The 1

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"The 1"
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album Folklore
ReleasedOctober 9, 2020 (2020-10-09)
Recorded2020
Studio
  • Kitty Committee Studio (Los Angeles)
GenreSoft rock
Length3:30
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Aaron Dessner
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Betty"
(2020)
"The 1"
(2020)
"Willow"
(2020)
Lyric video
"The 1" on YouTube

"The 1" (stylized in all lowercase) is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, for her eighth studio album, Folklore (2020), which was released on July 24, 2020, through Republic Records. The song was promoted to German contemporary hit radio on October 9, 2020, as the album's fourth single. As the opening track of the album, the song was written by Swift and Aaron Dessner, with production from the latter.

"The 1" is a minimally produced, bouncy, soft rock tune with electronic elements and indie-pop instrumentals. Written from the perspective of one of Swift's friends, the song describes the narrator's newborn positive approach to life and past romance, in a sad but humorous tone, using numerous one-liners. Upon release, "The 1" received widespread acclaim from music critics, who commended its stripped-back nature and witty lyricism.

The song debuted at number one on the United States Spotify chart with 4.175 million streams, becoming the biggest song debut by a female artist in the platform's history, and the second biggest of 2020 globally with 7.420 million streams, only behind "Cardigan", the lead single of Folklore. On the Billboard Hot 100, "The 1" arrived at number four, constituting Swift's record-extending 28 top-10 hits and 18 top-10 debuts in the US; accompanied by "Cardigan" at number one and "Exile" at number six in the same week, Swift became the first ever act in history to debut two songs in the top four and three songs in the top six, simultaneously. "The 1" proceeded to become the highest-peaking and longest-charting non-single in Hot 100 history, spending seven consecutive weeks on the chart. Elsewhere, the song reached top-tier positions, opening inside the top-five in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore, and the top-ten in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Background and release[edit]

"The 1" was produced by Aaron Dessner (pictured left) of the National, while the song's orchestration was provided by his twin brother and bandmate Bryce Dessner (pictured right).

In a Vulture interview, Aaron Dessner revealed that "The 1" was one of the two last songs Swift had written for Folklore, the other being "Hoax"; the tracks were described as bookends of the project by her. The singer went through the files that Dessner had sent to her and wrote the song to one of the compositions, in a couple of hours in the middle of the night. Dessner worked on the music for the voice memo Swift sent back, tracked her vocals, and sent it to Bryce Dessner in France, who added the orchestration to the song. Swift described the song as "bookends" to Folklore, along with "Hoax", the final track on the album.[1]

On July 23, 2020, Swift revealed the track listing of Folklore, where "The 1" placed first, and released the album on July 24, 2020. "The 1" was sent to German contemporary hit radio stations as a single on October 9, 2020.[2]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"The 1" is a soft rock song,[3] slowed down and danceable, with Vox's Allegra Frank calling it a "gray-skied stroll through [Swift's] day-to-day".[4] The song is driven by a "trickling" piano, supported by a bouncy arrangement of minimal percussion, electronic accents and orchestrations. Lyrically, written from the perspective of a friend, "The 1" sees the narrator describe their optimistic headspace, reminiscing positively on a past love, confessing that they wish they could have been soulmates, with an underlying sense of humor juxtaposed against the sadness.[5][4][6][1] The song is written in the key of C major and has a fast tempo of 140 beats per minute.[7] Swift's vocal range in the song stretches from G3 to C5.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received widespread critical acclaim. Consequence of Sound's Katie Moulton noted this as an example of "a transgression against 'radio-' and 'family-friendly'" that Swift expresses on Folklore.[9] Laura Snapes of The Guardian described the song as "a bouncy reminiscence of a lost lover from [Swift's] 'roaring twenties'".[6] Writing for The Line of Best Fit, Eloise Bulmer stated that its titular line offers a glimpse into the "witty and unlucky-in-love Swift".[10] Jody Rosen of the Los Angeles Times called the song a "stoic look back at a fizzled romance", driven by ringing piano chords and sprightly beats.[11]

