Our Song (Taylor Swift song)

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"Our Song"
A photo of Swift in a floral dress sitting on a wooden desk in front of a board. Her name "Taylor Swift" is printed vertically on the left, in cursive, and the title "Our Song" is printed below her.
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album Taylor Swift
ReleasedSeptember 10, 2007 (2007-09-10)
Studio
  • Quad
  • Sound Cottage (Nashville)
GenreCountry
Length3:22
LabelBig Machine
Songwriter(s)Taylor Swift
Producer(s)Nathan Chapman
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Teardrops on My Guitar"
(2007)
"Our Song"
(2007)
"Picture to Burn"
(2008)
Music video
"Our Song" on YouTube

"Our Song" is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her self-titled debut studio album (2006). Swift wrote "Our Song" for a high school talent show during her freshman year; the lyrics are about a young couple using the regular events in their lives to create their own song. She persuaded Big Machine Records to include the song on her debut album because it was popular among her classmates. It was released on September 10, 2007, by Big Machine Records as the album's third single. Produced by Nathan Chapman, "Our Song" is an uptempo banjo-driven country track incorporating fiddles and hip hop-influenced drums.

Music critics lauded "Our Song" for Swift's songwriting craftsmanship resulting in a memorable hook that appeals to a non-country audience. The song featured on Rolling Stone's 2019 list of the best country songs by female artists since 2000. A success on country radio, the single made Swift the youngest person—eighteen at the time—to single-handedly write and sing a number-one single on the Hot Country Songs chart; it stayed at number one for six weeks. "Our Song" peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified four times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It also peaked at number thirty on the Canadian Hot 100 and was certified platinum by Music Canada (MC).

Trey Fanjoy directed the song's music video, which premiered on CMT on September 14, 2007. The video won Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year at the 2008 CMT Music Awards. To promote her debut album, Swift performed the song on many television programs and at the 2007 Country Music Association Awards. She included "Our Song" in the set list of the Fearless Tour (2009–2010), her first headlining tour, and performed it on select dates of her subsequent tours including the Speak Now World Tour (2011–2012), the Red Tour (2013–2014), and the Reputation Stadium Tour (2018).

Development and release[edit]

Pennsylvania-born Taylor Swift moved to Nashville, Tennessee at fourteen years old, in 2004, to pursue a career in country music.[1] She signed with Sony/ATV in 2004 to become a professional songwriter, and with Big Machine Records in 2005 to become a country music singer.[2][3] During a four-month period near the end of 2005, Swift recorded songs for her self-titled debut album with producer Nathan Chapman.[4] By the time production wrapped, Swift had completed her freshman high school year in Hendersonville, Tennessee.[5] The album was released on October 24, 2006, through Big Machine Records.[6]

Swift wrote and co-wrote all of the album's eleven tracks, including three solely written by herself.[7] Among the three songs, "Our Song" is a track Swift wrote for a talent show of her freshman high school year.[8] She conceived the song as an upbeat and relatable track to appeal to her classmates, writing it within twenty minutes.[9][10] On the inspiration, Swift said: "I wrote it about this guy I was dating, and how we didn't have a song. So I went ahead and wrote us one."[10] Upon receiving positive feedback from her classmates, Swift thought that "Our Song" had potentials to become a chart success, insisting that Big Machine Records executives include it on the final track list.[9][10] She envisioned the production in hear head before approaching Chapman.[11] Swift chose the song as the closing track on the album because the final chorus features the repeated lyric "Play it again", which she thought would subliminally suggest the listener replay the album.[12]

Big Machine Records executives chose "Our Song" as the third single from the album, which Swift was surprised yet glad about.[8][10] The label released the song to US country radio on September 10, 2007,[13] and as a crossover single to US pop radio on March 10, 2008, in partnership with Republic Records.[14] "Our Song" was later included on the track list of the international version of Fearless, Swift's second studio album, released in March 2009.[15] In October 2019, following the Taylor Swift masters controversy, Big Machine Records re-released "Our Song", along with other singles from Swift's debut album, on limited-edition vinyl.[16][17]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Narrated in first person, "Our Song" recalls the little moments of a young couple.[18] The lyrics are conversational and simple, which brings forth an engaging and straightforward story line.[18] In the first verse, the narrator and her boyfriend are traveling in a car, as she sings: "He's got a one-hand feel on the steering wheel, the other on my heart."[19] They realize they do not have a song to call their own, so in the chorus, the couple create their own song from the little moments that happen in their daily lives. The boyfriend says, "Our song is the slammin' screen door / Sneakin' out late, tappin' on your window," to which the narrator replies, "Our song is the way he laughs / The first date, man, I didn't kiss him when I should have," in a playful tone.[18] In the final lines of the chorus, Swift asks God "if he could play it again" when she gets home.[18]

Built around a banjo riff, "Our Song" is a country track featuring a dramatic fiddle solo in the break.[20][21][22] Set in half time, the song's key is D major and its tempo is 89 beats per minute.[23] Reflecting the conversational lyrics, "Our Song" emphasizes the fifth scale-step in the chorus and employs repeated pitches in the lower register of Swift's vocals in the verses, where she sings at one pitch for a sustained period, which effectively conveys the narrative storytelling.[20][24] The chorus features Swift singing in a higher register, which brings forth an upbeat and more tuneful melody, creating a memorable hook.[20] In the song, Swift sings with a twang vocal delivery[25] and employs a Southern accent, brought by her move from Pennsylvania to Tennessee as a teenager. Swift pronounces the pronoun "I" closer to the monophthong "ah", sings the words "car" and "heart" with a non-rhotic accent, and plays on the lack of verb agreement in Southern American English in the lyric "your mama don't know".[26]

Critics debated on whether "Our Song" is country music. Grady Smith from Rolling Stone selected it as one of Swift's "countriest songs", noting the instruments and her Southern accent.[27] In an article for JSTOR, Chi Luu argued that Swift employed a Southern accent as a means to signify her authenticity in country music.[note 1] J. Freedom du Lac from The Washington Post and Nick Jones from Vulture noticed influences of hip hop and rhythmic music in the phrasing and the compressed drums in the final chorus.[11][28]

Critical reception[edit]

"Our Song" received critical acclaim. In reviews of Swift's debut album, Jeff Tamarkin of AllMusic[29] and Rick Bell of Country Standard Time picked "Our Song" as one of the best tracks thanks to Swift's songwriting skills about her observations.[30] Jonathan Keefe of Slant Magazine opined that the song was effective because it employs a conventional narrative and "massive pop hooks".[31] In a review of the international version of Fearless, Fiona Chua of MTV Asia selected the track as a highlight.[15] Rob Sheffield writing for Blender found Swift's songwriting about teenage love astonishing and full of "personality and poise".[32]

In a retrospective review for Pitchfork, Maura Johnston selected the track as one of Swift's early demonstrations of songwriting craftsmanship for earnestly portraying teenage experiences, which made her stand out among other teen idols who sang music written for them.[33] Alexis Petridis from The Guardian found the production generic, but commended Swift's lyrics for making the track outstanding.[34] Other publications including NME,[22] Vulture,[28] and Rolling Stone agreed, citing the songwriting trope and the radio-friendly hook.[35] In a 2019 ranking of Swift's songs, Roisin O'Connor of The Independent picked "Our Song" among her best five: "Swift is a master of the meta-narrative, so her making a song about a song based on sounds from real-life is all kinds of perfect."[36] The song was one of the "Award-Winning Songs" at the 2008 BMI Country Awards.[37] In 2019, Rolling Stone featured "Our Song" in their list of the best female country songs from 2000.[38]

Chart performance[edit]

"Our Song" was a success on country radio.[39] It reached number one on the Hot Country Songs chart dated December 15, 2007, giving Swift her first number one on the chart.[40] The song's jump from number six to number one on the chart marked the biggest jump to the top since Tim McGraw's "Just to See You Smile" (1998), which also ascended from number six to number one.[40] With this achievement, Swift became the youngest person—eighteen years old at the time—to single-handedly write and sing a Hot Country Songs number one.[41] It spent six consecutive weeks at number one[42] and twenty-four weeks in total.[43] The success of "Our Song" on country radio turned Swift into a rising star in the genre, which had predominantly seen the domination of middle-aged male musicians.[39]

On the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, the single peaked at number sixteen, becoming the third consecutive Hot 100 top-forty single from Swift's debut album.[44] On the Mainstream Top 40 chart, which tracks pop radio in the United States, it peaked at number eighteen and was Swift's second crossover appearance, following "Teardrops on My Guitar" in 2006.[45] In August 2014, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the track four times platinum for surpassing four million units based on sales and streaming.[46] By July 2019, "Our Song" had sold 3.4 million digital copies in the United States.[47] In neighboring Canada, "Our Song" peaked at number thirty on the Canadian Hot 100, the best-charting song from Swift's debut album,[48] and was certified platinum by Music Canada (MC) for 80,000 digital copies sold.[49]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Our Song" was directed by Trey Fanjoy.[50] While listening to "Our Song", Fanjoy shared her ideals for a music video with Swift. "She had this idea for a front porch performance and then a field of flowers for another performance, then a black-and-white performance shot. It all came together in her head. She was able to translate that so well onto film. It just shows what a truly great director she is", Swift informed CMT News.[8] The video was conceptualized to be very fantasy-like and surreal.[51] The video begins with a shot of Swift's toenails as she paints them. Swift, casually wearing a blue tank top, white hot pants, and straightened hair, is revealed to be engaging in a phone conversation in a bedroom. A cut-scene shows Swift affront her bedroom mirror, which she writes the word "Love", before furtively approaching a front porch, seen in a blue dress and curly hair. Swift then sits near the edge and performs "Our Song". The scene transitions to Swift lying on a bed of flowers and wearing an orange evening gown. She holds a card that spells her first name. Then, clothed by a long, black dress, black cowboy boots, and black gloves, Swift sings with a microphone and a backup band behind her in front of a white backdrop. Throughout the remainder of the video, scenes alternate between previous settings and concludes with Swift giggling while sitting on the front porch.

