As Taylor Swift prepares to re-record her albums, Kelsey Barnes unpacks a song per week
Kelsey Barnes
11:19 8th April 2021

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My first memory of ‘Love Story’ is me aged 15, standing outside of my high school with my friend, a shared headphone in each of our ears. She held up her iPod to my face, breathlessly declaring she “can’t stop listening to this song! How can Taylor write about love so well? Where are our boyfriends!” Almost exactly ten years later, I’d watch as she twirled on the dancefloor with her new husband, mouthing the lyrics “Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone….” This morning, I scrolled TikTok for an hour and watched videos of proposals and promises made during the moment on Taylor’s many tours when she would sing ‘Love Story' - a song that remains timeless as ever.

A country version of Romeo and Juliet is something only Taylor Swift could do with her knack for narrative building and flair for the dramatics, and that’s exactly what she did with her hit single ‘Love Story’. This is the song that perfectly translated over to pop radio, making non-country fans decide to give Swift a chance and encouraging Taylor to use more and more pop influences with her country twang. It more than paid off — spending 14 weeks in the top ten, winning awards like BMI’s Song of the Year, and selling more than 6.13 million copies to date. Pushing acclaim aside, ‘Love Story’ feels like a story any person could step inside. ‘Fifteen’ might be her most universally relatable track, but ‘Love Story’ is relatable in a different way; every person on this planet has hopelessly daydreamed over a lover.

With her rose-tinted glasses on, Taylor dreamed of a future where she existed in a fairytale, likely why she made the secret message of this track “Someday I’ll Find This”. She started the song with one line—”this love is difficult, but it’s real”—and built the entire song around it. Inspired by a guy she was dating who wasn’t her parents' or friends' first, second, or third choice, ‘Love Story’ weaves through a retelling of the famous Shakespearean love story, mirroring her own experiences with that of Romeo & Juliet. She told Big Machine Records that “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 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.”

Taylor has always been a songwriter who easily slides into her character’s shoes (think of the conspiring couple in ‘cowboy like me’, the tumultuous relationship in ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’, or the Kennedy-inspired lovers in ‘Starlight’), and in the past, she’s been outspoken about how she doesn’t exactly need to be directly involved to write about a certain situation. But, even with that in mind, there’s always been something special about ‘Love Story’ and Swift’s untainted, youthful view of love.

It’s why when ‘Love Story (Taylor’s Version)’ - the first of many upcoming re-recordings - was released, it felt like I was 15 again, hopelessly daydreaming and wondering when my very own Romeo was going to take me away. In 'Taylor's Version', it is as if you can hear the old and new blend together; the innocent wide-eyed teenage Taylor who dreamed of fairytales and castles and passionate love being tended to by the fully-grown Taylor who never stopped believing in love stories, but removed her rose-tinted glasses to see a bit more clearly. In its own way, that's a love story itself.

Fearless (Taylor's Version) arrives 9 April. 

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