Song of the Day #4,094: ‘Paper Rings’ – Taylor Swift

Continuing my countdown of the songs on Taylor Swift’s Lover.

6. ‘Soon You’ll Get Better’ – This is a devastating song about Swift’s mother’s cancer, performed with the Dixie Chicks (her mom’s favorite band). It’s nice to see Swift use her star power to give the Dixie Chicks some high-profile exposure, years after they were run out of country music for daring to speak out against then-President Bush. The lesson of their blacklisting is likely one Swift took to heart, partly explaining her own political silence. I’d like to think country music has changed since then, but the truth is Swift is a full-blown pop star now so she is no longer bound by those constraints. Meanwhile, women — politically outspoken or not — continue to have a hard time getting airplay on country radio.

‘Soon You’ll Get Better’ uses some of the same melodic and vocal phrasing as ‘Never Grow Up,’ a song sung by an adult to a child, which I have to imagine was intentional. A beautiful track.

5. ‘Cruel Summer’ – Not to be confused with the Bananarama classic. This should have been the first single, and I’d bet it still has the potential to become a big hit. Written with Jack Antonoff and St. Vincent, this is Swift as pop idol, an exhilarating way to kick off the album (if you rightly skip ‘I Forgot That You Existed’). I especially love the bridge.

4. ‘Paper Rings’ – This song is a total blast, and another no-brainer choice as a single. I have to think the “put out the worst songs first” approach is an actual strategy given the other options Swift had. I read a comparison of this track to the Go-Go’s, which is so right, especially in the bridge. ‘Paper Rings’ will be playing at a whole lot of weddings, and in a whole lot of romantic comedies, for years to come.

[Verse 1]
The moon is high
Like your friends were the night that we first met
Went home and tried to stalk you on the internet
Now I’ve read all of the books beside your bed
The wine is cold
Like the shoulder that I gave you in the street
Cat and mouse for a month or two or three
Now I wake up in the night and watch you breathe

[Pre-Chorus]
(Ayy)
Kiss me once ’cause you know I had a long night (Oh)
Kiss me twice ’cause it’s gonna be alright (Uh)
Three times ’cause I waited my whole life (1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4)

[Chorus]
I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings
Uh huh, that’s right
Darling, you’re the one I want, and
I hate accidents except when we went from friends to this
Uh huh, that’s right
Darling, you’re the one I want
In paper rings, in picture frames, in dirty dreams
Oh, you’re the one I want

[Verse 2]
In the winter, in the icy outdoor pool
When you jumped in first, I went in too
I’m with you even if it makes me blue
Which takes me back
To the color that we painted your brother’s wall
Honey, without all the exes, fights, and flaws
We wouldn’t be standing here so tall, so

[Pre-Chorus]
(Ayy)
Kiss you once ’cause I know you had a long night (Oh)
Kiss you twice ’cause it’s gonna be alright (Uh)
Three times ’cause you waited your whole life (1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4)
Ah

[Chorus]
I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings
Uh huh, that’s right
Darling, you’re the one I want, and
I hate accidents except when we went from friends to this
Uh huh, that’s right
Darling, you’re the one I want
In paper rings, in picture frames, in dirty dreams
Oh, you’re the one I want

[Bridge]
I want to drive away with you
I want your complications too
I want your dreary Mondays
Wrap your arms around me, baby boy
I want to drive away with you
I want your complications too
I want your dreary Mondays
Wrap your arms around me, baby boy
Uh huh

[Chorus]
I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings
Ah-ah, that’s right, you’re the one I want
I hate accidents except when we went from friends to this
Ah-ah, darling, you’re the one I want
I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings
Uh huh, that’s right
Darling, you’re the one I want, and
I hate accidents except when we went from friends to this
Uh huh, that’s right
Darling, you’re the one I want
In paper rings, in picture frames, in all my dreams
You’re the one I want
In paper rings, in picture frames, in all my dreams
Oh, you’re the one I want

[Outro]
You’re the one I want, one I want
You’re the one I want, one I want

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,094: ‘Paper Rings’ – Taylor Swift

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    “Soon You’ll Get Better” is such a powerfully emotional song. Hard to get through without a tear coming to one’s eye. I know Amy hasn’t made it through without crying.😂

    “Paper Rings” is definitely fun and I agree likely a future hit. I must confess that I have a personal pet peave about the use of “darling,” “honey,” “baby,” etc. in songs. It often strikes me as forced and affected, and does so here. Otherwise, though, a fun song.

  2. Amy says:

    “Soon You’ll Get Better” is the most powerful song on the album by a country mile. Whether that makes it the best is purely a person’s subjective taste. It’s certainly not the most fun, but it’s hard to imagine another song more effectively exploring the deep love between two people, one of whom may very well be dying, and the desperation to make that illness go away. Heartbreaking in every way 😢.

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