Beautiful Tragic" is a tragic ballad to a lost love.
- Butt-Monkey: Pick one Break-Up Song subject, any Break Up Song subject. She became a Punchline in the process.Michael K: Yes, every songwriter writes songs about their exes, but not every songwriter turns the speculation about who that song is about into a game. Taylor set up the board, handed out the playing cards, rolled the dice first and turned into a giant game of Clue by dropping clues in the liner notes and during interviews.
- Call to Agriculture: Swift has stated numerous times over the years that she plans to primarily spend her twilight years gardening.
- Censored for Comedy: Taylor and T-Pain's short parody song "Thug Story". The end of the song is censored for comedic effect, with Swift herself protesting "But I didn't even swear."
- Changing Clothes Is a Free Action:
- Inexplicably changes from running shoes to high heels in "Ours".
- There are five different costume changes in the video for "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", which was shot in one take.
- She made a costume change mid-song in a live performance of "I Knew You Were Trouble" at the 2012 European Music Awards.
- This trend started at the 2008 CMA Awards. While performing "Love Story", she changed from a normal dress to a wedding dress on stage.
- Christmas Songs:
- Sounds of the Season, an EP featuring country-pop renditions of Swift's favorite holiday songs.
- "Christmas Tree Farm" is also one, inspired by Taylor's real-life childhood growing up on, well, a Christmas tree farm.
- Colon Cancer: More like Parentheses Cancer: Her rerecord versions have this in space, especially the "From the Vault" bonus tracks, with all of them has the "(From The Vault)" subtitle in addition to the standard "(Taylor's Version)". Especially egregious with tracks with other featured artist and the track "All Too Well (10 Minutes Version)(From The Vault)(Taylor's Version)".
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In videos where Taylor competes with another girl for a guy's affections, her rival will usually be brunette.
- Continuity Cavalcade: The music video for "Look What You Made Me Do" is packed with references to Taylor's older events, appearances, and music videos. Not even the most diehard Swiftie could catch them all on the first viewing.
- The Cover Changes the Gender:
- When "Teardrops On My Guitar" was arranged as a duet for Crossroads, the verse sung by Joe Elliot had "Drew talks to me" changed to "You talk to me".
- Swift's cover of "Drops of Jupiter" changes the subject of the song from a woman to a man.
- On the other hand, Ryan Adams covered 1989—all of it—in a manner that flipped everything to a man's point of view.
- The Cover Changes the Meaning: Luna Halo's song "Untouchable" turns more towards the lust side of attraction. Taylor manages to turn it into a ballad about not being able to admit her love for someone while changing amazingly few of the lyrics on Fearless: Platinum Edition. Nevertheless, the changes were still enough for Luna Halo to give Taylor co-writing credit for her version.
- Cover Version: On her Speak Now tour, at every North American stop Swift would cover a couple well-known songs sung by local bands—everything from Eminem's "Lose Yourself" to the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" to Justin Bieber's "Baby" to Fall Out Boy's "Sugar, We're Goin Down" to Britney Spears "Lucky".
- Crossover: In 2008, Swift appeared on an episode of CMT Crossroads, backed by Def Leppard. Awesomeness ensued.
- Crying at Your Birthday Party: "The Moment I Knew" is about the time her then-boyfriend didn't show up to her birthday party.
- Cute Kitten:
- Swift has designed several greeting cards featuring kittens. She's on record as saying "I feel like kitten cards make everything better, pretty much."
- Her Diet Coke commercial takes it up to eleven.
- One appears in a scene the video for "ME!", given to Taylor by duet partner Brendon Urie. In real life, Taylor adopted the kitten, calling him Benjamin Button.
- Darker and Edgier:
- Watch the video for "You Belong With Me" or "Love Story" followed by the video for "I Knew You Were Trouble." You won't believe they're by the same artist.
- "Speak Now" and "Red", if not exactly Darker and Edgier, are definitely more biting and cynical than her first two albums.
- "Blank Space" shows Taylor at her most Ax-Crazy.
- And then, there's "Look What You Made Me Do".
- reputation as a whole explores more adult themes than her previous albums, with themes sex, lust, obsession and jealousy instead of romance. Her public image and musical style also took this turn with the dawn of that era, though she was back to sparkles and pastels shortly after.
