Only The Young

Album: Miss Americana (2020)
Charted: 57 50

Songfacts®:

  • This politically charged track plays over the end credits of Taylor Swift's Netflix documentary Miss Americana. Swift originally penned the song following her disappointment at the 2018 midterm elections when the two Democratic candidates she publicly endorsed in her home state of Tennessee both lost.
  • It keeps me awake, the look on your face
    The moment you heard the news
    You're screaming inside and frozen in time
    You did all that you could do


    In a cover story with Variety, Swift explained she'd written the song after seeing all the young people who had canvassed hard see their hopes dashed.

    She added: "I found that to be particularly tragic, because young people are the people who feel the worst effects of gun violence, and student loans and trying to figure out how to start their lives and how to pay their bills, and climate change, and are we going to war - all these horrific situations that we find ourselves facing right now."
  • Swift co-wrote and co-produced "Only the Young" with Joel Little, who worked with Swift on four tracks on her Lover album. The Miss Americana documentary shows her demoing the track. The viewers see Swift explain to Little that the message she wants to send to the millions of young Americans who become old enough to vote before the next election is, "don't lose hope."
  • Swift first aired her political views in the 2018 midterm elections when she declared her support for two Tennessee Democratic candidates - Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper - in an Instagram post. Though she had previously touched on gay rights in "You Need To Calm Down"; patriarchy in "The Man"; and political disillusionment in "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince," "Only The Young" is her most political song to date. Joel Little co-wrote all four of these tracks.
  • Little and Swift wrote the song in New York the same week they did "The Man" and "Me!." They started with a drumbeat that Little had come up with, then Swift played around with some chords that went with his percussion.
  • The kids' choir comprises just two people: Little's daughters Lia and Emmie, singing harmonies with themselves. The producer told Variety: "I had to do it in a way where they weren't allowed to know that they were singing on a Taylor Swift song, obviously, because there's a lot of secrecy involved with all this stuff."

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