The 1

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

"The 1"
Promotional single by Taylor Swift
from the album Folklore
WrittenJuly 2020
ReleasedOctober 9, 2020 (2020-10-09)
Studio
  • Long Pond (Hudson Valley)
Genre
Length3:30
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Aaron Dessner
Lyric video
"The 1" on YouTube

"The 1" (stylized in all lowercase) is a song by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift and the opening track from her eighth studio album, Folklore (2020). She wrote the song with its producer, Aaron Dessner. A folk and soft rock tune with elements of indie folk, "The 1" sets Swift's conversational vocals over a production consisting of piano and percussion. In its lyrics, the narrator fondly introspects a failed romance and details the time when she found "the one" who never came to be. Republic Records released the song for download in Germany on October 9, 2020.

"The 1" received generally positive reviews from critics, who discussed the song's significance as the album's opening track and praised the songwriting and production. Commercially, the song debuted and peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It charted within the top 10 and received certifications in several countries. Swift included "The 1" as part of the concert documentary Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (2020) and her Eras Tour (2023–2024).

Background and development[edit]

The American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift began work on her eighth studio album, Folklore, during the COVID-19 lockdowns in early 2020. She conceived the record as figments of mythopoeic visuals in her mind, as a result of her imagination "running wild" while isolating herself during lockdown.[1][2] For the album's sound, Swift recruited the first-time collaborator, Aaron Dessner, as a producer on Folklore.[3] "The 1" was one of the tracks written by both Swift and Dessner, who produced the song.[3] Due to the lockdown, they were separated and had to send them via digital files to create the album.[4]

Although much of the songs they worked on started from Desnner's instrumental tracks,[5] "The 1" was written first and then produced.[6] It was one of the last two songs written for Folklore, the other being "Hoax"; Dessner thought the album was finished before Swift sent a voice memo with lyrics of "The 1" days prior to the album's release. Dessner subsequently worked on some of its production and tracked Swift's vocals, and then his brother Bryce Dessner added orchestration to the song. Aaron Dessner described the song's development as "one of the very last things [they] did" for Folklore.[6]

Music and lyrics[edit]

"The 1" is three minutes and thirty seconds long.[7] It was recorded by Aaron Dessner and Jonathan Low at Long Pond in Hudson Valley. The vocals were recorded by Laura Sisk at Kitty Committee Studio in Los Angeles. Aaron Dessner provided drum programming and instruments for the track, including acoustic guitar, electric guitar, Mellotron, OP1, piano, and synth bass. Other musicians on the song are Jason Treuting (percussion), Thomas Bartlett (OP1, synthesizer), and Yuki Numata Resnick (viola, violin). It was mixed by Low at Long Pond and mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound in New York City.[3]

"The 1" is a folk[8] and soft rock[9] tune with elements of indie folk.[10] The production begins with a piano that has a bit reverb to it,[11] labeled by critics as "optimistic"[12] and "soft".[13] It also incorporates a number of percussion instruments, including sparse and crisp synth drums,[14][12][15] slapped strums of guitar,[11] and finger-snaps;[16] these bring what critics deemed a lively beat to the track.[13][17] Combined with the piano, this resulted in an instrumentation they thought was "bouncy",[18] "breezy",[19] "brooding",[20] and one of the most upbeat on Folklore.[21] It also includes vocal harmonies.[12] Some critics commented that aspects of the production were influenced by the music of Aaron Dessner and his bands the National and Big Red Machine.[a]

