the 1

Single (Germany) | folklore (2020)

The opening track on Taylor’s eighth studio album, “folklore” (2020), is fittingly called “the 1”. It centers around the nostalgic remembrance of myths and lost loves. Taylor contemplates an alternate life in which her old wishes had “come true” and resulted in a life with a former lover.

Sharing a similar sentiment to Taylor’s track “I Almost Do” from October 2012’s “RED“, “the 1” is a callback to the folk moments from the same record, folk music being a defining influence on “folklore”.

“I think, ‘I’m doing good, I’m on some new shit, been saying Yes instead of No’ has a double meaning. Opening the album with [that] line applies to the situation that this song is written about where you’re updating a former lover on what your life is like now and trying to be positive about it. But it was also where I am creatively. I’m just saying ‘Yes’, I’m just putting out an album in the worst time you could put one out, I’m just making stuff with someone who I’ve always wanted to make stuff with, as long as I’ve been a fan of The National. I’m just going to say ‘Yes’ to stuff and it worked out.” — Taylor Swift

In a Vulture interview, Aaron Dessner revealed that “the 1” was the last song Taylor wrote for “folklore”. She went through the files that Dessner had sent to her and wrote the song to one of the compositions, in a couple of hours in the middle of the night. Dessner worked on the music for the voice memo Taylor sent back, tracked her vocals, and sent it to his brother Bryce Dessner in France, who added the orchestration to the song. Taylor described the song as “bookends” to “folklore”, along with “hoax”, which is the final track on the album.

“It’s clear that ‘the 1’ is not written from her perspective. It’s written from another friend’s perspective. There’s an emotional wryness and rawness, while also to this kind of wink in her eyes. There’s a little bit of her sense of humor in there, in addition to this kind of sadness that exists both underneath and on the surface. I enjoy that about her writing.” — Aaron Dessner

Upon release, “the 1” received positive reviews from music critics. It debuted at No. 1 on the United States Spotify chart with 4.175 million streams, becoming the biggest song debut by a female artist in the platform’s history, and debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, constituting Taylor’s record-extending 28 top-10 hits and 18 top-10 debuts in the US.

“the 1” was sent to German contemporary hit radio stations as a single on October 9, 2020.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
I’m doing good, I’m on some new shit
Been saying “Yes” instead of “No”
I thought I saw you at the bus stop, I didn’t though

I hit the ground running each night
I hit the Sunday matinée
You know the greatest films of all time were never made

[Pre-chorus 1]
I guess you never know, never know
And if you wanted me, you really should’ve showed
And if you never bleed, you’re never gonna grow
And it’s alright now

[Chorus]
But we were something, don’t you think so?
Roaring twenties, tossing pennies in the pool
And if my wishes came true
It would’ve been you
In my defense, I have none
For never leaving well enough alone
But it would’ve been fun
If you would’ve been the one

[Verse 2]
I have this dream you’re doing cool shit
Having adventures on your own
You meet some woman on the Internet and take her home
We never painted by the numbers, baby
But we were making it count
You know the greatest loves of all time are over now

[Pre-chorus 2]
I guess you never know, never know
And it’s another day, waking up alone

[Chorus]
But we were something, don’t you think so?
Roaring twenties, tossing pennies in the pool
And if my wishes came true
It would’ve been you
In my defense, I have none
For never leaving well enough alone
But it would’ve been fun
If you would’ve been the one

[Bridge]
I, I, I
Persist and resist the temptation to ask you
If one thing had been different
Would everything be different today?

[Chorus]
We were something, don’t you think so?
Rosé flowing with your chosen family
And it would’ve been sweet
If it could’ve been me
In my defense, I have none
For digging up the grave another time
But it would’ve been fun
If you would’ve been the one

General Information
Albumfolklore
ReleasedJuly 24, 2020
Recorded2020
StudioKitty Committee Studio
(Los Angeles)
GenreIndie Pop
Length3:30
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Aaron Dessner
ProducerAaron Dessner
Single Certification
Official Lyric Video
Official Audio
Official Live Audio