Everyone has a political opinion these days, including Taylor Swift. And she definitely shares it on her latest track, “Only the Young.”
A song from Swift’s new Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, “Only The Young” expresses Taylor’s disparaging views on recent elections, as well as her hope that younger generations will not give up and continue to pursue change.
This politically charged track gets right to the point. She believes youth across America (including Taylor herself) were devastated by the results of the 2018 midterm elections. Up until that point, Swift had famously refused to comment on politics. But that election marked the spot where she changed her stance and began to be very vocal about her political convictions.
Swift sings about the shock of seeing so many disappointed faces, something that she says haunts her: “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.”
She believes that the system itself is rigged (“The game was rigged, the ref got tricked/The wrong ones think they’re right”) and that the current president is responsible for not protecting children in school shootings (“You go to class scared/… And the big bad man and his big bad clan/Their hands are stained with red”). Additionally, Swift isn’t shy about voicing her opinion that the Republican party is selfishly choosing its agenda over the good of the people (“They aren’t gonna help us/Too busy helping themselves/They aren’t gonna change it/We gotta do it ourselves”).
But Swift encourages the youth of America to pursue their convictions even when they feel defeated: “But only the young/Can run/So run/Don’t say you’re too tired to fight/It’s just a matter of time.”
In isolation, one could possibly hear Taylor Swift’s call to courage and activism as a good thing. This track calls a younger generation to stand and fight for what they believe in. And that is a good thing.
But Swift goes a lot further, defining which side she’s convinced is right and demonizing the other one. So, this song isn’t just a generic call to justice. Rather, it’s a partisan message with a partisan agenda. It’s important to choose your political side, Taylor tells us. But only one side, she believes, is right.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).