- folklore and evermore blew reputation out of the water in term of darkness. The albums have multiple songs with Precision F-Strike, heavy themes of death, abuse, loss, murder and sexism as well as a lack of definitive happy endings for the characters involved in her songs. Being written during the quarantine of the COVID-19 Pandemic undoubtedly influenced the albums.
- Deadpan Snarker: Her songs frequently slip in some sarcastic comments.
- "We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together" is pretty much entirely snark directed at her on-again-off-again partner.
- Her tongue seems definitely in her cheek with "Shake It Off", certainly where the lyrics referencing criticism against her is concerned. More so in the song's music video.
- "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" from reputation shows her snarky side as well, as she clearly refuses to take the person who wronged her seriously.
- In interviews earlier in her career, she was mostly polite, courteous, cheerful and terribly well-behaved. As she's got older and more confident, she's become more this trope:Graham Norton: This promises... a new album?Taylor Swift: Yah.Graham Norton: Do we know when it's on the way?Taylor Swift: [gesturing to herself] We do. [gesturing to everyone else] We don't.
- The narrator of "'tis the damn season" comes across as one of these.
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: Not just digital piracy, but even some legitimate forms of digital media. Taylor has taken stands against music being sold or streamed for free, going so far as to pull her entire catalog off of Spotify and iTunes (the latter being temporary; after Apple returned to a paid streaming model, she put her 1989). Her open letter to Apple Music explains the move as meant to help struggling young artists who can't afford to just give away their art.
- Taylor has been criticized for this position and justification in some circles, as most signed artists make little-to-no income off of their music, meaning that it is actually the label that is hurt most by free streaming (artists tend to make much more of their money off of merchandise and ticket sales).
- The Diss Track: Taylor frequently uses her songs as vehicles for criticism of those who've wronged her.
- "Forever & Always" to Joe Jonas. Also, her Saturday Night Live "Monologue Song" to him and Kanye West.
- "Better Than Revenge," which is about Camilla Belle. She goes through a period of talking about how Belle is haughty towards Taylor, apparently mocking her towards other people, and how she's been misinterpreting the concept of sophistication, likely in one of her best Take That! moments ever. She ends the paragraph with this line:But no amount of vintage dresses gives you dignity.
- And then there was the one to Harry Styles at the Grammys.
- "Bad Blood" is a song about an artist who tried to hurt Swift's career. Considering her falling-out with Katy Perry, and the fact that some of her tour dancers were hired out by Perry, most believe the song to be about her. (Another substantial rumor that plagues the song is that she's resentful of Perry's on-off relationship with John Mayer, who also dated Taylor and that she's bitter over someone she thought was a friend is dating her ex.)
- And then there's the one to Kanye West at the Grammys.
- "Look What You Made Me Do" jabs at a lot of things, including a few repeat targets.
- "You Need To Calm Down" is this to several people: men who tell women to smile/how to behave, homophobes, and internet trolls. The homophobic picketers shown in the music video (and referenced in the lyrics) are jabs at the Westboro Baptist Church (known to picket Pride events and funerals of soldiers), and right-wing fundamentalists who have started picketing outside Taylor's concerts, which she confirmed in an interview with Vogue.
- folklore has this gem in the lyric video for "peace". Especially notable since the album has all lowercase letters in styling and he isn't even the main subject of the song:Clown to the West.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Quite a few of Taylor's music videos have her in bare feet from the beginning ("Fifteen", "Safe & Sound", "Out of the Woods", and "cardigan" among others) or appearing without her shoes at some point ("Delicate", "Lover"), and she also tends to be barefoot in photoshoots; while she doesn't regularly take to the stage without shoes, it does happen, with her 2010 VMAs performance being a notable example. Additionally, the Miss Americana documentary has Taylor not wearing shoes indoors at certain points even if the people around her are.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Before releasing any content of her own, she was featured on "God Bless the Children", a Massive Multiplayer Crossover charity single started by Nashville songwriter Wayne Warner dedicated to adoption awareness. More info here.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Taylor Swift is much closer to mainstream country music than the country-pop style Taylor adopted as early as her second album, or the complete abandonment of country as of 1989. Some of the change in sound may be due to her phasing out Liz Rose as a co-writer—Swift and Rose wrote most of the first album together, but only a couple tracks on the second, and only one track on Red. (Swift wrote all of Speak Now herself.)
