Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince
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|"Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince"|
|Song by Taylor Swift|
|from the album Lover|
|Released||August 23, 2019|
"Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her seventh studio album Lover, released on August 23, 2019, through Republic Records. As the seventh track on the album, it was written and produced by Swift and Joel Little. "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" is a gloomy synth-pop, dream pop and electropop song that documents Swift's disillusionment with the United States politics when she wrote it, using a metaphor consisting of a high school parable and homecoming imagery. The track has been labeled as an allegory-protest song.
"Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" received critical acclaim for its atmospheric and melancholic production, and for its poetic lyricism effectively conveying Swift's disappointment and sorrow. Music critics called it a standout on Lover. The song charted in Australia, Canada, Scotland, and the United States upon the release of its parent album. It debuted and peaked at number 49 and 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Rolling Stone Top 100, respectively. Swift's 2020 documentary film, Miss Americana, is titled after the song.
Background and composition
Swift wrote the gloomy synth-pop, dream pop and electropop song "a couple of months" after the 2018 United States elections. In the song, the seventh track on Lover, she expresses her disillusionment with the state of US politics. "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" is a melodramatic protest song, that employs a high school parable, homecoming imagery and peppy cheerleader chants, to present a metaphorical critique of the current state of US politics. "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" has also been described as "a dreamy ode to love, in a fashion that Lana Del Rey might be proud of", a "callback" to Halsey's "New Americana", and has been compared to Del Rey's "Video Games" and "National Anthem", and Swift's songs "You Belong with Me" (2008) and "Long Live" (2010). It "mixes prom vibes with old school Americana vibes with a new age love story."
After an interview with Swift, Variety's Chris Willman opined that the lyrics of "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" are a metaphor for "how Swift grew up as an unblinking patriot and has had to reluctantly leave behind her naiveté in the age of Trump". In the ambient opening, Swift sings about her disillusionment with the cultural climate of contemporary America: "You know I adore you, I'm crazier for you / Than I was at 16, lost in a film scene." She proceeds with a high school imagery that recalls her early songs, "American glory faded before me / Now I'm feeling hopeless, ripped up my prom dress / Running through rose thorns, I saw the scoreboard / And ran for my life." While the high school imagery was bright and optimistic on songs such as "You Belong with Me" (2008), it is now a metaphor for a transition from "the wide-eyed sophomore [to] the disaffected senior". The chorus is instrumented by marching band percussion and cheerleader-styled ad-libs "oh-kay!", on which Swift sings "It's you and me, there's nothing like this / Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince / We're so sad, we paint the town blue / Voted most likely to run away with you."
"Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" received acclaim from music critics, who called it a standout on the album and praised the political undertones of its lyrics. Will Gottsegen from Spin considered "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" to be a song that encapsulates both the cheerful, bright tones of Swift's releases in her early career, and the dark tones on Lover's preceding studio album Reputation (2017). Gottsegen wrote that the song exemplifies the "ecstatic and free" attitude of Lover overall, but is still affected by the media drama surrounding Swift's personal life around the Reputation era, praising it as the album's highlight for being a "conceptual evolution, and a love story for increasingly precarious times." Time's Dana Schwartz said that the song contains Swift's "most poetic lyricism", while Alexis Petridis from The Guardian lauded the track for effectively conveying Swift's political message, compared to other pop artists' desperate attempt at being "woke". Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone said the song is a "political allegory—looking at the whole country as one big high school where the damsels are depressed, and the mean cheerleaders leer at bad, bad girls."
In an op-ed for Teen Vogue, Claire Dodson wrote that "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" successfully captures the disappointment at American politics, and likened the song's theme to the content of Euphoria, a contemporaneous drama series dealing with issues in contemporary America such as body insecurity, transphobia, and drug addiction. Writing for Variety, Chris William felt that "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" would be a great "protest song" because, in his opinion, the song effectively conveys Swift's deep sorrow and disappointment towards American politics, which is rare among other protest songs where "anger feels like a lifetime condition, not something that's been arrived at as the culmination of a long character arc." William added that "songs about the United States as a creeping dystopia tend not to be very interesting, or listenable; a song about the U.S. of 2019 as a homecoming-game horror movie is something else". The song's atmospheric, melancholic production received comparisons to works by Halsey and Lana Del Rey. Slant Magazine named it the nineteenth-best track of 2019.
Upon the release of its parent album, "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" debuted and peaked at number 49 on the US Billboard Hot 100, simultaneously charting with the other seventeen tracks of Lover. It also entered the official charts in Australia, Canada and Scotland.
"Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" inspired the title of Swift's 2020 Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, directed by Lana Wilson, that follows Swift's life and career over several years. The song was used in the documentary's trailer.
Credits and personnel
- Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, producer
- Joel Little – producer, songwriter, drum programmer, keyboards, recording engineer, studio personnel
- John Hanes – mix engineer, studio personnel
- Serban Ghenea – mixer, studio personnel
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||47|
|UK Streaming (OCC)||63|
|US Billboard Hot 100||49|
|US Rolling Stone Top 100||16|
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