The lyrics of "The 1" has a theme of introspection.[18] The song describes the narrator positively reminiscing on a past relationship during her "roaring 20s".[12][18] It explores on how she found "the one" at the time and wishes they could have been together: "It would have been fun, if you would've been the one".[12] The lyrics also addresses the narrator's languid contemplation for a fantasized romance: "You know, the greatest loves of all time are over now".[6] Swift's conversational singing[24] on the track contains elliptical wording[22] and humorous one-liners juxtaposed against the sadness.[25][6] Her voice is also "enigmatic" and clear, according to MusicOMH's Chloe Johnson, who believed it allowed her to highlight the song's narrative and imagery.[13] Allegra Frank of Vox thought the song was less a "kiss-off [but] more a solitary, gray-skied stroll through her day-to-day".[23] Rolling Stone's writer Rob Sheffield connected it to the fellow album track "Peace", opining that they "tell both sides" of the same narrative.[26]

Release and commercial performance[edit]

Swift singing on a moss-covered roof
Swift performing "The 1" on the Eras Tour (2023–2024)

On July 24, 2020, "The 1" was released as the opening track on Folklore.[27] It was also released by Republic Records for download in Germany on October 9.[28] On November 25, Swift recorded a stripped-down rendition of the track for the Disney+ concert documentary Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions and its live album.[29] On March 31, 2023, "The 1" replaced "Invisible String" on the set list of the Eras Tour, Swift's sixth headlining concert tour, as part of the concert's Folklore set.[30]

"The 1" debuted and peaked within the top 10 at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100, alongside the fellow album tracks "Cardigan" and "Exile" at numbers one and six, respectively. This made Swift the first artist to debut two songs in the top four and three songs in the top six at the same time.[31][32] It also debuted and peaked on the Rolling Stone Top 100 chart at number two behind "Cardigan".[33] The song received a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[34] On the Billboard Global 200, "The 1" appeared and peaked at number 114 when the chart was inaugurated on September 19, 2020, nine weeks following the release of Folklore.[35][36]

Elsewhere, "The 1" reached the top 10 in the countries of Malaysia (5),[37] Singapore (5),[38] Canada (7),[39] Ireland (7),[40] and New Zealand (7).[41] In Australia, the song debuted and peaked at number four on the ARIA Singles Chart alongside the rest of Folklore, which made Swift have the most debuts in one week with 16 entries.[42][43] It was certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).[44] In the United Kingdom, the song peaked at number 10 on the OCC's UK Singles Chart and increased Swift's top-10 entries to 16.[45][46] It received a gold certification from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[47] In Brazil, the song was certified platinum by Pro-Música Brasil.[48]

Critical reception[edit]

"The 1" received generally positive reviews from critics. They discussed the song regarding its placement on the album as the opening track, the majority of whom found its style for Folklore to deviate from her previous works[b] and to set the album's tone.[c] Allegra Frank of Vox thought the production was danceable like her other album openers but felt it was "markedly slowed down" in comparison.[23] Business Insider's critics Callie Ahlgrim and Courtney Lacrossa believed the song was Swift's best opening track since "State of Grace" from her 2012 album Red.[49] John Wohlmacher from Beats Per Minute found the track had a vocal melody and song structure similar to "I Forgot That You Existed"—the opener of her 2019 album Lover—but thought their aesthetics were quite distinct from each other.[52] Channing Freeman of Sputnikmusic wrote that the song's placement was a little detrimental as the rest of Folklore employs its style and believed this made the song somewhat less engaging.[51]

Critics mainly praised the song's production and songwriting. Ahlgrim included the song on her mid-year list of the best songs of 2020 and lauded it as one of Swift's "most relatable and stirring" tracks.[25] Lacrossa believed the track was "incredibly solid" and her delivery had "a breezy attention to rhythm" that complements the narrative.[49] Frank thought it was "wistful, introspective, and impressionistic" that does not neglect Swift's signature "melodic pop" and one of the defining tracks of Folklore.[23] Wohlmacher was impressed by how "poignant and mature" the lyrics were.[52] Johnson believed it was thoroughly written and produced.[13] The New Yorker writer Amanda Petrusich thought Swift's rumination on the track was "heartening" and "serene" in a comical manner.[53] The Telegraph critic Neil McCormick said that the song was full of narrative details and opined that its theme of "defeated love" may "suggest Swift's social isolation has been a lonely one".[54] Caleb Campbell from Under the Radar deemed the song's lyrics about a crumbling romance one of her most mature takes on the subject to date.[55]

