The Best Day (Taylor Swift song)

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"The Best Day"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album Fearless
ReleasedNovember 11, 2008 (2008-11-11)
Length4:05
LabelBig Machine
Songwriter(s)Taylor Swift
Producer(s)
Music video
"The Best Day" on YouTube
"The Best Day (Taylor's Version)"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album Fearless (Taylor's Version)
ReleasedApril 9, 2021 (2021-04-09)
Length4:05
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)Taylor Swift
Producer(s)
Music video
"The Best Day (Taylor's Version)" on YouTube

"The Best Day" is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her second studio album, Fearless (2008). Produced by Swift and Nathan Chapman, "The Best Day" is an understated song with lyrics dedicated to Swift's parents, most of the verses being to her mother. A music video containing home footage edited by Swift was released on May 1, 2009 as part of a special Mother's Day promotion through Big Machine Records.[1]

Music critics praised "The Best Day" for its understated production and tender sentiments. The song peaked at number three on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, and 56 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in July 2018 certified the track gold, denoting 500,000 units based on sales and stream.

Swift released a re-recorded version, "The Best Day (Taylor's Version)", as part of her re-recorded album Fearless (Taylor's Version), on April 9, 2021. A new music video for "The Best Day (Taylor's Version)", was uploaded onto YouTube on the album's release date. The re-recorded version also charted on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 and Hot Country Songs charts, and won Best Family Feature at the 2021 CMT Music Awards.

Background and writing[edit]

Taylor Swift performing in August 2008
Swift wrote "The Best Day" while touring in summer 2008 and recorded it in secret to surprise her mother on Christmas.

Taylor Swift released her second studio album, Fearless, on November 11, 2008, through Big Machine Records.[2] Swift wrote or co-wrote all tracks and co-produced the album with Nathan Chapman.[3][4] Although much of Fearless is primarily about the challenges of love from a teenage girl's perspectives, a few songs are about life lessons and family love.[5][6]

Swift wrote "The Best Day" for Fearless while she was touring in summer 2008 and recorded it in secret without informing her parents.[7] She dedicated the track to her family for their support of her music career, the emphasis being her mother.[7][8] For the lyrics, she revisited her childhood memories and imagined what language she would use as a child, incorporating the same language into the songwriting.[9] Swift recorded "The Best Day" and edited an accompanying home video without telling her mother so as to surprise her on Christmas.[7] Swift's mother recalled that when her daughter showed her the song and the video on Christmas Eve, "that's when I lost it. And [...] I've lost it pretty much every time I've heard that song since."[10] The track, as appeared on Fearless, was produced by Swift and Chapman.[11]

Release[edit]

"The Best Day" is track number 12 on Fearless, released on November 11, 2008.[12] Swift released her self-edited video for "The Best Day" in May 2009, in celebration of Mother's Day and as part of a special promotion through Big Machine Records.[7] The video features footage of Swift's family and childhood, featuring her parents and brother Austin.[13]

After a masters controversy, Swift released her re-recorded version of Fearless, subtitled Taylor's Version, on April 9, 2021; Fearless (Taylor's Version) features a re-recorded version of "The Best Day", also subtitled "Taylor's Version".[14] The re-recorded version was produced by Swift and Christopher Rowe.[15] On April 30, 2021, Swift released a four-minute music video for "The Best Day (Taylor's Version)", consisting of footage from home movies from Swift's childhood to young adulthood, also starring her parents and brother.[16] The video won Best Family Feature at the 2021 CMT Music Awards.[17]

Music and lyrics[edit]

"The Best Day" is an understated track.[18] The track originally featured mandolin and Dobro, but Swift told the producing team to mute all of them because she wanted the song to be as simple as possible. The end product, according to the Chicago Tribune, incorporates a "coffeehouse folkish beat".[19] It is built on gentle acoustic guitar strums.[20] Musicologist James E. Perone remarked that "The Best Day" features a country rock arrangement that recalls the music of American rock band Eagles.[21] The song uses the '50s progression, I–vi–IV–V, which is associated with many American pop songs from the 1950s; Perone argued that this quality lended "The Best Day" a timeless feel.[21]