The video premiered on September 14, 2007 on CMT.[50] The video received a nomination for "Number One Streamed Music Video" at the web-hosted 2008 CMT Online Awards, but lost to Carrie Underwood's video for "All-American Girl".[52] At the 2008 CMT Music Awards, the video won the CMT Music Award for "Video of the Year" and "Female Video of the Year".[53] As of May 20, 2021, the video has over 188 million views.

Live performances[edit]

Swift in a sparkling dress performing on a guitar
Swift performing "Our Song" at a concert on the Fearless Tour

Swift performed "Our Song" as she opened for Rascal Flatts on several dates, from October 19 to November 3, 2006, included on the Me and My Gang Tour (2006–07).[54] She opened the concert with the song and dressed in a black, knee-length dress and red cowboy boots with a design of a skull and cross bones across it, playing an acoustic guitar.[55] She also performed the song when she served as opening act on twenty dates for George Strait's 2007 United States tour,[56] and selected dates for Brad Paisley's Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour in 2007.[57][58] During mid-2007, Swift engaged as the opening act on several dates for Tim McGraw's and Faith Hill's joint tour, Soul2Soul II Tour (2006–07), where she again performed "Our Song".[59] Swift performed the song while she was again opening for Rascal Flatts for their Still Feels Good Tour in 2008.[60] Swift's first televised performance of "Our Song" was on October 10, 2007 on Regis & Kelly.[61] She continued promotion for track at the 2007 Country Music Association Awards,[62] The Engine Room,[63] and a concert at the Apple Store in SoHo, New York, which was recorded and released as a live extended play (EP), iTunes Live from SoHo, exclusively sold through the iTunes Store.[64] Since completing promotion for Taylor Swift and its corresponding singles, Swift has performed "Our Song" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show,[65] on Studio 330 Sessions,[66] on The Today Show,[67] at the 2009 CMA Music Festival,[68] as a duet with English rock band Def Leppard on CMT Crossroads, the episode was released as a DVD exclusively through Wal-Mart stores in the United States,[69] at the 2009 V Festival,[70] and at the Australian charity concert Sydney Sound Relief.[71]

Swift performed the song on all venues of her first headlining concert tour, the Fearless Tour, which extended from April 2009 to June 2010. During each performance, she donned a sparkly cocktail dress and black, leather boots. Swift skipped across the stage performing, playing a acoustic guitar adorned with rhinestones.[72] Jim Harrington of The San Jose Mercury News reported the song's performance at the April 11, 2010 at HP Pavilion at San Jose in San Jose, California received a large positive reaction from the audience: "Moms and daughters, as well as groups of teens and couples out for a date night, sang along with equal gusto as Swift detailed young romance in 'Our Song'."[73] Molly Trust of Billboard attended the performance at the tour's final concert on June 5, 2010 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts and stated, "Swift contrasted her slower songs with intense performances of 'Forever & Always' [...] and 'Our Song'".[74]

"Our Song" was performed in the North American leg of the Speak Now World Tour, the only song from Swift's debut album on the set list.[75] During the Red Tour, Swift performed it in place of "I Almost Do" on selected dates, such as the shows in Raleigh and Arlington.

During Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour, she performed an acoustic version of the song during her show at Soldier Field in Chicago on June 1, 2018.[76] She then performed an a capella version of the song during her show at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on July 14, 2018 after a technical malfunction occurred on stage.[77]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the liner notes of Taylor Swift (2006).[78]

  • Taylor Swift – writer, guitar, harmony vocals
  • Nathan Chapman – producer, banjo, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmony vocals
  • Bruce Bouton – dobro
  • Nick Buda – drums
  • Eric Darken – percussion
  • Rob Hajacos – fiddle
  • Tim Marks – bass

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Sales certifications for "Our Song"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[49] Platinum 80,000*
United States (RIAA)[46] 4× Platinum 4,000,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[46]
Mastertone
Gold 500,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Luu noted that Swift came from an upper middle class background, which differentiated her from other country female music singers writing about overcoming hardships and poverty. The Southern accent, along with Swift's autobiographical narratives, played an important role in shaping her early image as a country music artist.[26]

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Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]