Every Song Taylor Swift Mentioned In Her Elle UK Essay: A Playlist
Taylor Swift‘s poignant personal essay on the power of pop music was released today for Elle UK‘s March cover story. Regardless of whether you liked Reputation or if you’re still salty the biggest country star of the ’00s went pop, you’ve got to admit that Taylor knows songwriting. She puts indescribable moments into words and makes intangible feelings into something you can hold onto, and she brought that same spark of magic to her self-written cover story that goes into the songs that she holds dear. If you don’t feel like reading the whole article yet (even though you should) but you still want to know which songs Taylor holds in that same sentimental place so many of us have reserved for her music, we’ve put them all here in one easily digestible bite.
Tay talks about how songs are the closest thing we have to time travel with the ability to take us back to long-forgotten memories. When we were twelve, we were jamming to “White Horse” while we did our pre-algebra homework. When Taylor was twelve, she remembers listening to the Dixie Chicks classic “Cowboy Take Me Away” at home in “a little wood-paneled room in [her] family home in Pennsylvania.” That was the year Taylor infamously learned to play the guitar from a computer repairman and wrote her first song, the soundtrack to the beginning of it all.
Then, like literally all of us, she was sixteen and driving with “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” by Panic! At The Disco blasting through the speakers, with her best friend Abigail beside her in Hendersonville, Tennessee. That was the year that Taylor met Scott Borchetta and started working on her debut album with Big Machine Records. It’s wild that songs like “You Belong With Me” were being written while pop-punked played in the distance. At seventeen, Taylor was on the same Grey’s Anatomy binge we’ve all been on and listening to “How to Save a Life” by The Fray, “Breathe (2AM)” by Anna Nalick, or “The Story” by Brandi Carlile on repeat. But unlike the rest of us, Tay was watching Grey’s in the back of a tour van, when she was an opener for Rascal Flatts, George Strait, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill.
”You can smell the air… and feel your heart race. It’s something F. Scott Fitzgerald did so well, to describe a scene so gorgeously interwoven with rich emotional revelations, that you yourself have escaped from your own life for a moment." – Taylor Swift [@ELLEUK] (2/2)
— Taylor Swift News (@TSwiftNZ) February 28, 2019
Tay wrote about how “You Learn” by Alanis Morissette, “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae and “Why” by Annie Lennox healed her heart in the same way that her songs like “All Too Well,” “Clean,” and “Dear John” would for her fans, and makes a joke about how “Love Story” clearly showed her love for William Shakespeare.
The heart of her story, however, came from the idea that personal pop music is what listeners truly crave, songs with specific details that create a window into the artist’s life. She used Drake‘s “In My Feelings,” The Chainsmokers‘ “Closer,” and tourmate Camila Cabello‘s “Havana” as examples of how the little details are what make the biggest songs take-off.
The biggest takeaway from the article is that she wrote it at all. Amongst tons of speculation that TS7 is imminent, Taylor appearing on the cover of Elle UK to write about the trajectory of pop music sounds like a great prologue to her next contribution. The new-old Taylor is dead, and we can’t wait to see how she reincarnates herself this time.
We’ve put all of the songs Tay mentioned in the article into a nifty little Spotify playlist… and we included “All Too Well” because we wanted to. You’re welcome: