You’re On Your Own, Kid

Miss Taylor Swift teaching everyone the proper use of “You’re and Your.”

Lyrical Interpretation

Summer went away
Still, the yearning stays
I play it cool with the best of them
I wait patiently

I definitely see this song lyrically as a linear reflection of Taylor’s life. There have been some pretty cute montage’s that fans have made that show this growth from Debut to Midnights. The beginning of these lines feeling very Debut cover, before she became ‘Taylor Swift’

Summer went away, but the yearning for summer lingers on – but I don’t think this is just referencing summer, I think it’s referencing the feeling that summer holds for most of us. Freedom, warmth, a break from school [for her during this era]. It could be a feeling that is within a person, a moment, a genuinely happy feeling that you want to hold on to. Think of yourself in the passenger side of someone’s car, windows down, sunset in the distance and a light warm breeze in your hair – that – that is the feeling that lingers on. But just like everything else, it ends – moves on.

From other songs ‘The Best Day‘ and from past interviews we know that Taylor had a lonesome past – in terms of high school and middle school friends. The line I play it cool with the best of them, makes me think she is referencing this time. The time when we do all we can to fit in – try to act cool without trying [hey mastermind] but really we are trying our damndest to fit in.

I wait patiently, maybe my time will come, maybe my crush or my friends will notice me, maybe I’ll be able to make music for a living? Only time will tell.

He’s gonna notice me
It’s okay, we’re the best of friends

He’s gonna notice me – how could he not, we’re best friends? But maybe that will backfire on my dreams? I feel like this is also kind of just needing that person in your life. Maybe you have a massive crush on someone, maybe they like you back or maybe they don’t, but what you do know is despite their feelings – you want them in your life in any form.

I can’t tell if the anyway, is like, a transition of talking, like how we use ANYWAYS, after we say something awkward or sarcastic, or if anyway is apart of the sentence, like, its okay, were best of friends anyway –

I hear it in your voice
You’re smoking with your boys

These two lines make me think about when guys shape-shift to who they are around. Specifically in high school and middle school when boys are around other boys they are just… not as nice [lol]. They often act like they are too cool to show any affection, and like the other person is a burden, but in secret they are over-caring, kind, and attentive.

So with bias I kind of read the “I hear it in your voice.. with your boys” as if they were on the phone and the person she is talking too is coming off ‘too cool’ to talk to her at the moment because he is with his friends.

I touch my phone as if it’s your face

I think this is really reliant on the time Taylor is talking about and what type of phone she is holding. Back when we were 15-18 it wasn’t as common to have a cell phone. Most of us had landlines and most of the time our parents could spy on us [lol bad times]. When you hold an older phone it takes up much space on your hand, but it also kind of curves around your face. So reading this ‘I touch my phone as if it’s your face‘ – I can see the curvature of this phone on my hand as if it was in the shape of a face. Perfectly consumed by the volume of my palm. The desire to touch someone who you physically cant – a barrier between a line and two phones.

I didn’t choose this town
I dream of getting out

Definitely this is before/during Debut. The desire to make it big – the desire to be able to become someone.

There’s just one who could make me stay
All my days

DREW?!? lol – I’m just kidding but there is someone there that was her first ‘love’ and her first ‘crush’ that seemed to be the entire world to her – but without them – there is no reason to stay.
I think a lot of us face this ultimatum at some point in our life – do we move somewhere new on our own, or stay for someone we love? But without their existence in our life – there is nothing keeping us in that location. Grow and move on, or stay and hold on.

From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes

Many different theories on this line alone – all theories revolve around time but the question is how long of time – Sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes could be sun up to sun down, right? From the day time playing to the night while sleeping, since fireplace hangs typically happen either very early or very late in the evening.

The other theory on this is from childhood to home-owning as an adult. From childhood careless days to the responsibilities that being an adult has. From being managed as a child to managing on your own.

I waited ages to see you there

Who? Ok so – there are many times and in many songs I often think Taylor is singing about herself [gold rush is one of these songs] and in some aspects I could see this being about her. I waited ages to see you there, to see you successful, to see you as an A-list celebrity, to see you as a musician. But this theory wouldn’t really make sense with the following lines – just to learn that you never cared.

So who did we wait ages to see there? At the parties? A crush? A director? A producer? Someone signing her? A first big love? If this is a reference to the first set of lines the one person that could make me stay – maybe this is at a high school party – the one that could make me stay- didn’t care. So forward to the following verse I run away. I get out of this home town – I chase my dreams beyond this small town.

I search the party of better bodies
Just to learn that you never cared

I search the party of ‘better bodies,’ bodies that eventually Taylor would compare herself to – this person, whoever we are talking about, didn’t care, didn’t see her as someone who stood out – which Taylor takes into action [in the worst way] later in the song to perhaps make this person care more.

You’re on your own, kid
You always have been

When I read these lines originally I kind of thought how she always had the support of her family. She wasn’t really alone during these times, but she was kind of alone in the sense of the industry. Obviously her parents and brother hadn’t gone through fame before. She was being guided by professionals [men] and other producers for her rise in fame. She was figuring out a lot of these things on her own – and specifically, she was stuck in country trying to figure out a way to write songs in a new genre that wouldn’t accept her quite yet. So maybe she wasn’t alone physically, within 2006-2012 I’d say she was alone in the industry as a very young woman trying to branch out into something new.

But if we read these first initial lines as a story included with the chorus- it feels all very small town, first love, high school party. Not being able to compete with the other girls for this persons love, and then deciding to make the jump to moving into her career [next verse]. Moving on to mini-fame, becoming ‘Taylor Swift.’ Fast forward now, to in between Speak Now and Red.

I see the great escape
So long, Daisy May

I love these two lines. I think this is during her Red era, or right before. I see the escape from country to pop, goodbye daisy may, in reference to her southern roots and persona. She finally has a chance to break away from her southern tied genre that she had to mold into to get into the industry.

I also can only think of …

when I hear ‘the great escape,’ and this song WAS written in 2007 so – kind of all around the time of her rise to fame.

I picked the petals, he loves me not
Something different bloomed

A heartbreak, but something beautiful came from that heartbreak. I think this is a beautiful and almost positive way to look at these instances. Especially now we can see the pride and joy she takes in All Too Well, so maybe this line is referencing that era or Speak Now era, but either one of these massive heart aches allowed her to gain a new perspective and write in a way she hadn’t before.

Writing in my room
I play my songs in the parking lot
I’ll run away

Writing in my room feels like a therapeutic action – this is something I do to breathe. However these lines also make me think of prior big fame. Playing wherever you can to be seen, writing as much as you can, running away from the heartbreak and somewhere new – New York? The next set of lines make me think moving to New York for 1989 era. Running away from the one that didn’t care and onto something new.

From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes
I called a taxi to take me there

I called a taxi to take me to there – the next party – a bigger party this time … a party with people who have similar dreams and lives.

I search the party of better bodies
Just to learn that my dreams aren’t rare

This time the party feels bigger, full of like-minded people all starving, working towards the same goal. When you are around other artists or people in the industry it DOES make you feel small and somewhat not unique or special. Sometimes you can produce beautiful pieces of art and are SO proud but the moment you are introduced to someone either more seasoned in the industry or successful in their field you begin to second guess your abilities – can you make it to their level?

I feel like this often around other successful artists or photographers. We’re constantly looking at each other as untouchable – instead of seeing the beauty we each share alone.

From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes
I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this

Hello to the bridge that wrecks me every single time. This time the line definitely solidifies years of time. From childhood to a grown adult, from sunrise to sunset I have given all I have had to get here. I’ve overworked myself. I’ve cried at speculation and hurtful things. I’ve given my literal sweat for my songs and for tour. I’ve cried days on end to get somewhere – while being hurt and also while receiving joy. Not all sweat and tears are bad – some of these moments were produced by happiness – and I think as listeners we can’t forget that.

I hosted parties and starved my body
Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss

kill me.

But seriously the relatability that most of us have with this is a lot. This definitely feels like a 1989Rep moment. While she was hanging with models, she takes this idea of ‘worth’ and who is ‘worth’ being seen or acknowledged and puts it into her weight. Before she went to parties and didn’t stand out, she learned dreams weren’t unique, and she placed action and took it out on her body to see if that would propel her into a bigger career or love. Who is worthy of success and love?

