The 1

Album: Folklore (2020)
Charted: 10 4
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Songfacts®:

  • "The 1" is a nostalgic song where Taylor Swift looks back at a lost romance. She addresses her ex in a conversational tone as she contemplates what her life would have been like if they had stayed together.

    It would've been fun
    If you would've been the one


    Though sad that their union never worked out, Taylor takes the positive from their breakup, explaining it helped her to grow.
  • Taylor Swift wrote the song with Aaron Dessner. Swift is a fan of Dessner's band, The National, and she included their tracks "Light Years" and "Rylan" on a May 2019 playlist of Songs I'm Loving Right Now.

    Swift texted Dessner the following April, asking if he wanted to collaborate, to which he readily agreed. The pair worked on 11 of the 16 tracks on Folklore over the next several months. "We were pretty much in touch daily for three or four months by text and phone calls," Dessner recalled to Pitchfork. "Some of it was about production and restructuring things but a lot of it was just excitement. We both felt that this was some of the best work we have done."
  • "The 1" is the opening track of Folklore. It, along with the record's closing track "Hoax," were the last tunes Swift and Dessner laid down for the set. The National band member told Vulture they thought the record was complete, but then Swift dived back into Dessner's folder of ideas. She wrote "The 1" and "Hoax" in a space of a few hours and sent them to Dessner in the middle of the night. When he woke up in the morning, he told Swift, "These have to be on the record." She agreed adding, "These are the bookends, you know?"
  • Aaron Dessner played the keyboards, synth bass and electric guitar on the track. The others who pitched in were:

    Synthesizer: Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman).

    Percussion: Jason Treuting.

    Violin and viola: Yuki Numata Resnick.

    Engineer: Kyle Resnick (a regular The National collaborator, he is the husband of Yuki Numata Resnick).

    Mixing engineer: Jon Low (Aaron Dessner's National engineer).

    Orchestration: Bryce Dessner (Aaron Dessner's The National bandmate and twin brother).

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