Pop star Taylor Swift has revealed to Variety that her new song “Only the Young” was inspired by her disappointment after Republicans defeated candidates she endorsed for the Senate and Gubernatorial elections in Tennessee in the 2018 midterm elections.
“I was really upset about Tennessee going the way that it did, obviously. And so I just wanted to write a song about it,” Swift revealed in an interview with Variety magazine. “I didn’t know where it would end up. But I did think that it would be better for it to come out at a time that it could maybe hopefully stoke some fires politically and maybe engage younger people to form their own views
Taylor Swift endorsed Democrat Phil Bredesen in the 2018 election, writing on Instagram:
These two Tennessee women⬆️ voted for the candidate who has proven himself to be reasonable and trustworthy. We want leadership, not fear-based extremism. Early voting goes til Thursday and Election Day is November 6. Please don’t sit this one out.
Swift also attacked Republican Marsha Blackburn, saying “I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me.”
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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈
After Marsha Blackburn won, some Republicans poked fun at swift for her failed endorsement.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) November 7, 2018
Looks like @taylorswift13 still has terrible taste in men.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) November 7, 2018
Per Variety Miss Americana was keeping another song about America in her back pocket, as it turns out. Taylor Swift recorded a song during her “Lover” album sessions, “Only the Young,” that was held back and kept under wraps for the right occasion — that occasion turning out to be “Miss Americana,” the Lana Wilson-directed documentary that premieres at the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 23 and goes wide to the public in theaters and on Netflix Jan. 31.
In an an interview for this week’s Variety cover story, Swift described the tune’s origins. Its writing followed a personally disappointing moment for the singer after the 2018 midterm elections, when she got involved by endorsing candidates in the senatorial and gubernatorial races in her home state of Tennessee, only to see them go down despite her best efforts — and those of a lot of fans she urged to sign up to vote and campaign.
“I wrote it after the midterm elections, when there were so many young people who rallied for their candidate, whether it was a senator or congressman or congresswoman,” Swift tells Variety. “It was hard to see so many people feel like they had canvassed and done everything and tried so hard. I saw a lot of young people’s hopes dashed. And I found that to be particularly tragic, because young people are the people who feel the worst effects of gun violence, and student loans and trying to figure out how to start their lives and how to pay their bills, and climate change, and are we going to war — all these horrific situations that we find ourselves facing right now.”
It won’t be any secret to anyone watching the documentary just how crestfallen she was when the senatorial candidate Swift had declared stood in opposition to women’s issues and gay rights lost.
“I was really upset about Tennessee going the way that it did, obviously. And so I just wanted to write a song about it. I didn’t know where it would end up. But I did think that it would be better for it to come out at a time that it could maybe hopefully stoke some fires politically and maybe engage younger people to form their own views, break away from the pack, and not feel like they need to vote exactly the same way that people in their town are voting.”