- Easter Egg: In the liner notes to her first five albums, the lyrics are all lowercase except for a few seemingly random capital letters. When read top to bottom, the capital letters spell out a message (for instance, "Can't tell me nothin'" is the hidden message in the lyrics to "Tim McGraw"), and "Hyannisport" is the hidden message in "Everything Has Changed".
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: Lampshaded in "Monologue Song":I like glitter and sparkly dresses but I'm not gonna talk about that in my monologue!
- Epic Rocking: The live version of "Better Than Revenge" ends with a lengthy instrumental outro that allows guitarist Grant Mickelson to show off his chops. Several other songs insert extended musical interludes as well in order to cover Taylor's costume changes. The "From the Vault" version of "All Too Well", clocking in at 10:13, is the longest song to ever reach #1 on the Billboard charts.
- Eye Take: She was known for doing this upon winning awards, combined with a Big "WHAT?!" and Jaw Drop.
- Fangirl: Taylor is a Joni Mitchell fangirl. So much in fact, that "The Lucky One" may have been written about her. The title of Red (her 4th album) could have been inspired by Joni Mitchell's Blue. The album cover for Red closely resembles that of Joni Mitchell's 13th album.
- Femme Fatale: She enjoys playing these from time to time.
- Her character in "Blank Space" has elements of this, promising her new lover heaven only to turn on him (as the media had portrayed Swift as doing).
- "I Did Something Bad" portrays a somewhat hammy version of this trope.I never trust a narcissist, but they love me
So I play 'em like a violin
And I make it look oh-so-easy
'Cause for every lie I tell them, they tell me three
This is how the world works
Now all he thinks about is me
- The Four Chords of Pop: "Tim McGraw" uses a slightly modified Doo-Wop Progression (the V chord is suspended before sounding normally), and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" uses IV-I-V-vi.
- Genre Shift: From country to more traditional pop to hip-hop infused Synth-Pop to folk. Red incorporates elements of Arena Rock, bubblegum, Britpop, and dubstep on various tracks. She completed the genre shift with the release of 1989, where there are no acoustic guitar sounds to be found at all, but lots of synthesizers and pop beats. By reputation she was dabbling in R&B and hip-hop, including rapping the verses on "...Ready For It." And the folklore became her first album to be classified by music services as 'alternative'.
- Girl Next Door: In both "You Belong With Me" and "Teardrops on my Guitar," swift sings as the ignored best friend of the boy she's in love with.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Parodied in the video for T-Pain's parody song, "Thug Story", in which she gets bleeped despite not even swearing.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: Taylor confessed her crush on her best friend at her high school talent show through singing "I'd Lie".Taylor: It was really awkward and great.
- Grief Song: Her charity single "Ronan," which was inspired by the blog of a mother whose four-year-old son died of cancer and includes quotes from the blog such as "I love you to the moon and back."
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: In her early work, she tried to cultivate an image of being pure, innocent, beautiful and virginal.
- In the video for "You Belong With Me", the innocence of the blonde protagonist is contrasted with the brunette vamp—both, naturally, played by Swift.
- Hotter and Sexier:
- Red and 1989 explore more overtly sexual themes, and Taylor also began to wear noticeably more revealing outfits on the 1989 World Tour.
- Then compare "Look What You Made Me Do." Not only the song itself, but the video—especially when she dons a patent-leather suit that might as well be a dominatrix's costume. "...Ready For It" took this trope even further, with both the lyrics and her wearing a nude bodysuit in the video.
- The Lover album finishes what reputation started, especially in "False God":We might just get away with it
The altar is my hips
Even if it's a false god
We'd still worship this love
- Hypocritical Humor: Swift's first appearance on Saturday Night Live had her singing a musical monologue where she talked about various things, ending each verse with "But I'm not gonna talk about X in my monologue."
- In-Joke: Remember those Easter Eggs in her liner notes? The hidden messages for "Stay Beautiful" and "Sparks Fly" are Shake N Bake and Portland, Oregon, respectively.
- Intercourse with You: Her music has gotten progressively Hotter and Sexier over time, but she's always had a few of these on each album.