Swift wrote "The Best Day" as a tribute to her parents over the years; the focus of the song is her mother, and her father is mentioned in the middle eight.[22] There is also a mention of Swift's brother Austin with the lyrics saying, "inside and out he is better than I am."[7] In the liner notes of Fearless, the secret message in the song's lyrics is "God Bless Andrea Swift".[23] Set in fall, the song narrates Swift's relationship with her mother, featuring memories when she was three, five, and 13; activities they engaged in together including paint sets, pumpkin patches, and window-shopping.[24] The lyrics feature many fall imagery, such as the pumpkin patch, tractor rides, and the sky is gold.[25] Consistent with Fearless's frequent references to fairy tales, "The Best Day" mentions Snow White and princess in the lyrics.[24]

According to Jody Rosen, the "goody-two-shoes" "The Best Day" is one of a few songs on Fearless not dealing with romantic themes.[26] GQ opined that Swift might have been inspired to write the song by an incident in middle school. Swift was rejected by a group of friends to go to a local mall together, and after her mother took her to the same mall, she saw the said friends at a Victoria's Secret store. Swift recalled that her mother later took her to the King of Prussia Mall to stay away from such friends, "My mom let me escape from certain things that were too painful to deal with."[27] In Pitchfork, Hazel Cills observed that the song is told from an underdog perspective, which continued on many of Swift's later songs.[28]

Reception[edit]

Perone remarked that "The Best Day" is a Fearless track that demonstrated Swift's talent as "an introspective, real emotion-driven singer-songwriter", contrary to other album tracks that feature a market-oriented production.[21] In The Village Voice, Josh Love picked it as one of the album's great songs that display "preternatural wisdom and inclusiveness".[29] James Reed of The Boston Globe called "The Best Day" the best song on Fearless, opining that the understated production highlighting the emotional sentiments makes the track a refreshing listen "after an entire album of wide-open choruses". Reed wrote, "If the melody doesn't stick in your mind, the message at least speaks to the heart."[18]

In a Billboard 2017 retrospective of Fearless, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong wrote that although Swift wrote "The Best Day" when she was 18, the track displayed her songwriting maturity beyond her years, "with the nostalgia, wisdom and sap of a 40-year-old".[24] Paste's Jane Song wrote: "It's so unfair that people accuse Taylor of only writing songs about boys when one of her most affecting love songs is about her mom."[30] Slant Magazine's Jonathan Keefe called "The Best Day" one of the most charming songs on Fearless, comparing it to George Strait's 2000 song of the same name.[31] Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone described it as a "weapons-grade tearjerker and not to be trifled with in a public place".[32]

After Fearless was released in 2008, "The Best Day" peaked at number three on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.[33] Despite not being released to country radio, it charted at number 56 on Hot Country Songs.[34] In 2018, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified "The Best Day" gold for surpassing 500,000 units based on sales and streaming.[35] Upon the release of Fearless (Taylor's Version) in 2021, "The Best Day (Taylor's Version)" peaked at number 19 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles[33] and number 45 on the Hot Country Songs chart.[34]

Live performances[edit]

Swift included "The Best Day" to the set list of her concerts in Evansville, Indiana (April 2009), and Moline, Illinois (May 2010), as part of the Fearless Tour.[36][37] She sang the song again as part of an acoustic segment on the Cleveland, Ohio, concert of the Red Tour in April 2013.[38] On her show at Santa Clara, California, in May 2018 as part of her Reputation Stadium Tour, Swift sang the song during an acoustic portion, dedicating it to her mother and opening act Camila Cabello's mother.[39]

Personnel[edit]

"The Best Day" (2008)[11]

  • Taylor Swift – writer, producer
  • Nathan Chapman – producer
  • Drew Bollman – assistant mixer
  • Chad Carlson – recording engineer
  • Justin Niebank – mixer

"The Best Day (Taylor's Version)" (2021)[40]

  • Taylor Swift – writer, producer, lead vocals
  • Christopher Rowe – vocal recording, producer
  • Matt Billingslea – drums
  • Derek Garten – additional engineer
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • John Hanes – engineer
  • Amos Heller – bass guitar
  • Mike Meadows – acoustic guitar
  • David Payne – recording
  • Lowell Reynolds – assistant recording engineer

Charts[edit]

Certification[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[35] Gold 500,000double-dagger

