Fifteen

Single | Fearless (2008) | Fearless (Taylor's Version) [2021]

“Fifteen” is a song first released on Taylor’s second studio album, “Fearless” (2008). It looks back at her freshman year at Hendersonville High School, Tennessee. She wrote the song about her and her best friend, Abigail Anderson, who she met during ninth grade and is still best friends with. The re-recording of the song, “Fifteen (Taylor’s Version)”, was released on April 9, 2021 on the album “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).”

Taylor and Abigail first encountered heartbreak during their freshman year at Henderson High. In an interview, Taylor said:

“I wrote this around the story line of my best friend from high school, Abigail. I started everything with the line ‘Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind’ and wrote everything else from that point, almost backwards. I just decided I really wanted to tell that story about our first year of high school because I felt in my freshman year, I grew up more than any year in my life so far. The thing about high school is, you don’t know anything. You don’t know anything, but you think you know everything.” — Taylor Swift

After writing the song, Taylor asked Abigail for authorization to record the song (due to personal references in the song); Abigail affirmed and it was ultimately included on “Fearless.”

MUSIC VIDEO
The song’s music video was directed by “You Belong With Me” director Roman White. Abigail and Taylor both appear in the video, in which the two friends go through various situations of teen life. White told MTV News that for the clip he wanted to capture the essence of the song without getting too literal:

“Well, I think I really wanted this video to kind of be an evolution for Taylor. I mean, obviously it’s a high school song, but the last thing I wanted to do was shoot it in a high school. So I wanted to try something different, and I actually said to her, ‘I don’t think we should shoot in a high school.’ And I don’t think she wanted to either. I kind of came up with this idea like, let’s take the literal meaning of this song and watch it evolve in front of us…almost as a memory in your head. And create this world, so you walk in on this desolate desert and you start to sing about all these great memories you have…of everything you love [blooming] around you, and so we literally grew this garden around her. But also we added these surreal elements that came from the memory. It’s kind of this cross between this surreal garden and this memory [and] she’s at the heart of this memory.” — Roman White

COMMERCIAL PERFORMANCE
“Fifteen” was released as the album’s fourth single on August 30, 2009. It peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song was a critical success, with reviewers commending its thoughtful and effective lyrics concerning teenage relationships and adjusting to high school. Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone compared Taylor’s songwriting to the talents of “Swedish pop god” Max Martin. An interesting comparison, considering Taylor started working with Martin in 2012. Together they created some of the most successful pop songs of the 2010s decade.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
You take a deep breath and you walk through the doors
It’s the morning of your very first day
You say hi to your friends you ain’t seen in a while
Try and stay out of everybody’s way

It’s your freshman year and you’re going to be here
For the next four years in this town
Hoping one of those senior boys will wink at you and say
“You know, I haven’t seen you around before”

[Chorus]
Because when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You’re going to believe them
And when you’re fifteen feeling like there’s nothing to figure out
Well, count to ten, take it in
This is life before you know who you’re going to be
Fifteen

[Verse 2]
You sit in class next to a redhead named Abigail
And soon enough you’re best friends
Laughing at the other girls who think they’re so cool
We’ll be outta here as soon as we can

And then you’re on your very first date and he’s got a car
And you’re feeling like flying
And your momma’s waiting up and you’re thinking he’s the one
And you’re dancing ’round your room when the night ends
When the night ends

[Chorus]
Because when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You’re going to believe them
When you’re fifteen and your first kiss
Makes your head spin ’round
But in your life you’ll do things greater than
Dating the boy on the football team
But I didn’t know it at fifteen

[Bridge]
When all you wanted was to be wanted
Wish you could go back and tell yourself what you know now
Back then I swore I was going to marry him someday
But I realized some bigger dreams of mine
And Abigail gave everything she had to a boy
Who changed his mind and we both cried

Because when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You’re going to believe them
And when you’re fifteen, don’t forget to look before you fall
I’ve found time can heal most anything
And you just might find who you’re supposed to be
I didn’t know who I was supposed to be at fifteen

[Outro]
La la la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la

Your very first day
Take a deep breath girl
Take a deep breath as you walk through the doors

General Information
AlbumsFearless
Fearless (Taylor’s Version)
ReleasedNovember 11, 2008
Re-ReleasedApril 9, 2021
GenreCountry Pop
Length4:54
LabelBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwriterTaylor Swift
ProducersNathan Chapman
Taylor Swift
Single Certification
Hidden Message
I cried while recording this
Music Video
Official Audio