Ellen Johnson of Paste described the lyrics as "bright, vivid and occasionally funny" but in a more sophisticated way compared to Swift's previous songs.[14] Katie Moulton from Consequence thought the track was one of the first songs she did not write for radio formats and highlighted the "self-awareness and willingness to both hold herself responsible and forgive" that makes it distinguishable from other album tracks.[56] Anna Leszkiewicz of the New Statesman found the lyrics "[w]istful but refreshingly lacking in regret" and believed the song blended her skill of "romantic nostalgia with a novel ease and acceptance".[12] Eloise Bulmer from The Line of Best Fit said Swift embodied an "unlucky-in-love" character on the track and thought it showcased her wit.[57] In contrast, Roisin O'Connor of The Independent favored the song's smaller details more than the one-liners.[58] Hannah Mylrea from NME wrote that the instrumentation accompanies Swift's vocals and the hook very well.[20] Slant Magazine's Jonathan Keefe stated that the song's use of repetitions succeeded, along with "Invisible String".[59]

A few reviewers were more reserved in their praise. Spencer Kornhaber from The Atlantic said the track was reminiscent of the English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and felt that its "solemnity [was] forced".[24] Jason Lipshutz of Billboard listed the song at number eleventh on his ranking of the tracks from Folklore and said that it stays "unadorned" for the majority of its length.[22] The Los Angeles Times' Mikael Wood placed the song as the weakest track on his ranking of the album and believed it was "less emotionally daring" than the rest of the tracks.[10]

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from Pitchfork.[3]

Charts[edit]

Chart performance for "The 1"
Chart (2020) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[43] 4
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[39] 7
Estonia (Eesti Tipp-40)[60] 36
Global 200 (Billboard)[36] 114
Ireland (IRMA)[40] 7
Malaysia (RIM)[37] 5
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[61] 99
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[41] 7
Portugal (AFP)[62] 56
Scotland (OCC)[63] 36
Singapore (RIAS)[38] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[64] 92
UK Singles (OCC)[45] 10
US Billboard Hot 100[31] 4
US Rolling Stone Top 100[33] 2

Certifications[edit]