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Videos: Music Binge 5.1.09: The Best Day". CMT. Archived from the original on May 4, 2009.
  2. ^ Spencer 2010, p. 58.
  3. ^ Breen, Joe (March 9, 2009). "Roots". The Irish Times. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  4. ^ Wood, Mikael (April 8, 2021). "Review: A Principled Stand, a Bonanza for Swifties and a Shrug from Us: Taylor Swift's Made-over Fearless". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  5. ^ Perone 2017, p. 20.
  6. ^ Yahr, Emily (November 1, 2017). "If you think Taylor Swift sings only about her exes, then you don't get Taylor Swift". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d e Spencer 2010, p. 74.
  8. ^ Hensel, Amanda (May 8, 2011). "Taylor Swift Recalls That Her 'Best Days' Were Spent With Her Mom". Taste of Country. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  9. ^ Roznovsky, Lindsey (November 10, 2008). "Taylor Swift's Fascination with Fairy Tales Comes Through on New Album". CMT News. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  10. ^ Kotb, Hoda (June 1, 2009). "On Tour with Taylor Swift". NBC News. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  11. ^ a b Fearless (CD liner notes). Taylor Swift. Big Machine Records. 2008.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  12. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (November 11, 2008). "Taylor Swift Says She 'Owed It' to Her Fans to Be Open About Joe Jonas Breakup". MTV News. Archived from the original on March 12, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  13. ^ Strecker, Erin (January 8, 2015). "Taylor Swift Makes Us Cry with 'The Best Day' Video". Billboard. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  14. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (February 11, 2021). "Taylor Swift Announces Re-Recorded Fearless Album: Updated 'Love Story' Out Tonight". Billboard. Retrieved February 12, 2021.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Credits / Fearless (Taylor's Version) / Taylor Swift". Tidal. Archived from the original on April 9, 2021. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  16. ^ Star, Regina (April 30, 2021). "Taylor Swift's Mom Appears In Video For 'The Best Day (Taylor's Version)'". iHeartMedia. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  17. ^ Chan, Anna (June 9, 2021). "Taylor Swift Gives Her Mom the Sweetest Shoutout After Winning 2021 CMT Music Award For Best Family Feature". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  18. ^ a b Reed, James (November 11, 2008). "Young country star's 'Fearless' proves she's just that, and more". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  19. ^ Bonaguro, Alison (November 10, 2008). "Taylor Swift shows her fearless side". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on March 11, 2009. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  20. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift: Her 100 Album Tracks – Ranked". The Independent. Archived from the original on December 3, 2019. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  21. ^ a b c Perone 2017, p. 23.
  22. ^ Jones, Nate. "All 126 Taylor Swift Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best". Vulture. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  23. ^ Strecker, Erin (October 24, 2014). "Taylor Swift's 13 Best Liner Note Secret Messages – So Far". Billboard. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  24. ^ a b c Armstrong, Jennifer Keishin (November 7, 2017). "Why Taylor Swift's Fearless Is Her Best Album". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 8, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  25. ^ Walthall, Catherine (August 30, 2022). "7 of the Best Taylor Swift Songs To Cozy Up To". American Songwriter. Retrieved November 7, 2022.
  26. ^ Rosen, Jody (November 13, 2008). "Fearless". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 15, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  27. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (October 15, 2015). "Taylor Swift on 'Bad Blood,' Kanye West, and How People Interpret Her Lyrics". GQ. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  28. ^ Cills, Hazel (August 19, 2019). "Taylor Swift: Fearless". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on August 19, 2019. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  29. ^ Love, Josh (November 19, 2008). "Taylor Swift's Teenage Country-Star Tales, Spiked With Actual Wisdom". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
  30. ^ Song, Jane (February 11, 2020). "All 158 Taylor Swift Songs, Ranked". Paste. Archived from the original on April 13, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  31. ^ Keefe, Jonathan (November 16, 2008). "Review: Taylor Swift, Fearless". Slant Magazine. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  32. ^ Sheffield, Rob (October 26, 2021). "'The Best Day' (2008)". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  33. ^ a b c d "Taylor Swift Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  34. ^ a b c d "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  35. ^ a b "American single certifications – Taylor Swift – The Best Day". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  36. ^ "Taylor Swift opens solo tour". Country Standard Time. April 24, 2009. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  37. ^ Burke, David (May 9, 2010). "Taylor goes over the top". Quad-City Times. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  38. ^ Zaleski, Annie (April 26, 2013). "Concert Review and Slideshow: Taylor Swift at Quicken Loans Arena". Cleveland Scene. Archived from the original on April 28, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  39. ^ Iasimone, Ashley (May 13, 2018). "Taylor Swift Dedicates 'The Best Day' to Her Mom & Camila Cabello's Mom at Reputation Tour Show". Billboard. Retrieved September 6, 2022.
  40. ^ Fearless (Taylor's Version) (CD liner notes). Taylor Swift. Republic Records. 2021.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)

Sources[edit]