The jokes weren’t funny, I took the money

I think a lot of fan montages of this song point out some good moments to reference for this line. There were so many jokes, and still too this day, where the media pokes fun of her ‘breakups’ and relationship songs, as if they don’t understand she writes so many songs based off inspiration or of just crushes she had and not actual committed relationships – and also as if she doesn’t write about her mom’s cancer or her grandmothers death. She took the jokes, didn’t laugh at them, but gathered her paycheck and moved on because that is what you do for your job.

My friends from home don’t know what to say

I do think about the idea of fame a lot – and those that watched you grow during this time. They see her changing, growing, rising in fame, and see the speculation occurring on her. What is true, what is false? Are the tabloids completely inaccurate? It would probably seem so – especially if you knew who she was at the root of it all.

I looked around in a blood-soaked gown

I kind of see this as a Carrie reference [hey Stephan King lol] – putting a synopsis in here of why it made me think of this specifically. Again, this is just my brain – I’ve seen many other ideas of it referencing Look What You Made Me Do and her era of Karma. But this synopsis is interesting to include:

Shy 16-year-old Carrie White, who lives with her fanatically religious and unstable mother Margaret, is unpopular at school and often bullied by her peers. When Carrie experiences her first period in the school shower, she panics, having never been told about menstruation. Carrie’s classmates throw tampons at her while chanting “Plug it up!” until the gym teacher, Miss Collins, intervenes. Following conversations with Miss Collins and the principal, Carrie is dismissed from school for the day. After arriving home, Margaret tells Carrie that her menstruation was caused by sin, and she locks Carrie in an altar-like “prayer closet” to pray for forgiveness. At school, Collins reprimands Carrie’s tormentors, punishing them with a week-long detention during gym class. She threatens that those who skip the punitive measure will be suspended for three days and barred from the upcoming prom. However, Carrie’s longtime bully, the wealthy and popular Christine “Chris” Hargensen, walks out and gets excluded from the prom.

Plotting vengeance against Carrie, Chris and her boyfriend Billy Nolan break into a farm and kill pigs to drain their blood into a bucket, which they place above the school’s stage in the gymnasium. Norma, Chris’ best friend and a prominent figure in the school’s student council regime, plans to rig the Prom Queen election in Carrie’s favor to get her on the stage. Meanwhile, Sue Snell, a deeply remorseful classmate, asks her handsome and popular boyfriend, Tommy Ross, to invite Carrie to the prom. Carrie believes the proposition is a prank, but he insists that it is genuine and she reluctantly accepts after Miss Collins consoles her. At home, she begins to discover that she has telekinesis as she shakes off her shyness. Despite Margaret’s protests, Carrie puts on a flattering dress and hairstyle for the prom. Margaret sees Carrie’s telekinetic powers and denounces her as a witch before Carrie leaves with Tommy.

During the prom, Chris and Billy hide under the stage while the other conspirators switch the ballots to ensure that Carrie wins the Prom Queen title. As Carrie stands onstage with Tommy, finally beginning to feel accepted by her peers, Sue realizes Chris and Billy’s plan, and begins to intervene. Miss Collins spots Sue and, thinking that she is up to no good, throws her out of the prom. Chris and Billy pull the rope attached to the bucket of pig blood, dousing Carrie; they then sneak out of the school. The empty bucket hits the outraged Tommy in the head, and he collapses. The crowd is left shocked and speechless at the prank, but Carrie hallucinates that everyone, even Miss Collins, is mocking her and, in a sudden outburst, telekinetically seals the exits and controls a fire hose, which injures several party-goers attempting to escape and sprays the overhead lights. Miss Collins is crushed by a falling basketball backboard and Carrie’s principal and teacher are electrocuted, setting the gym on fire. Carrie exits the gym and seals the doors behind her, trapping staff and classmates. As Carrie walks home, Chris and Billy attempt to run her over with Billy’s car but Carrie causes their car to overturn and explode, killing them.

It all kind of makes sense to me – a bullied girl, who finally gets to fit in, but for what? Except she doesn’t kill them, but she kills herself [look what you made me do] and she switches from old Taylor to Reputation Taylor.

