Top 40 single reviews

Taylor Swift

You Belong With Me

Album: Fearless

Year: 2009


               Taylor Swift is in love with her best friend in the relatable “You Belong With Me.”


             A pouty banjo opens the single, setting a  feisty tone. He apologizes to his girlfriend several times, saying he didn’t mean it. She plays with her sleeves of her sweater, pretending not to be aware of the conversation. He turns to her and gives her a rueful look.He tells her that his girlfriend hung up on him and mutters that according to his girlfriend, he’s an insensitive guy with a cruel sense of humor. She tells him it’s dry and takes a while to understand it. Most people think she’s being totally serious, too. He tells her thanks and he’ll have to remember it the next time he’s joking around. She tells him goodbye and unlocks the front door. She says hello to her parents, catches them up about what’s going on with her best friend  and heads into her bedroom. She sets her iPod to play only Carly Simon. She can hear his ex-girlfriend exclaming “she’s old! Ew!” at her music choice. It was him who got her into Carly Simon. His mom was into Carly Simon and used to dance around in the family room to it. It’s one of his fondest memories of his mom he has mom. (“You're on the phone with your girlfriend, she's upset/She's going off about something that you said/She doesn’t get your humour like I do/I'm in the room, its a typical Tuesday night/I'm listening to the kind of music she doesn’t like/And she'll never know your story like I do.”)


          In the pre-chrous, Swift says his girlfriend wears the latest fashions, shopping the mall every weekend at the expensive clothing stores. She’s the head cheerleader, performing with a smile on her face at the games. Meanwhile, Swift likes her cheap t-shirts from the discount stores and practices the clairnet, trying to learn the new songs. He keeps telling her he would like a girlfriend who he can to talk to about anything and share his interest in music.  Right now he is only concerned with looks and popularity, both qualities his girlfriend has.  (“But she wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts/She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers/Dreaming about the day when you wake up and find/That what you're lookin for has been here the whole time.”)


          In the chorus, she thinks they would make a great couple. She cares about him and knows him so well. Their friendship often blurs the lines into romance. Why can’t he see it? (“If you could see that I'm the one who understands you/Been here all along so why can't you see?/You belong with me/You belong with me.”)


        She says the holes in her jeans are bigger. He laughs and tears the hole in his jeans a bit more, saying he’s the new champion. His grin is wide with shining eyes. It’s the first time she’s heard him laugh out loud like that in three months. His girlfriend is trying to turn him into a preppy jock. She asks him if he’s ok. He responds that he’s fine in a monotone voice and quickly changes the subject. It confirms what she already thought: he’s miserable with her and wants out. (“Walk in the streets with you in your worn out jeans/I can’t help thinking this is how it ought to be/Laughing on the park bench thinking to myself /Hey isn’t this easy?/And you've got a smile that could light up this whole town/I haven’t seen it in awhile, since she brought you down/You say you’re fine, I know you better than that/Hey, whatcha doing with a girl like that?”)


            The pre-chorus is sung again.


             An extended chorus is sung.  She adds that it’s frustrating for her as she knocks on his door. It’s been their knock for several years now. He immediately opens it and says he’s so glad she  came over. He and his girlfriend are fighting again. (“If you could see I’m the one who understands you…standing by, waiting at your back door/All this time how could you not know that/You belong with me/You belong with me.”)


            In the bridge, last year during the summer, he finally got license. He wanted to go out for a midnight drive and see the city. She recongnizes the tremble in his voice and knows she has to tell him a corny joke. It’’ll cheer him up right away. She knows he likes modern rock (with the preset for the radio station at number 2 for him in her car.) After they graduate, they’ve talked about what they want to do. He wants to work computer and with all the latest gadgets, maybe invent a famous program. Together, they would be right and unstoppable. (“Oh I remember you driving to my house in the middle of the night/I'm the one who makes you laugh when you know you're about to cry/I know your favorite songs and you tell me about your dreams/I think I know where you belong. I think I know it's with me.”)


              An edited version of the extended chorus is sung to close the single. (“Can't you see that I'm the one who understands you?/Been here all along so why can't you see?/You belong with me/Standing by,  waiting at your back door/All this time how could you not know that/You belong with me/You belong with me/Have you ever thought just maybe/You belong with me/You belong with me.”)

Swift’s  querying vocals wonders what she lacks. She and her best friend get along. She’s everything he mentioned he wants in a girlfriend. Every time he says “I wish she would…” and follows it with something Swift does, she wants to stand in right of him and tell him it’s her he really wants and can’t admit it. She can only hope he matures.


       The  comprehending “You Belong With Me” is confused, frustrated, upset, jealous – just like any normal teenage girl would be.

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