Song of the Day #4,260: ‘I’m Only Me When I’m With You’ – Taylor Swift

My upcoming Taylor Swift album ranking is based on the original lineups of each record, not the bonus editions that tack on several songs.

Swift has released a couple of dozen non-album tracks over the course of her career. I listened to just about all of them and my overall consensus is that they were all smart exclusions. That’s usually the case, isn’t it?

Today’s song is one of the exceptions. ‘I’m Only Me When I’m With You’ was a bonus track on Swift’s first album, and it is as good as (or better than) anything that made the final tracklist.

The song was reportedly written about Swift’s lifelong best friend Abigail Anderson, who shows up in the official video below. Anderson also makes an appearance in the Miss Americana documentary, sharing dinner and wine with Swift at her house.

The first lines of the second verse suggest that the song is also about a boy, or maybe they’re just an homage to Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’.’

[Verse 1]
Friday night beneath the stars
In a field behind your yard
You and I are painting pictures in the sky
And sometimes we don’t say a thing
Just listen to the crickets sing
Everything I need is right here by my side
And I know everything about you
I don’t wanna live without you

[Chorus]
I’m only up when you’re not down
Don’t wanna fly if you’re still on the ground
It’s like no matter what I do
Well you drive me crazy half the time
The other half I’m only tryna let you know that what I feel is true
And I’m only me when I’m with you

[Verse 2]
Just a small town boy and girl
Living in a crazy world
Tryna figure out what is and isn’t true
And I don’t try to hide my tears
The secrets or my deepest fears
Through it all nobody gets me like you do
And you know everything about me
You say that you can’t live without me

[Chorus]
I’m only up when you’re not down
Don’t wanna fly if you’re still on the ground
It’s like no matter what I do
Well you drive me crazy half the time
The other half I’m only tryna let you know that what I feel is true
And I’m only me when I’m with you

[Bridge]
When I’m with anybody else it’s so hard to be myself
Only you can tell

[Chorus]
That I’m only up when you’re not down
Don’t wanna fly if you’re still on the ground
It’s like no matter what I do
Well you drive me crazy half the time
The other half I’m only tryna let you know that what I feel is true
And I’m only me
Who I wanna be
Well, I’m only me when I’m with you
With you
Uh huh
Yeah

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,260: ‘I’m Only Me When I’m With You’ – Taylor Swift

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    The inclusion of the “boy” in the Journey line is odd because I don’t really think the song was intended to include a romantic relationship. She needed two syllables to match the structure of her song, but why not go with “small town kinda girl?”

    Anyway, I digress. Sweet song and video.

  2. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    I love this song! I always thought it was on the original album and not a bonus track. It does make sense though given that “A Perfectly Good Heart” is also a bonus track I’m now realizing and that song is less than exemplary and I always thought a terrible ender.

    I will say that I do enjoy many of Swift’s bonus tracks and am always impressed by how those songs are often just as good as the rest of the songs on the record. “Ours”, one of my favorite Swift songs is a bonus on “Speak Now”! “Jump then Fall”, “Superman”, “The Other Side of the Door”! These are great songs!

  3. Amy says:

    I’m not sure I know the bonus tracks from the actual album in the case of the early ones, as we owned and played the Target purchased CD’s that included them all. I never saw this video before, and it’s adorable. I like this song, along with several of those Daniel mentions above, quite a bit, though it’s clearly not a top tier Swift track.

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