Taylor Swift, “Fifteen”

taylor-swiftWhen you’re a teenager, parents can give you all the advice in the world, based on their wealth of experience, because, after all, they were once teenagers too. But will you listen? Is it really possible to separate parents’ advice from parents’ perceived restrictions? It’s a rare teen who can.

So, Taylor Swift’s advice to 15-year old teens, though specifically targeting an age, is likely a godsend for parents, as Swift’s young age is much more relatable to the high school demographic than they can ever hope to be. As Taylor has comported herself very respectably so far, she has become an ideal role model for teens experiencing the angst of high school life. She’s been there, not so long ago, and she has done a remarkable job of remaining relatable to the population to which she sings. Therefore, she likely feels much more relevant than the parents and other well meaning adults who are forced to speak from somewhat distant memories.

When a teen girl is cautioned about the strong emotions that arise from teen love, it’s much more palatable coming from someone who has been there so recently. It’s, somehow, less invasive. While a parent may not be able to easily discuss certain sensitive topics without seeming cerebral, someone like Swift can address the same sensitive issues by simply being real: “Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday/But I realized some bigger dreams of mine/And Abigail gave everything she had to a boy/Who changed his mind and we both cried.”

What’s more, she humbly acknowledges, “I’ve found time can heal most anything/And you just might find who you’re supposed to be/I didn’t know who I was supposed to be at fifteen.”

Something that Taylor Swift can do that even the wisest of parents cannot do quite as effectively, is quietly enter the mind of the average teenager. Swift does not lecture in this tastefully produced and well written song, she simply relates.

Written by Taylor Swift

Grade:  B+

Listen: Fifteen


10 Comments on Taylor Swift, “Fifteen”

  1. Good review, and one of Ms. Swift’s best songs in my opinion regarding message and thoughtfulness.

    I don’t know if it’s just me but while reading this review I got the uncomfortable feeling that all the time the writer was writing it, she had to restrain herself from adding the line “But I still hate her and her music.” Perhaps it’s just because I’ve read some comments from Leeann in various places that gave me the strong impression that she is not an admirer of Swift. If this is the case I respect the ability to write an objective analysis of the song and it’s relevance and quality in spite of personal views toward the singer and songwriter.

  2. Hopefully, it’s just you, because I don’t hate Taylor Swift. I’m confident that I’ve made that abundantly clear enough on prior threads to make your charge seem over-dramatic. Acknowledging that she is not a strong vocalist and that her second album is more pop than I prefer does not even come close to qualifying as hate toward the artist or her music. I own both of her albums and I think she’s got a heck of a lot of potential. Again, I know I’ve said these things numerous times before, including that I find her unshakably charming in interviews. Considering she does not sing for my demographic, I believe I’ve been incredibly fair to her.

  3. Very insightful review. I love how this song seems to start as advice, but then morphs into personal reflection, which I think is very typical of advice. And I’m always drawn to something with a bit of a regretful tone to it.

    I’m really agreeing with Big Machine’s choice of singles from this album, too. This song and “White Horse” don’t have the most commercial sentiments, but they demonstrate that Swift has some degree of intelligence in how she addresses her audience, which is a nice thing to see.

  4. Good call on the regretful tone. I think the regretful tone is the sincerity that I feel from the song.

  5. These are the songs she can actually sing- and sing well. Love this song and the way it relates what would be a melodramatic story in a good way.


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