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Taylor Swift (Debut Album)

Tim McGraw (Taylor Swift & Liz Rose) - "This song means so much to me, that's why we wanted it to be the first track on the album. The idea for this song came to me in math class. I just started singing to myself `When you think Tim McGraw.' The concept for this song hit me, because I was dating a guy who moved away, and it was going to be over for us. So I started thinking of things that I knew would remind him of me. The first thing that came to mind was that my favorite song is by Tim McGraw. After school, I went downtown, sat down at the piano, and wrote this with Liz Rose in fifteen minutes. It may be the best fifteen minutes I've ever experienced."

Picture To Burn (Taylor Swift & Liz Rose) - "Before I sing this song, 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. Haha. This song is the perfect example."

Teardrops On My Guitar (Taylor Swift & Liz Rose) - "I used to have a huge crush on this guy, who would sit there every day talking to me about...another girl: how beautiful she was, how nice and smart and perfect she was. And I sat there and listened, never meaning it any of the times I said `Oh, I'm so happy for you.' I guess this is a good example of how I let my feelings out in songs, and sometimes no other way. And I've never been afraid of using names. I love this song because of its honesty and vulnerability. To this day, they are still together and he has no idea about this song."

A Place In This World (Taylor Swift & Robert Orrall & Angelo) - "I wrote this song when I was thirteen and had just moved to Nashville. It was tough trying to find out how I was going to get where I wanted to go. I knew where I wanted to be, but I just didn't know how to get there. I'm really happy this is on the album, because I feel like I finally figured it out."

Cold As You (Taylor Swift & Liz Rose) - "I wrote this song with Liz, and I think the lyrics to this song are some of the best we've ever written. It's about that moment where you realize someone isn't at all who you thought they were, and that you've been trying to make excuses for someone who doesn't deserve them. And that some people are just never going to love you. We were halfway through writing this when I started singing `And now that I'm sitting here thinking it through, I've never been anywhere cold as you'."

The Outside (Taylor Swift) - "This is one of the first songs I ever wrote, and it talks about the very reason I ever started to write songs. It was when I was twelve years old, and a complete outcast at school. I was a lot different than all the other kids, and I never really knew why. I was taller, and sang country music at karaoke bars and festivals on weekends while other girls went to sleepovers. Some days I woke up not knowing if anyone was going to talk to me that day. I think every person comes to a point in their life when you have a long string of bad days. You can choose to let it drag you down, or you can find ways to rise above it. I came to the conclusion that even though people hadn't always been there for me, music had. It's strange to think how different my life would be right now if I had been one of the cool kids."

Tied Together With A Smile (Taylor Swift & Liz Rose) - "One of my best friends is absolutely beautiful. She goes to beauty pageants and wins everything. Girls want to be her and guys want to be with her. I wrote this song the day I found out about her eating disorder. It completely blew my mind, and this one was tough to write, because I wasn't just telling some sad story. This was real. This song is basically about the girls I know, and the difficult things I saw them go through. I've never seen this song as a lecture. It's really about how no matter what my friends go through, I'm always going to love them."

Stay Beautiful (Taylor Swift & Liz Rose) - "After hearing my songs, a lot of people ask me, `How many boyfriends have you HAD?' And I always tell them that more of my songs come from observation than actual experience. In other words, you don't have to date someone to write a song about them. This is a song I wrote about a guy I never dated! Wow, right? Haha. This song is about a guy I thought was cute, and never really talked to him much. But something about him inspired this song, just watching him."

Should've Said No (Taylor Swift) - "Just being a human being, I've realized that before every big problem you create for yourself, before every huge mess you have to clean up, there was a crucial moment where you could've just said no. This is a song I wrote about a guy who never should have cheated on me."

Mary's Song (Oh My My My) (Taylor Swift & Liz Rose & Brian Maher) - "I wrote this song about a couple who lived next door to us. They'd been married forever and they came over one night for dinner, and were just so cute. They were talking about how they fell in love and got married, and how they met when they were just little kids. I thought it was so sweet, because you can go to the grocery store and read the tabloids, and see who's breaking up and cheating on each other (or just listen to some of my songs, haha). But it was really comforting to know that all I had to do was go home and look next door to see a perfect example of forever."

Our Song (Taylor Swift) - I just sat down one day with my guitar and got in a groove, and went with it. I like to write about how music affects people, and this was fun to write because it's about a couple who DOESN'T have a song. I like the banjo and you really can't go wrong with banjo. I wanted it to be last on the album, because the last line of the chorus is `play it again'. Let's hope people take it as a hint to go ahead and play the album again. Haha!"

FEARLESS (Sophomore Album)

Fearless (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.

Fifteen (Taylor Swift)- 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.

Love Story (Taylor Swift)- 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.

Hey Stephen (Taylor Swift)-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.

White Horse (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.”

Breathe (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 (Taylor Swift)-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 (Taylor Swift)-“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 (Taylor Swift)-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.

Change (Taylor Swift)-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.

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