And I saw something they can’t take away

In this moment I think she is referencing her new love that she found in the hidden shadows of Reputation. BUT ALSO I think she is referencing her new understanding of WHO she is. She had stripped the idea of the ‘good girl,’ and decided to start actually being who she wanted to be. She ridded the idea of appeasing speculation and tabloids and start to live more in private during Rep and Lover. You can’t take away a new found love for yourself when you desperately protect it.

But in reference to Joe and love, I do think Lavender Haze and Snow on the Beach all have similar undertones of these specific lines. So far I am adoring how all these songs string together.

‘Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned

This line is so complex for me. Two different reasons.The first is musically. There were new eras with songs scrapped. Stories untold. Songs that weren’t ‘good enough’ for the label.

The second makes me think of Right Where You Left Me, and this idea of pages turn and stick to each other – metaphorically meaning relationships. Pages turned, new years came, new relationships came and gone – some remain while some bridges had been burned never to allowing you to cross paths again.

Everything you lose is a step you take

Losing your masters to gain them back in a different way.
Losing close friendships to gain those that are more real and genuine
Losing fake fans to gain those that actually like and support you

So make the friendship bracelets

I actually read into this as doing the dorky things because you love it. When Taylor started her career she always wore so many fucking bracelets lol.

So I see this line as two different references.

  1. Make the friendship bracelets – quite literally, do the things that are out of fashion, that seem cliche, that are made fun of my the trends occurring if its’s something that brings you joy. Soak it up and embrace the cringe.
  2. Breathe in the moments that are fun to you. Live your life, enjoy these moments of happiness and absorb it all while you can. Bad shit will happen but everything you lose is a step you take. Take life in it’s ebs and flows and embrace it all. Be alive. Don’t hide.

Take the moment and taste it
You’ve got no reason to be afraid

Similar to the above ideas. Embrace it all. The worst you can do is fail – and that will lead to you somewhere else that you need to be.

You’re on your own, kid
Yeah, you can face this
You’re on your own, kid
You always have been

This is kind of the first time we have seen a gut-wrenching song by her end positively. This song for me isn’t sad or happy but pretty indifferent. I feel this because it’s all so real – it’s life. The tears she spent in her career have also been tears of success and joy. The sprinkler splashes were moments of joy and the fireplace ashes could be moments ended in romance. You’re on your own kid, but you can do this – you can rise up and re-record your stolen projects, you can find love without starving your body, you can rise above the speculation by guarding your personal life and making a distance between you and your career all while receiving love the way you deserve.

When I first heard this song I was gutted by the lyrics but was expecting something slower. I’m glad it’s not though – because metaphorically life is good and bad even when we feel like we are drowning. There are always moments that keep us afloat, and in this case it’s the fast beat of this song. Life is throwing shit at us constantly but we have to keep it movin’ – keep adapting – keep breathing through it.

This entire album has sad undertones while presenting happy: hey bejeweled. But I think people mix up the idea of genre and depth. Many of these lyrics within Midnights are incredibly deep, metaphorically loaded, and are not just ‘pop’ songs. A genre doesn’t mean less intellectually created. I think many of the general listeners don’t get that. It doesn’t have to sound indie to mean something.

This song is a lot in terms of feelings and depth. It just presents happy – similarly to many of us dealing with depression.

Photo Representation

Taylor always writes songs when we need them doesn’t she?

I know I could have gotten a bit more creative on this one, but I couldn’t get this isolated image out of my head. Lately, I have been writing songs again – a thing I used to do for therapy often from ages 12-22. I stopped, because my photography career took off. I can’t say I was good at it, and I can’t say that my songs would ever go anywhere – but I can say that writing again has brought me back to who I was and who I am at my core.

I had a million ideas in my head for these lyrics – but many of these images I’m also trying to relate to my own life. The idea of being surrounded by people, at parties, at grocery stores, in parking lots, at home, but feeling still alone and on your own is super relatable. The room is full but it feels quiet.

The idea of wanting summer – the feeling of freedom and warmth – to last is relatable. Maybe it’s not summer – but it’s a person, a feeling, a moment. You want it to stay. The yearning for it to stay is unbearable, but it’s going to pass – just like time.

Singing into a parking lot provides uninterested spectators, you want to be noticed but you’re singing to passerby’s of people who will forget you within minutes.

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