Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2008

Love Story by Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift’s song of young romantic desire twists the tragedy of the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet with a fairytale ending.

Song: Love Story
Artist: Taylor Swift
Album: Fearless
Songwriter: Taylor Swift
Producer: Norman Chapman
B001EYGOEM

Concept

A love-at-first-sight romantic fantasy about idealized young love.

Lyric
The love story that the title promises does come true, even if the obstacles are a bit contrived. Despite its soap opera feel, the lyric expresses a genuine innocence. We were both young when I first saw you I close my eyes and the flashback starts I’m standing there on a balcony in summer air See the lights, see the party, the ball gowns I see you make your way through the crowd And say hello, little did I know That you were Romeo, you were throwing pebbles And my daddy said stay away from Juliet And I was crying on the staircase Begging you please don’t go, and I said Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone I’ll be waiting, all there’s left to do is run You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess It’s a love story baby, just say yes

Groove
A typical country pop mid-tempo 8th-note groove with a strong backbeat that relaxes in the middle and resumes.

Melody
A tuneful, if somewhat pedestrian, step-wise melody for most of the song. The pre-chorus soars with just enough emotion to carry the song. There is repetitive hookiness throughout.

Harmony
Typical pop major diatonic triads, variations of I V vi and IV with a few passing notes in the guitar strum.

Structure
Sig A B C sig A B C D C Sig verse pre-chorus chorus sig verse pre-chorus chorus solo bridge (modulation) pre-chorus chorus

Signature
A simple guitar strum.

Production
The production is simple and transparent and showcases the vocal.

Performance
Swift sings sweetly and sincerely about romantic desire and fantasy with her strong resonant voice.

Predicted Longevity
A injection of youthful innocence onto the country charts where romantic conflicts sometimes make one forget the magic of hopes and fantasies. Though not particularly melodically strong, this song could live for quite a while with its intended young audience.

Album Cover: Fearless

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