Song of the Day #4,171: ‘Never Grow Up’ – Taylor Swift

Best Albums of the 2010s – #17
Speak Now – Taylor Swift (2010)

On past lists like this, I’ve had single artists dominate with multiple appearances. I realize that can be a little boring for the reader, and it ends up pushing out acts deserving of a mention.

So this time around I am limiting myself to just one title per artist, though I will list other albums of theirs that might have otherwise made the cut.

Taylor Swift certainly had a productive decade. During the 10s, which span the entirety of her 20s, she released five mega-selling albums: Speak Now (2010), Red (2012), 1989 (2014), Reputation, (2017) and Lover (2019).

And while none moved as many copies as 2008’s Fearless, her impact is measured in far more than album sales, and she is currently right up there with Beyoncé as a preeminent music industry icon.

I consider the first and last of those albums her best work, and it was really a coin-toss between Speak Now and Lover when I was making this list.

I went with the former because it was my first concentrated exposure to Swift’s music, and an album my whole family embraced at a time when my daughters were starting to expand their musical horizons. The Speak Now tour was the first concert they attended not targeted at children (no offense, Laurie Berkner!).

This album is also special for being written by Swift entirely on her own, before she started teaming up with pop hitmakers to both good and bad effect. It is a wonderful snapshot of the loves, losses and dreams of a woman just turning 20. A superstar, yes, but one who can still capture a childhood memory of her father coming home, as she does in this beautiful, poignant track.

[Verse 1]
Your little hand’s wrapped around my finger
And it’s so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter cause you’re dreaming
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light
To you everything’s funny, you got nothing to regret
I’d give all I have, honey
If you could stay like that

[Chorus]
Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little
Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up, it could stay this simple
I won’t let nobody hurt you, won’t let no one break your heart
And no one will desert you
Just try to never grow up, never grow up

[Verse 2]
You’re in the car on the way to the movies
And you’re mortified your mom’s dropping you off
At 14 there’s just so much you can’t do
And you can’t wait to move out someday and call your own shots
But don’t make her drop you off around the block
Remember that she’s getting older too
And don’t lose the way that you dance around in your pj’s getting ready for school

[Chorus]
Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little
Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up, it could stay this simple
No one’s ever burned you, nothing’s ever left you scarred
And even though you want to, just try to never grow up

[Bridge]
Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother’s favorite songs
I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone
So here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off
It’s so much colder than I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my night light on
Wish I’d never grown up
I wish I’d never grown up

[Chorus]
Oh I don’t wanna grow up, wish I’d never grown up
I could still be little
Oh I don’t wanna grow up, wish I’d never grown up
It could still be simple
Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little
Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up, it could stay this simple
Won’t let nobody hurt you
Won’t let no one break your heart
And even though you want to, please try to never grow up
Oh, don’t you ever grow up
Oh, never grow up, just never grow up

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,171: ‘Never Grow Up’ – Taylor Swift

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I must confess that it is hard to listen to this song, while my son is in a dorm bed in college 300 miles away and my daughter is soundly sleeping 2300 miles away, and not become emotional.

    When this album came out nearly a decade ago, my then 14 and 9 year old children would hear me open the door when I came home after work and come running to give me a hug. I knew even then that it wouldn’t last and really tried to savor every one of those moments,

    So, yes, this album was a big part of my kids’ childhood, but also my parenthood, and so it holds a special place in our hearts.

    Now it’s time to dab sentimental tears from my eyes and go to work, knowing those little footsteps won’t be running to the front door when I come home tonight. Maybe they will recreate that moment in a few weeks when they come home for the holidays. If not, I’ll seek them out and hug them wherever they are.

  2. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    This song always brought my mom to tears and my sister and I would laugh and attribute this to her sensitivity in all things. However, when I just listened to this song for the first time in a long while I couldn’t help but find myself crying as well. I always knew that this song was touching and recognized it’s emotional resonance but now that I’m living Swift’s truth of not getting to experience the little things that you love as a child growing up I feel the lyrics that much more. I’m sure many early Swift fans are starting to feel all of her songs in a new light now that they’re getting to the age she was when she wrote them.

    Swift’s output throughout this decade has been consistently of the highest quality. She definitely deserved the Artist of the Decade award from the AMAs as this album demonstrates. This is definitely one of my favorite albums by her and I’m sure my other favorites will appear later on this list ;P

  3. Maddie says:

    Nice to know I come from a family of saps!! Kidding. Love to see Swift making an appearance on this list, even though I’d probably have her higher. I’m also very partial to the Red era, but Speak Now was undeniably formative and so well done.

  4. Amy says:

    Yes, it’s true. This song brought tears then and still brings them now. When Swift writes about her mother (as she did on several of these best of decade albums), I do get particularly misty. I’m partial to Red, but Speak Now and Lover would be in my top three for sure. Meanwhile, “The Best Day” from Fearless is probably the one that makes me cry the most, sap that I am. 🙂

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