Breaking down Taylor Swift’s most vulnerable ‘Midnights’ song, ‘You’re on Your Own, Kid’

Breaking down Taylor Swift’s most vulnerable ‘Midnights’ song, ‘You’re on Your Own, Kid’

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By Lauren Huff October 21, 2022 at 12: 45 AM EDT

Not much was known about Taylor Swift‘s Midnights before its release on Friday, but one thing longtime fans could reliably expect was an emotional track 5.

Long-time Swift fans knew that the fifth song on an album was the most emotionally or devastatingly or vulnerable. This was evident many midnights ago. In interviews, she said that she noticed this and started to do it in later albums.

Midnights‘ fifth track, “You’re on Your Own, Kid,” follows in this pattern, although at first listen it’s more sonically upbeat than one might expect.

Swiftt counters this with her light vocals that seem almost childlike. This is fitting as Swift sings the song from the perspective an adult Swift. She is looking back at key moments in her youth and it feels almost like she is reaching through time to offer some guidance to her younger self.

It begins with a verse about young unrequited love (perhaps the same subject as her early song “You Belong with Me”). ): “Summer went far / Still the yearning remains / I play it cool and with the best of them/ He’s going to notice me / It’s okay, we’re best friends / Anyway. ” This is followed by the chorus. It changes slightly every time we hear it, to reflect the heartbreak in the preceding verse. Swift ends the song by telling herself that she is on her own, and that she has always been. ” The second verse sees Swift move past the boy and into her fledgling career goals. Swift’s crushing realization this time is not about a romance but the devastating realization that her dreams aren’t uncommon. Only she can make her own path now.

What makes this track particularly vulnerable and important though, is that it’s the most clearly open Swift has been about her struggles with body dysmorphia and disordered eating in her music, after previously revealing her struggles in 2020’s Miss Americana documentary. Swift mentions “You’re On Your Own, Kid” in “You’re On Your Own, Kid”. She also mentions “better bodies at parties” in the chorus. Swift ends “Midnights’ on a hopeful note of self-reflection: “From sprinkler splashes / to fireplace ashes / Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned/ So make the friendship bracelets/ Take the moment and taste it/ You’ve got no reason to be saved by / Like I could be saved by a perfect love. “

Unlike some other track 5s, though, Swift ends Midnights‘ on a more hopeful note of self-reflection:

“I looked around in a blood-soaked gown/ And I saw something they can’t take away/ Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned/ Everything you lose is a step you take/So make the friendship bracelets/ Take the moment and taste it/ You’ve got no reason to be afraid/ You’re on your own, kid”

Yeah, something tells us it’s all going to work out in the end — after all, as the songstress tells us herself in the album’s closing moments, she is, in fact, a mastermind.

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