- "Sparks Fly" lives and breathes this trope, what with such lyrics as "You touch me once and it's really something / You find I'm even better than you imagined I would be" and the entirety of the bridge ("I'll run my fingers through your hair and watch the lights go wild / Just keep on keeping your eyes on me, it's just wrong enough to make it feel right").
- "Treacherous" is known for having sexual implications.
- There's also the "We are alone, just you and me ... " verse from "State of Grace".
- "His hands are in my hair, his clothes are in my room" from "Wildest Dreams".
- "...Ready For It?" is one of her most blatantly sexual songs.In the middle of the night, in my dreams
You should see the things we do, baby
- "Dress," which is also absolutely gushing with implications of lesbian romance.Carve your name into by bedpost
'Cause I don't want you like a best friend
Only bought this dress so you could take it off
- "So It Goes...": "You know I'm not a bad girl, but I / Do bad things with you", "Scratches down your back now".
- "False God" strongly implies oral sex.The altar is my hips
Even if it's a false god
We'd still worship this love
- Jealous Romantic Witness:
- The Bon Iver-Taylor Swift duet "Exile" is about a former couple who encounter each other shortly after their breakup. The man (Iver) sees the woman (Swift) flirting with her new boyfriend and is very upset.
- The "teenage love triangle" plot of folklore (2020) is kicked off when James comes to a school dance and sees Betty dancing with a guy, gets jealous, and leaves, having a summer fling with August instead. It's unclear whether Betty and James were actually dating or not, but either way, James comes to regret it because of how much it hurt Betty.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Taylor has been a proud cat lover for years. Her first pair, Meredith and Olivia, were beloved by fans for years before she adopted her third, Benjamin Button. Any video of her and Meredith shows some extremely cute footage. The cats got their first lyrical shoutout in "Gorgeous" from reputation:Guess I'll just stumble on home to my cats
Alone . . .
Unless you wanna come along
- Large Ham: Taylor has a talent for appropriate hamminess.
- In the latter half of the "Blank Space" music video, where she's playing a psycho who "takes it way too far".
- Throughout the concert film of the Reputation Stadium Tour, especially during "I Did Something Bad":Now all he thinks a-bout is . . . Me! [bats eyelashes and fans herself]
- Long Title: "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" play this for laughs.
- Love at First Sight: Happens in many of her songs.
- In "Love Story," like its inspiration Romeo and Juliet, the lovers meet at a party and fall instantly.
- "Enchanted"Walls of insincerity, shifting eyes and vacancy
Vanished when I saw your face
All I can say is, it was enchanting to meet you
- Love Makes You Crazy:
- "My mother accused me of losing my mind" in "Dear John".
- "Dont Blame Me" uses this quite a bit.Don't blame me, love made me crazy
If it doesn't, you ain't doin' it right
- Love Nostalgia Song: Has almost as many of these as breakup songs.
- "Wildest Dreams," where the singer anticipates this:You'll see me in hindsight
Tangled up with you all night
Burning it down
Someday when you leave me
I bet these memories
Follow you around
- In "Holy Ground," the singer looks back at an old relationship that ended sadly but was good while it lasted.I guess we fell apart in the usual way
And the story's got dust on every page
But sometimes I wonder how you think about it now
And I see your face in every crowd
- "Wildest Dreams," where the singer anticipates this:
- Lyrical Dissonance: As she said about "The Story of Us":See, that made you want to dance. But it's a Break-Up Song, so it's confusing. That's what we want here.
- Marilyn Maneuver: She suffered this during a concert when a wind machine blew her skirt (the linked article called it a Wardrobe Malfunction, which it clearly isn't).
- Mundane Made Awesome: In her rap parody "Thug Story" she brags about how she bakes cookies at night, still lives with her parents, and knits sweaters, yo.
- Never My Fault: Her critics have accused her of dumping all the blame on her exes and never acknowledging her own responsibility in her relationships falling apart. If you read most of her lyrics, though, this is actually not true. She openly admits to such tendencies as obsessiveness and occasional neediness in many of her songs. The song "Back To December" is about how she herself screwed up a relationship, and the album Red includes songs like "All Too Well," "I Knew You Were Trouble," and "Sad Beautiful Tragic," where Taylor does take fault.