Certifications for "The 1"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[44] 2× Platinum 140,000
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[48] Platinum 40,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[47] Gold 400,000
United States (RIAA)[34] Platinum 1,000,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Release dates and formats for "The 1"
Region Date Format Label Ref.
Germany October 9, 2020 Digital download Universal [28]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Aaron Dessner's influence on "The 1" is attributed to Jason Lipshutz of Billboard,[22] Hannah Mylrea of NME,[20] Ellen Johnson of Paste,[14] and Allegra Frank of Vox.[23] Mylrea and Johnson also cited The National[20] and Big Red Machine,[14] respectively.
  2. ^ Attributed to Katie Atkinson of Billboard,[21] Courteney Lacrossa of Business Insider,[49] and both Allaire Nuss and Maura Johnston of Entertainment Weekly[11][50]
  3. ^ Attributed to Chloe Johnson of MusicOMH,[13] Michael Sumsion of PopMatters,[15] and Channing Freeman of Sputnikmusic[51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Suskind, Alex (December 8, 2020). "Taylor Swift Broke All Her Rules with Folklore — And Gave Herself a Much-Needed Escape". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 12, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  2. ^ "'It Started With Imagery': Read Taylor Swift's Primer For Folklore". Billboard. July 24, 2020. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d Strauss, Matthew; Minsker, Evan (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift Releases New Album Folklore: Listen and Read the Full Credits". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  4. ^ Blistein, Jon (November 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift to Release New Folklore Film, The Long Pond Studio Sessions". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 24, 2020. Retrieved November 19, 2023.
  5. ^ Doyle, Patrick (November 13, 2020). "Musicians on Musicians: Taylor Swift & Paul McCartney". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 30, 2020. Retrieved November 19, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d Gerber, Brady (July 27, 2020). "The Story Behind Every Song on Taylor Swift's Folklore". Vulture. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  7. ^ Swift, Taylor (October 27, 2014). "Folklore". Apple Music (US). Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2023.
  8. ^ Jenkins, Craig (October 24, 2022). "Midnights' Moonlit Lessons". Vulture. Archived from the original on October 31, 2022. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  9. ^ Willman, Chris (January 1, 2021). "Year in Review: The Best Songs of 2020". Variety. Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Wood, Mikael (July 26, 2020). "Taylor Swift's Folklore: All 16 Songs, Ranked". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 29, 2021. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c Nuss, Allaire (February 6, 2024). "Taylor Swift's 10 Seminal Albums, Ranked". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 26, 2022. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Leszkiewicz, Anna (July 24, 2020). "Folklore Reveals a More Introspective Side to Taylor Swift". New Statesman. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved March 8, 2024.
  13. ^ a b c d e Johnson, Chloe (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift – Folklore | Album Reviews". MusicOMH. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved March 7, 2024.
  14. ^ a b c d Ellen, Johnson (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift Morphs Her Sound Yet Again on the Stunning Folklore". Paste. Archived from the original on June 13, 2023. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  15. ^ a b Sumsion, Michael (July 29, 2020). "Taylor Swift Abandons Stadium-Pop for a New Tonal Approach on Folklore". PopMatters. Archived from the original on July 31, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  16. ^ Sheffield, Rob (October 28, 2023). "'The 1' (2020)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 8, 2024. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  17. ^ Rosen, Jody (July 24, 2020). "Review: Taylor Swift's Radically Intimate Folklore Is the Perfect Quar Album". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 11, 2020. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  18. ^ a b c Snapes, Laura (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift: Folklore Review – Bombastic Pop Makes Way for Emotional Acuity". The Guardian. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  19. ^ Jones, Nate (November 8, 2023). "All 214 Taylor Swift Songs, Ranked". Vulture. Archived from the original on September 13, 2019. Retrieved March 8, 2024.
  20. ^ a b c d Mylrea, Hannah (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift – Folklore Review: Pop Superstar Undergoes an Extraordinary Indie-Folk Makeover". NME. Archived from the original on August 28, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  21. ^ a b "The 100 Best Taylor Swift Songs: Staff Picks". Billboard. March 16, 2023. Archived from the original on April 11, 2023. Retrieved March 8, 2024.
  22. ^ a b c Lipshutz, Jason (July 24, 2020). "Every Song Ranked on Taylor Swift's Folklore: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Archived from the original on January 23, 2022. Retrieved March 12, 2024.
  23. ^ a b c d Frank, Allegra (July 24, 2020). "The 6 Songs That Explain Taylor Swift's New Album, Folklore". Vox. Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  24. ^ a b Kornhaber, Spencer (July 28, 2020). "Taylor Swift Is No Longer Living in the Present". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on October 4, 2020. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  25. ^ a b Ahlgrim, Callie (September 15, 2020). "The 16 Best Songs of 2020, So Far". Business Insider. Archived from the original on September 14, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  26. ^ Sheffield, Rob (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift Leaves Her Comfort Zones Behind on the Head-Spinning, Heartbreaking Folklore". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved March 15, 2024.