Roisin O'Connor of The Independent praised the track for its lyrics, characterized by one-liners.[12] Courteney Larocca of Insider dubbed the song "incredibly solid", praising the "breezy attention to rhythm" Swift brings to the song, while painting a tale of a "the-one-who-got-away romance".[13] Vulture's Craig Jenkins thought that the song sees Swift contemplating "languidly", yearning for a "storybook romance of her own or gesturing to some of the great love songs in recent history in her writing".[14] The Atlantic's Spencer Kornhaber termed "The 1" a "conversational opener", and compared it to the works by Ed Sheeran, adding that the song has Sheeran's "suspicious whiff".[15]

Vox's Allega Frank thought that "The 1" is one of the few times on the album where Swift plainly speaks about herself.[4] Callie Ahlgrim of Business Insider named "The 1" one of the 16 best songs of 2020 in her mid-year list, and called it one of "the most relatable and stirring" songs Swift has ever released. Ahlgrim wrote that the song's power lies in its simple and truthful one-liners that evoke delicate moments of insecurity, citing the lyrics "It's another day waking up alone" and "But we were something, don't you think so?" as examples.[16]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song reached top-tier spots worldwide, following the release of Folklore. On the global Spotify Top 200 songs chart, "The 1" debuted at number two with over 7.420 million streams, garnering the second biggest opening day for a song by a female artist in 2020, behind the lead single "Cardigan" (7.742 million).[17] Seven weeks after Folklore's release, the Billboard Global 200 chart was inaugurated, on which "The 1" appeared at number 114, dated September 19, 2020.[18]

In the United States, "The 1" debuted at number one on the US Spotify chart with 4.175 million streams, becoming the biggest opening day for a song by a female artist in the platform's history.[19]

On the Billboard Hot 100, "The 1" debuted at number four, increasing Swift's total of top-10 hits to 28 and top-10 debuts to 18, accompanied by "Cardigan" at number one and "Exile" at number six in the same week. This made Swift the first ever act in history to debut two songs in the top four and three songs in the top six, simultaneously.[20]

In Australia, "The 1" reached number four on ARIA Singles chart, accompanied by four other tracks from Folklore in the top-10, making the album with the most top-10 songs of 2020 in the country.[21] On the Malaysian RIM Singles chart, the song was one of the five tracks from Folklore to arrive in the top-10, others being "Cardigan", "Exile", "The Last Great American Dynasty" and "My Tears Ricochet"; "The 1" landed at number 5.[22]

On the Singaporean Top 30 Singles, "The 1" debuted at number five, with four other Folklore songs in the top-10.[23] Whereas, on the Canadian Hot 100, Irish Singles and New Zealand Top 40 Singles charts, the song reached number seven. In Ireland, it was one of three tracks from Folklore to enter the top-10, pushing Swift's total Irish top-ten hits to 15.[24] In New Zealand, the song arrived along with "Cardigan" and "Exile" in the top 10, increasing Swift's sum of top-10 hits in the country to 19. Opening at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart,[25] "The 1" increased Swift's sum of UK top-10 singles to 16.[26]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[27]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter
  • Aaron Dessner – producer, songwriter, recording engineer, acoustic guitar, drum programming, electric guitar, Mellotron, piano, synth bass, synthesizer
  • Kyle Resnick – engineer
  • Jonathan Low – recording engineer, mixer
  • Jason Treuting – percussion
  • Thomas Bartlett – synthesizer
  • Yuki Numata Resnick – viola, violin
  • Laura Sisk – vocal engineer
  • Randy Merrill – mastering engineer

Charts[edit]

Chart (2020) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[28] 4
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[29] 7
Estonia (Eesti Tipp-40)[30] 36
Global 200 (Billboard)[31] 114
Ireland (IRMA)[32] 7
Malaysia (RIM)[33] 5
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[34] 99
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[35] 7
Portugal (AFP)[36] 56
Scotland (OCC)[37] 36
Singapore (RIAS)[38] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[39] 92
UK Singles (OCC)[40] 10
US Billboard Hot 100[41] 4
US Rolling Stone Top 100[42] 2