- New Sound Album:
- Speak Now has more of a pop-rock sound than Swift's earlier albums, relying on electric guitars and synth more than acoustic guitar and banjo, and Swift abandons the affected Southern twang she used on her first two albums. Speak Now Live is even more so—the version of "Better Than Revenge" included on it borders on Heavy Metal.
- Red is even more pop, but also more rock then Speak Now.
- 1989 is her first official pop album.
- reputation is all over the map, from grinding techno to synth pop to R&B to dream pop.
- folklore is a folksy alternative album with Bon Iver and the Dessner brothers from The National as her main collaborators.
- Non-Appearing Title: "Ronan", which was a charity single written for a boy who died of cancer. This is the only example in her repertoire.
- Ordinary People's Music Video: "Shake It Off" shows a lot of ordinary dancers from various genres putting on a great show, with Swift herself failing hilariously to keep up with them.
- Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Courtesy of Harry Styles.
- Piss Take Rap:
- Her and T-Pain's parody "Thug Story".
- Then "Shake It Off" has her actually rapping in a Kesha-like way, tongue firmly in cheek.Hey, hey, hey!
Just think, while you've been getting down and out about the liars
And the dirty, dirty cheats of the world
You could've been getting down
To this. sick. beat.
- Pop Punk: "Better Than Revenge" and "The Story of Us" wouldn't sound out of place in a Paramore album. Some of her aesthetic and themes on reputation also borrow from this genre—see the "Look What You Made Me Do" lyric video.
- Precision F-Strike: Taylor starts off with a squeaky clean Girl Next Door image in country music so her early work contain little if any swearing. Since the official switch to pop with 1989, she has been steadily but increasingly deploy swearing for emphasis on her songs.
- Not on the actual track, but the music video for "Look What You Made Me Do" has Taylor calling herself a bitch. And then the other Taylor objects to it. (Yeah, it's that kinda video.) Not an f-strike, but still surprising when compared to her previous stuff.
- Likewise, the line "If a man talks shit, then I owe him nothing" on "I Did Something Bad" surprised many fans.
- 2020's folklore marks her first album to be given an Explicit tag, with "mad woman" and "betty" each containing uses of the f-word, "the 1" and "peace" each containing uses of "shit", and "the last great american dynasty" having a use of "bitch". evermore continues the tradition with "champagne problems" and "cowboy like me" has one single use of the f-word, "tis the damn season" and "ivy" has damn / goddamn while "gold rush", "tolerate it" and "happiness" has shit.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
- WE. ARE NEVER. EVER. EVER. GETTING BACK TOGETHER. Discussed on-air on UTV radio stations, and on Real Radio Scotland.
- "You could've been getting down to THIS. SICK. BEAT."
- "This is why we can't have nice. Things. Dar. Ling!"
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Swift's songwriting style is famously intimate, and especially in her early albums it could be expected that each song came from real experiences.
- The lyrics of "Should've Said No" were based on words used by Taylor when she confronted an ex-boyfriend.
- All of the songs on her album Speak Now are supposedly about her relationships, each relating to one person or event, except for "Speak Now" (based on a dream) and "Mine" (totally hypothetical scenario).
- folklore and evermore finally averted this trope, with her stating that a majority of them are based on fiction, with explicit aversions are songs based on her master situation with Big Machine like "my tears ricochet" or "it's time to go".
- Rearrange the Song: Many of Swift's singles have been heavily remixed for airplay on stations less friendly to country music:
- The pop mix of "Our Song", used so widely it appeared on one of the Now That's What I Call Music! albums, replaces fiddle with power chords in the intro and all but does away with the banjo and the silly style of the instrumental. There is a country version on Taylor Swift and a pop version on Fearless, it's really obvious.
- The pop radio version of "Teardrops on My Guitar" completely replaces the country instrumental from the original with electric guitar, keyboards, and a drum machine.
- "Love Story", in particular, drops the banjo and strings, pushes the bass and drums forward, distorts the vocals more so than the original, and adds a brief electric guitar solo.note
- "You Belong With Me" replaces the banjo with electric guitar.
- For the Red tour, Swift herself rearranged the song entirely as a doo-wop number.
- The pop radio versions of "Mine" and "The Story Of Us" similarly drop the country-ish electric guitar from the verse sections in favor of some Power Pop chords.
