Taylor Swift’s “Only the Young” Lyrics Meaning

This song is intended to be representative of Taylor Swift’s take on the political situation in the United States. And it’s easy to see that she is not pleased with the ways things are. For example, she insinuates that those who are in power got there by cheating. Moreover the extremely-scathing second verse seems to try to make a connection between the plague of mass shootings in America and the powers-that-be. And overall, what Taylor is doing is calling the youth into action to take some type of stance – perhaps via the power of voting – to make a change to the system. 

Indeed as the title suggests, she perceives that “only the young” have the wherewithal to actually bring about this desired transformation. And the implication is that the current government leaders represent the old guard, i.e. a way of thinking that is unacceptable to millennials, who represent progressive thinking. 

An Anti-Trump Song

So all things considered, when she entreats them to “run”. And when she says “run”, such is not meant to be taken literally. Rather it seems that the idea she is speaking to is them becoming more rigorous, as a collective, in terms of influencing the political structure. Or perhaps we can say she wants youngsters to vote more and perhaps even run for political office. And by and large all of this incitement goes back to Taylor Swift not being fond of US President Donald Trump. She made this fact most apparent in her 2020 documentary, “Miss Americana”. And “Only the Young” is actually derived from that project. 

So even though she never namedrops the Donald in the tune, he can be considered the personification of what inspired Taylor to come out with this song. That is she is not going to make, in her eyes, the same mistake twice. And what’s this mistake? Not vocally expressing her political views with another US presidential election in the near future (November 3, 2020).

Lyrics of "Only the Young"

Release Date of “Only the Young”

This song was officially released by RCA Records on 31 January 2020. It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on 23 January 2020. It was part of a documentary Netflix put out entitled “Taylor Swift: Miss Americana”. This song is played during the concluding credits of the film.

Writing Credits

“Only the Young” was written and produced by Taylor and Joel Little. They recorded the song some time prior to the release of Taylor’s “Lover” album which dropped in August of 2019. We know this because Taylor has stated that she personally decided not to feature it on the album.

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