White Horse

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

“White Horse” is a song on Taylor’s second studio album, “Fearless” (2008). The re-recording of the song, “White Horse (Taylor’s Version)”, was released on April 9, 2021 on the album “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).”It uses sparse production to emphasize vocals. Lyrically, the track speaks of disillusionment and pain in a relationship, drawing references to fairytales. The song won Taylor her first two Grammy awards.

Taylor and Liz Rose composed the song about one of Taylor’s ex-boyfriends, when she discovered he was not what she had perceived of him. She said she wrote the song within weeks of writing “Love Story“. The guy from the previous song “reminded her a lot of fairy tales and Prince Charming.” After she wrote part of the first verse, she placed a call to her friend, co-writer Liz Rose, to help her write the song. They finished “White Horse” within 45 minutes. It focuses on the moment where Taylor accepted that the relationship was over. She told Billboard:

“It’s one of the songs that I am really proud of on the record because it’s so sparse — it’s guitar, piano and cello. It talks about falling in love and the fairy tales that you are going to have with this person, and then there is that moment where you realize that it is not going to happen. That moment is the most earth shattering moment.” — Taylor Swift

THE IDEA OF PRINCE CHARMING
Taylor told CMT that this song was an example of her fascination with fairy tales. She explained:

“I am completely fascinated by the differences and comparisons between real life and fairy tales because we’re raised as little girls to think that we’re a princess and that Prince Charming is going to sweep us off our feet. And that we’re going to ride off into the sunset on a white horse. We’re not really expecting to get blown off or ignored or broken up with or cheated on. I think it’s really interesting when you come to terms with that reality: ‘Maybe that’s not gonna happen with this guy because this guy’s a jerk.’ But there’s still that core of us that believes that it’s true and that if you find the right person, you can have that love story and it can work out. So there are different examples of fairy tales, and sometimes I believe in them and sometimes I don’t. And moments on the record like in “White Horse,” it’s a song about, ‘Wow, this is not a fairytale, is it? Awesome. Great.’ It’s (about how) I’m coming to this realization that this is not a fairy tale at all — this is real life.” — Taylor Swift

FEARLESS OR SPEAK NOW
She admitted in a since-deleted post that was on her label’s website that she actually wasn’t going to put this song on the album and was going to wait for the third album (“Speak Now“) because she felt like she already had the “sadness” represented on this record.

“Then my agency out in LA set up a meeting with executive producers Betsy Beers and Shonda Rhimes at Grey’s Anatomy because that’s my favorite show. It would just be a dream come true to have a song on it. So, I played them ‘White Horse.’ It was just me and my guitar and they freaked out. They loved it. They said, ‘We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.’ For a while, we didn’t know if we were going to put it on the record because if it wasn’t going to be on the show, then we weren’t going to put it on the album. Then they called and said they were very interested in the song. We recorded it right away, sent it off to them, and they put it in!” — Taylor Swift

CRITICAL RECEPTION
Critically, “White Horse” garnered generally positive reception. At the 2010 Grammy Awards, “White Horse” won the awards for “Best Country Song” and “Best Female Country Vocal Performance”. The song also performed well commercially, although it did not duplicate the success of its predecessor, “Love Story”. In the United States, it peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on Hot Country Songs.

MUSIC VIDEO
The song’s accompanying music video was directed by Trey Fanjoy, who directed the majority of Taylor’s prior videos. The video features her as she decides to end a relationship via phone call. In the video, Taylor recalls multiple memories with her love interest, both positive and negative.

“White Horse” is featured in the fifth season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy, “Dream a Little Dream of Me”. It is one of Taylor’s favorite TV shows.

RE-RECORDING
On February 11, 2021, Taylor announced on Good Morning America that a re-recorded version of “White Horse”, titled “White Horse (Taylor’s Version)”, would be released on April 9, 2021, as the fifth track from “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)“, the re-recorded version of t 2008 “Fearless”. After the album’s release, Taylor told a radio station:

“[‘White Horse’ is about] comparing the fairytale imagery we are taught as kids, comparing it to what can really happen in young love and young heartbreak, and how you just expect a happily ever after type thing. And then you don’t find it and you’re faced with this reality of, ‘Oh, this isn’t Hollywood, this is a small town.’ Those kinds of realizations that hit you. But I’ve always been so proud of this one. And every time I sing it still, I get so emotional, cause it’s really that emotion that’s just on the surface. Every time I hear this song, it’s like, ‘It’s too late for you and your white horse to catch me now.’ It’s like that coming of age where you realize you’re stronger than wanting that happily ever after, you want something better for yourself. You want something different, something more independent, something freer than even what you were told about in fairytales.” — Taylor Swift

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Say you’re sorry
That face of an angel
Comes out just when you need it to
As I paced back and forth all this time
Cause I honestly believed in you
Holding on
The days drag on
Stupid girl
I should have known, I should have known

[Chorus]
That I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairy tale
I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet
Lead her up the stairwell
This ain’t Hollywood, this is a small town,
I was a dreamer before you went and let me down
Now it’s too late for you
And your white horse, to come around

[Verse 2]
Maybe I was naive,
Got lost in your eyes
And never really had a chance
My mistake, I didn’t know to be in love
You had to fight to have the upper hand
I had so many dreams
About you and me
Happy endings
Now I know

[Chorus]
That I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairy tale
I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet,
Lead her up the stairwell
This ain’t Hollywood, this is a small town,
I was a dreamer before you went and let me down
Now it’s too late for you
And your white horse, to come around

[Bridge]
And there you are on your knees,
Begging for forgiveness, begging for me
Just like I always wanted but I’m so sorry
Cause I’m not your princess, this ain’t a fairytale
I’m gonna find someone someday who might actually treat me well

[Final Chorus]
This is a big world, that was a small town
There in my rearview mirror disappearing now
And its too late for you and your white horse
Now its too late for you and your white horse, to catch me now

[Outro]
Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa
Try and catch me now
Oh, it’s too late
To catch me now

General Information
AlbumsFearless
Fearless (Taylor’s Version)
ReleasedNovember 11, 2008
Re-ReleasedApril 9, 2021
GenreCountry
Length3:55
LabelsBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Liz Rose
ProducersChristopher Rowe
Nathan Chapman
Taylor Swift
FEARLESS CHRONOLOGY
Hey StephenWhite HorseYou Belong With Me
Single Certification
Hidden Message
All I ever wanted was the truth
Most Prestigous Accolade
Music Video
Official Lyric Video
Official Audio
Original Audio