Taylor Swift’s Fearless turns 10 on Sunday.
The album was arguably the work that catapulted Swift to fame after some initial radio hits like “Tim McGraw” and “Our Song” put her on the country music map two years prior. Swift’s second album had the sweetness of the self-titled debut, but it also flirted with maturity and whispered of the country-pop powerhouse she would soon become.
Over time, Swift has evolved into a , but the words to her early tracks have a lingering naivety. And maybe that’s what makes Fearless stick with us: Each song still seems to speak directly to the 13-year-old hearts who grew up with her music, pining over school crushes and grappling with growing up.
Here are the best lyrics from each track on the now decade-old album:
“Fearless”: And I don’t know why, but with you I’d dance / In a storm in my best dress, fearless
The title track is a standard, whimsical early-Taylor love song. Dancing in the rain may be a cliché, but the visual it conjures has its charm.
“Fifteen”: This is life before you know who you’re gonna be
“Fifteen” carries the weight of growing up well, blending the sweet innocence of a first real date with more powerful introspective lyrics like this one.
“Love Story”: So close your eyes, escape this town for a little while
Where were you when you heard “Love Story” for the first time? As one of Swift’s first major hits, the narrative lyrics make it a millennial classic that keeps transporting listeners back to simpler times 10 years later.
“Hey Stephen”: All those other girls, well they’re beautiful / But would they write a song for you?
This lesser-known bop contains what is perhaps the most quintessential Taylor Swift lyric ever. Enough said.
“White Horse”: My mistake, I didn’t know to be in love / You had to fight to have the upper hand
In keeping with the subtle fairytale theme that can be found in her most popular tunes of the Fearless era, Swift adds a satisfying little punch to her lyrics in “White Horse.” It’s pining but empowered.
“You Belong With Me”: Walking the streets with you and your worn-out jeans / I can’t help thinking this is how it ought to be
Oh, the woes of crushing on a boy with a girlfriend. “You Belong With Me” is an adorably fun take on high school tropes, with a music video to match, sprinkled with that familiar teenage longing.
“Breathe”: Music starts playing like the end of a sad movie / It’s the kind of ending you don’t really wanna see
Swift’s duet with Colbie Caillat has a grown-up kind of sorrow to it — a mixture of loss and overwhelming disappointment. Lyrics like this do well in capturing the moment and the universal feeling.
“Tell Me Why”: And I need you like a heartbeat / but you know you’ve got a mean streak
“Tell Me Why” is a defiant break-up anthem, demanding answers and acknowledging flaws. It’s punchy and has a refreshing bit of attitude to it, as shown in lyrics like this.
“You’re Not Sorry”: You had me crawling for you, honey / And it never would’ve gone away
A powerful bridge goes a long way, and Swift has become a pro at crafting them. “You’re Not Sorry” gives listeners a moving transition with strong vocals to match.
“The Way I Loved You”: It’s a roller coaster kind of rush / And I never knew I could feel that much
The latter half of Fearless really is a bit of a bummer, lyrically speaking. But the juxtaposition of stories of moving on and missing the one that got away in “The Way I Loved You” wonderfully begs the question of what to feel when you feel too much.
“Forever and Always”: And I stare at the phone, he still hasn’t called / And then you feel so low you can’t feeling nothing at all
In another testimony to the universal feeling of lost love, “Forever and Always” expertly navigates the overwhelming feelings of longing, heartbreak and betrayal at broken promises.
“The Best Day”: And now I know why all the trees change in the fall / I know you were on my side / Even when I was wrong
Mom, if you’re reading this, I love you.
“Change”: And the battle was long, it’s the fight of our lives / But we’ll stand up champions tonight
“Change” is an empowering anthem for the ages. Its “believe yourself” message is heavy-handed, but not overly so. As the album’s final track, it does well in leaving listeners with good feelings rather than heartbreak or nostalgia.