Release history[edit]

Release dates and formats for "The 1"
Region Date Format Label Ref.
Germany October 9, 2020 Universal [2][43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 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.
  2. ^ a b ""the 1" – Taylor Swift veröffentlicht neue Single aus Rekord-Album "folklore"" ["The 1" - Taylor Swift releases new single from record album "folklore"]. Universal Music (in German). October 9, 2020. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  3. ^ Willman, Chris (January 1, 2021). "Year in Review: The Best Songs of 2020". Variety. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c 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.
  5. ^ Mylrea, Hannah (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift – 'Folklore' review: pop superstar undergoes an extraordinary indie-folk makeover". NME. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Snapes, Laura (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift: Folklore review – bombastic pop makes way for emotional acuity". The Guardian. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  7. ^ "Key & BPM for the 1 by Taylor Swift". TuneBat. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  8. ^ "Taylor Swift "the 1" Sheet Music in C major". Musicnotes.com. July 24, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  9. ^ Moulton, Katie (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift's folklore Dismantles Her Own Self-Mythologizing: Review". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift's eighth album Folklore is exquisite, piano-based poetry – review". The Independent. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  13. ^ Ahlgrim, Callie; Larocca, Courteney (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift's 'Folklore' might be the best album of her entire career". Insider. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  14. ^ Jenkins, Craig (July 27, 2020). "folklore Isn't a Return to Taylor Swift's Roots, But Somewhere She's Never Been". Vulture. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  15. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (July 28, 2020). "Taylor Swift Is No Longer Living in the Present". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  16. ^ Ahlgrim, Callie (September 15, 2020). "The 16 best songs of 2020, so far". Business Insider. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  17. ^ Rolli, Bryan. "Taylor Swift's 'Folklore' Smashes Spotify Records As It Heads For The Biggest Debut Of 2020". Forbes. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  18. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History - Global 200". Billboard. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  19. ^ Rolli, Bryan (July 25, 2020). "Taylor Swift's 'Folklore' Smashes Spotify Records As It Heads for the Biggest Debut Of 2020". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "CARDIGAN LANDS TAYLOR SWIFT SIXTH #1 SINGLE". Australian Recording Industry Association. August 1, 2020. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  22. ^ "Top 20 Singles". Recording Industry Association of Malaysia. Recording Industry Association of Malaysia. August 8, 2020. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  23. ^ "RIAS International Top Charts Week 31". Recording Industry Association (Singapore). Archived from the original on August 5, 2020.
  24. ^ "Taylor Swift's Official Irish Singles Chart history so far". Irish Recording Music Association. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  25. ^ "Joel Corry & MNEK hold on to Number 1 with Head & Heart". www.officialcharts.com. Archived from the original on August 1, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ "Folklore by Taylor Swift". Tidal. Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  28. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Taylor Swift – The 1". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  29. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  30. ^ "EESTI TIPP-40 MUUSIKAS: Popmuusika võtab oma!". Eesti Ekspress (in Estonian). Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  31. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History - Global 200". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  32. ^ "Official Irish Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  33. ^ "Top 20 Most Streamed International & Domestic Singles in Malaysia". Recording Industry Association of Malaysia. Recording Industry Association of Malaysia. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  34. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Taylor Swift – The 1" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  35. ^ "Charts.nz – Taylor Swift – The 1". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  36. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Taylor Swift – The 1". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  37. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  38. ^ "RIAS International Top Charts Week 31". Recording Industry Association (Singapore). Archived from the original on August 5, 2020.
  39. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Taylor Swift – The 1". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  40. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  41. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  42. ^ "Top 100 Songs, July 24, 2020 - July 30, 2020". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  43. ^ "the 1 (Track)" (in German). Universal Music Group. Retrieved December 25, 2020.