- In a variant, she started performing "Sparks Fly" in 2007 and it became a viral hit on YouTube. She released a re-written version of the song on Speak Now in 2010 (it was released as a single the next year) with electric guitar as the lead instrument as opposed to banjo, and slightly more suggestive lyrics.
- Also seen on the deluxe version of Fearless, where "Forever And Always" appears both as an up-tempo pop song and as a slowed-down solo piano piece.
- "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" went in the other direction—the pop version made the album, while the country version was a radio-only release.
- Revenge Ballad: Taylor is notorious for writing songs-as-revenge.Taylor: I always try to tell the audience that I really do try to be a nice person . . . but if you break my heart, hurt my feelings, or are really mean to me, I'm going to write a song about you. [Laughs] This song is the perfect example . . .
- "Picture to Burn" is about break-up and the revenge she wants to take.
- "Better Than Revenge", where she admonishes the woman who stole her man, telling her she really should have known better because "There is nothing I do better than revenge". The bridge reveals that the song itself is the revenge. Since at least 2014, Swift has viewed the song as an Old Shame and won't perform it live anymore, realizing in the time since she wrote it at age 18 that no one can take someone from themselves if they don't want to leave.You might have him, but I always get the last word
- Romantic Rain: Many of her songs mention dancing, fighting, or kissing in the rain.
- "Fearless":With you I'd dance in a storm
In my best dress, fearless
- "Sparks Fly":Drop everything now
Meet me in the pouring rain
Kiss me on the sidewalk
Take away the pain
- "The Way I Loved You" mentions "kissing in the rain" as a high point of the relationship.
- Running Gag: Check the end of her first three albums' liner notes:
- Taylor Swift: "P.S. To all the boys who thought they would be cool and break my heart, guess what? Here are 14 songs written about you. HA."
- Fearless: "And to the boys who inspired this album, you had fair warning."
- Speak Now: "P.S. To all the boys who inspired this album, you should've known. :)"
- This stopped with Red, which just read "THANK YOU'' under the inner CD holder.
- Secret-Keeper: Given that "You're So Vain" is also about a real person, it kind of fits that she's one of only two people in the world who knows for sure who Carly Simon's singing about.
- Taylor does this a lot. During one concert, she said, "I imagine it could be really hard to make a relationship last. I wouldn't know." And "Whenever a man shows emotion, I appear." on SNL.
- During one verse in "22", you can clearly hear the voice of someone saying "Who's Taylor Swift anyway? Ew!"
- Used more to highlight her ex's disrespect, but still played for laughs in "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together":And you would hide away and find your peace of mind
With some indie record that's much cooler than mine
- The video for "Shake It Off" has her surrounded by skilled dancers of all types and her just being... not.
- At an award show, she happily nodded along to a host saying watch out for her, she'll break up with you and write a song about it.
- "Blank Space" is one long, sarcastic Self-Deprecation song, based on the media's image of her as a psychotic maneater.Got a long list of ex-lovers
They'll tell you I'm insane
- All of the celebrities picked the names of the alter egos they played in the "Bad Blood" video themselves. Taylor's alias is "Catastrophe".
- Self-Titled Album: Go on, guess what her first album was called.
- Serial Escalation: The release of folklore was a surprise, since it came less than a year after its predecessor Lover. Her next album, evermore, came out less than six months later. (Clearly, Taylor got incredibly bored in quarantine.)
- She's Got Legs: Taylor's long, toned legs were once rumored to be insured at $40 million.
- Shout-Out: The repeated use in "invisible string" of the phrase [X] is the [Y] of ("Green was the color of the grass", "Cold was the steel of my axe", "Gold was the color of the leaves") is almost certainly one of these to one of the most famous and often-covered Appalachian folk songs, "Black is the Color (Of My True Love's Hair)".
- Signature Style: Intricate, intimate, heavily detailed emotional songwriting. Recurring motifs include the guy's eyes, rain, and Tuesday night (even more specifically, 2am).
- Silly Love Songs: She's known for these in equal measure to her breakup songs.
- "Love Story" lampshades itself as this.You'll be the prince and I'll be the princess
It's a love story, baby, just say "yes"
- "Stay Stay Stay" from Red is bouncy and happy. Taylor plays ukulele on it.
- "Love Story" lampshades itself as this.
- Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Definitely in her Fearless and Self-Titled Album eras. She has many songs singing about longing for popular football players
- Slave to PR: Miss Americana has Taylor admits that she is a person whose living philosophy is to let other people perceived her as a nice person. She even outright stated that the #TaylorIsOverParty hurt so much because her reputation used to be "all she had".
- The Something Song: "The Monologue Song (La La La)".
- Spiders Are Scary: A spider got in her dress driving back from the "Love Story" video shoot. This scenario was then followed by four rapid-fire "Oh my God"s and someone killing the spider with a deluxe Swift CD.
- Stab the Picture: In the video for "Blank Space" Taylor paints a portrait of her new boyfriend then later destroys it with a knife when the relationship sours.
- The Storyteller: Almost all her songs take this form, even the ones that are ostensibly about her personal life. Especially true of the songs on folklore and evermore, many of which are clearly not about her at all.
- Subdued Section: Featured in several of her songs, particularly on Speak Now: "Sparks Fly", "Back To December", and "Haunted" all feature this. "Red" likewise utilizes this.
- Statuesque Stunner: Taylor is listed as being 5′ 10″ in height.
- Take That, Critics!:
- "Mean" calls out those who criticize her singing ability, a common criticism held against her. It was written to one critic, specifically, who gave her an unnecessarily cruel review.
- "Shake It Off" goes one step beyond.I never miss a beat
I'm lightning on my feet
And that's what they dont see
- Teen Idol: She was sixteen when her first single was released.
- Teen Pregnancy: According to Word of God, this was averted. Its aversion was lampshaded. Quoth her MySpace:I read a very creative rumor this morning saying Im pregnant, which is the most IMPOSSIBLE thing on the planet. Take my word for it. Impossible.
- 13 Is Unlucky: Inverted. Oh so inverted. Not only is 13 Swift's lucky number, to the point where she will actively seek out any possible instance up to and including the expiration date on milk cartons, she also considers the number 31 an acceptable substitute, because it's "13 backwards." Her birthday being on the 13th of December probably helps to explain a few things.
- Title Drop: There is a page where many are listed, because you can't really fit such a massive discography on this page.
- Title Track: Each of her (non-debut) albums had one of these until 1989, which is named for Taylor's birth year. Lover has one, but the subsequent folklore does not.
- Took a Level in Badass: Taylor took one between 1989 and reputation.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change:
- Done in "Love Story" in an unusual fashion: she sings half of the chorus, goes up from C to D, then starts the chorus over again.
- Shows up in "betty," folklore's Production Throwback to her earliest era. The final chorus shifts up a key to capture its more hopeful mood.
- True Companions: "Change" and "Long Live" imply this relationship between her and her original band, The Agency.Long live all the mountains we moved
I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you
- Turn the Other Cheek:
And here's to you, 'cause forgiveness is a nice thing to do. [Beat, followed by uproarious laughter] I can't even say it with a straight face!
- "Innocent," where she chooses to forgive someone who had done her wrong, rather than hold them in contempt.
- Subverted in "This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things."
- Valley Girl: She parodies this from time to time.
- In We are Never Ever Getting Back Together she has this inflection in her voice.Like, ever.
- Her "ex-man's new girlfriend" apparently speaks like this.She's like, "Oh my god"
- In We are Never Ever Getting Back Together she has this inflection in her voice.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Ellen Degeneres. Ellen's probably the one person who can make Taylor into an out-and-out Butt-Monkey and get away with it.
- What Beautiful Eyes!: A recurring theme.
- Her second EP is called Beautiful Eyes.
- "Tim McGraw":He said the way my blue eyes shined
Put those Georgia stars to shame that night
I said, "That's a lie"
- "I Know Places":In the dead of night, your eyes so green
- "Delicate":Oh damn, never seen that color blue ...
Sometimes when I look into your eyes
I pretend you're mine all the damn time
- "Gorgeous":Ocean-blue eyes
Looking in mine
I feel like I might
Sink and drown and die
- "Call It What You Want":Starry eyes sparkin' up my darkest nights
- "gold rush":Gleaming, twinkling
Eyes like sinking
Ships on waters
So inviting, I almost jump in
- Wrong Genre Savvy: "If This was a Movie" is all about Swift's heartbreak over reality not living up to the expectations made by the movies.
- Yandere: She seems to be one in her own music video for "Blank Space", parodying the parodies of her.