Song of the Day #4,599: ‘Begin Again (Live)’ – Taylor Swift

My final track in the Your Favorite Songs series is Taylor Swift’s ‘Begin Again,’ which showed up on both Amy and Madison’s lists. This is the final track, and second single, on Swift’s 2012 album Red.

Red is a fan favorite, perhaps because it gives equal weight to both her country roots and her shift toward pop. I placed it in the middle of the pack when ranking Swift’s albums last year.

I singled today’s SOTD out as one of the album’s highlights, but I was surprised to see it show up on two different Top 25 lists. Why this song, given Swift’s impressive catalog?

I asked my daughter, a Swiftie herself, her thoughts. She said she sees ‘Begin Again’ mentioned a lot among fans as one of their favorite songs. She doesn’t get it either.

Nothing against the song, which is a lovely country ballad that demonstrates many of Swift’s strengths as a songwriter. But I could say the same thing about two dozen Taylor Swift songs.

Perhaps Amy and Madison have a shared history with this song that leads them to share it as a favorite. I eagerly look to the comment section for the explanation.

That concludes my look at Your Favorite Songs. As I wrote when I started, I hoped to “learn more about the art, and more about the people who love it” and that’s exactly what happened. So thank you!

[Verse 1]
Took a deep breath in the mirror
He didn’t like it when I wore high heels, but I do
Turn the lock and put my headphones on
He always said he didn’t get this song but I do, I do
Walked in, expecting you’d be late
But you got here early and you stand and wave
I walk to you
You pull my chair out and help me in
And you don’t know how nice that is, but I do

[Chorus]
And you throw your head back laughing like a little kid
I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny ’cause he never did
I’ve been spending the last eight months
Thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end
But on a Wednesday in a café, I watched it begin again

[Verse 2]
You said you never met one girl who
Had as many James Taylor records as you, but I do
We tell stories and you don’t know why
I’m coming off a little shy, but I do

[Chorus]
But you throw your head back laughing like a little kid
I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny ’cause he never did
I’ve been spending the last eight months
Thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end
But on a Wednesday in a café, I watched it begin again

[Bridge]
And we walked down the block to my car
And I almost brought him up
But you start to talk about the movies
That your family watches every single Christmas
And I want to talk about that
And for the first time, what’s past is past

[Chorus]
‘Cause you throw your head back laughing like a little kid
I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny ’cause he never did
I’ve been spending the last eight months
Thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end
But on a Wednesday in a café, I watched it begin again

[Outro]
But on a Wednesday in a café, I watched it begin again

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,599: ‘Begin Again (Live)’ – Taylor Swift

  1. Maddie says:

    That’s interesting that Sophie said that because I’ve actually never seen anyone else list “Begin Again” as a favorite. “All Too Well” seems to be the popular choice head and shoulders above the rest, and that song used to be my proclaimed number one as well. It remains close by, but I think age and repeated listening has only benefited “Begin Again” for me. I’ll let my mom speak to her reasoning, but her immediate love for it made me hear it more intently and with more care every time. I just find it to be gorgeous in its simplicity. Taylor uses her specific details to weave such a clear story covering a finite time in her life, going on a first date after a huge heartbreak. I’ve always had a lump in my throat when I hear this song but after going through my first really significant breakup, I can’t hear it without crying. It’s beautiful and hopeful. So yea, there’s my reasoning 🙂 This has been fun, loved getting to share top 25s with one another.

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    I get a lump in my throat thinking about Maddie getting a lump in her throat 😔, but she’s right that this song is beautiful in its simplicity, hopeful and, for those who have come out the other side of a breakup, true.

    I’ve generally considered “Fifteen” to be my favorite Swift song, though some of the songs from the last two albums she released last year might vie for favorite status.

    Anyway, this really has been a fun exercise, exploration and education, so thank you for facilitating the discussion.

  3. Amy says:

    Where to begin? As Maddie says, the specificity of these lyrics (the speaker’s love for JT, wearing high heels, having someone pull her chair out) provides such a clear window into the mind and heart of a person who has had her faith shaken in not only “love,” but, far more important, herself.

    Through this new person’s eyes, she is reminded that she is funny, that the potential she has – or any relationship might have – is unlimited. When she is startled at wanting to hear about the Christmas movie watching tradition of this man she’s just starting to know RATHER than to think/talk about what might have gone wrong with her ex, she gives us a glimpse into such a simple yet profound moment that signifies a readiness to move on, and, yes, more generally – hope.

    And she does it all with some of the loveliest musical choices…her delivery of “little kid,” “every single Christmas,” and, of course, the “but I do”s puts a lump in my throat with every listen.

    I joked that this should be Buttigieg’s theme song after Trump, but I was just slightly joking. For me, this song has come to represent any period in your life that makes you feel shaky and that moment, on some random Wednesday in some random cafe, where you start to feel the ground is actually more solid under your feet than you realized.

  4. Peg says:

    Lovely song ❤️ I didn’t have much to offer but I loved reading and learning the reasons behind your favorite music. Thank you for this!

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