  27. ^ Blistein, Jon (July 24, 2020). "Hear Taylor Swift's New Album Folklore". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  28. ^ a b "The 1 (Track)" (in German). Universal Music Group. Archived from the original on January 10, 2021. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  29. ^ Monroe, Jazz (November 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift Releases New Folklore Film and Live Album". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on February 28, 2023. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  30. ^ Lewis, Isobel (April 10, 2023). "Taylor Swift Fans Spot Eras Tour Setlist Change amid Joe Alwyn Split Rumours". The Independent. Archived from the original on December 15, 2023. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  31. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  32. ^ Trust, Gary (August 3, 2020). "Taylor Swift Debuts at No. 1 on Hot 100 with 'Cardigan,' Is 1st Artist to Open atop Hot 100 & Billboard 200 in Same Week". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 3, 2020. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  33. ^ a b "Top 100 Songs, July 24, 2020 – July 30, 2020". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 16, 2022. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  34. ^ a b "American single certifications – Taylor Swift – The 1". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  35. ^ "Billboard Global 200 (Week of September 19, 2020)". Billboard. September 15, 2020. Archived from the original on November 3, 2023. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  36. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History – Global 200". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 16, 2020. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  37. ^ a b "Top 20 Most Streamed International & Domestic Singles in Malaysia". Recording Industry Association of Malaysia. Recording Industry Association of Malaysia. Archived from the original on August 10, 2020. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  38. ^ a b "RIAS International Top Charts Week 31". Recording Industry Association Singapore. Archived from the original on August 5, 2020.
  39. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  40. ^ a b "Official Irish Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  41. ^ a b "Taylor Swift – The 1". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  42. ^ "'Cardigan' Lands Taylor Swift Sixth #1 Single". Australian Recording Industry Association. August 1, 2020. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  43. ^ a b "Taylor Swift – The 1". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  44. ^ a b "Jan 2024 Single Accreds" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 9, 2024. Retrieved February 14, 2024.
  45. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  46. ^ Brandle, Lars (July 28, 2020). "Taylor Swift Set to Land Three Folklore Tracks in U.K. Top 10". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  47. ^ a b "British single certifications – Taylor Swift – The 1". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  48. ^ a b "Brazilian single certifications – Taylor Swift – The 1" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil. Retrieved March 22, 2024.
  49. ^ a b c Ahlgrim, Callie; Larocca, Courteney (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift's Folklore Might Be the Best Album of Her Entire Career". Business Insider. Archived from the original on December 2, 2021. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  50. ^ Johnston, Maura (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift Forges Her Own Path on the Confident Folklore". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved March 13, 2024.
  51. ^ a b Freeman, Channing (July 25, 2020). "Review: Taylor Swift – Folklore". Sputnikmusic. Archived from the original on October 7, 2023. Retrieved March 14, 2024.
  52. ^ a b Wohlmacher, John (July 27, 2020). "Album Review: Taylor Swift – Folklore". Beats Per Minute. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved March 14, 2024.
  53. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift's Intimate 'Indie' Album, Folklore". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Archived from the original on November 29, 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2024.
  54. ^ McCormick, Neil (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift, Folklore Review: An Exquisite, Empathetic Lockdown Triumph". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved March 13, 2024.
  55. ^ Campbell, Caleb (July 29, 2020). "Folklore". Under the Radar. Archived from the original on August 9, 2020. Retrieved March 21, 2024.
  56. ^ Moulton, Katie (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift's Folklore Dismantles Her Own Self-Mythologizing: Review". Consequence. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  57. ^ Bulmer, Eloise (July 24, 2020). "Folklore Finds Taylor Swift Elegantly Evoking amid a Perfectly Minimalist Sound". The Line of Best Fit. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  58. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift's Eighth Album Folklore Is Exquisite, Piano-Based Poetry – Review". The Independent. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  59. ^ Keefe, Jonathan (July 27, 2020). "Taylor Swift Folklore Review: The Album Mines Pathos from a Widening Worldview". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved March 13, 2024.
  60. ^ "EESTI TIPP-40 MUUSIKAS: Popmuusika võtab oma!". Eesti Ekspress (in Estonian). Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  61. ^ "Taylor Swift – The 1" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  62. ^ "Taylor Swift – The 1". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  63. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  64. ^ "Taylor Swift – The 1". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved August 2, 2020.