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Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince

Lover (2019)

“Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” is a layered song on Taylor’s seventh studio album, Lover (2019). It can either be interpreted as describing a high school romance or as Taylor’s reasons for becoming politically vocal.
“Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” is a melodramatic protest song, that employs a high school parable, homecoming imagery and peppy cheerleader chants, to present a metaphorical critique of the state of US politics during the Trump administration.

Lyrical Theme

Taylor wrote “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” a few months after the 2018 United States midterm elections. It “mixes prom vibes with old school Americana vibes with a new age love story.” Taylor told Rolling Stone in 2019:

«There are so many influences that go into that particular song. I wrote it a couple of months after midterm elections, and I wanted to take the idea of politics and pick a metaphorical place for that to exist. And so I was thinking about a traditional American high school, where there’s all these kinds of social events that could make someone feel completely alienated. And I think a lot of people in our political landscape are just feeling like we need to huddle up under the bleachers and figure out a plan to make things better.»

Taylor Swift
After an interview with Taylor at the beginning of 2020, Variety‘s Chris Willman opined that the lyrics of “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” are a metaphor for “how Swift grew up as an unblinking patriot and has had to reluctantly leave behind her naiveté in the age of Trump”. In the ambient opening, Taylor sings about her disillusionment with the cultural climate of contemporary America. She proceeds with a high school imagery that recalls her early songs. While the high school imagery was bright and optimistic on songs such as “You Belong with Me” (2008), it is now a metaphor for a transition from “the wide-eyed sophomore the disaffected senior”.

Political Statement

The song’s political tone has linked its subject largely to US President Donald Trump, who Taylor has expressed distaste for. To the Elvis Duran Show after the album’s release, she said: “We’re a democracy – at least, we’re supposed to be – where you’re allowed to disagree, dissent, debate. I really think that [Trump] thinks this is an autocracy.”

Critical Reception

“Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” received acclaim from music critics, who called it a standout on the album and praised the political undertones of its lyrics. Will Gottsegen from Spin considered “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” to be a song that encapsulates both the cheerful, bright tones of Taylor’s releases in her early career, and the dark tones on Lover‘s preceding studio album reputation (2017). Alexis Petridis from The Guardian lauded the track for effectively conveying Taylor’spolitical message, compared to other pop artists’ desperate attempt at being “woke”. Writing for Variety, Chris William felt that “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” would be a great “protest song” because, in his opinion, the song effectively conveys Taylor’s deep sorrow and disappointment towards American politics, which is rare among other protest songs where “anger feels like a lifetime condition, not something that’s been arrived at as the culmination of a long character arc.” William added that “songs about the United States as a creeping dystopia tend not to be very interesting, or listenable; a song about the U.S. of 2019 as a homecoming-game horror movie is something else”. Slant Magazine named it the nineteenth-best track of 2019.

Commercial Performance

Upon the release of Lover, “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” debuted and peaked at No. 49 on the US Billboard Hot 100, simultaneously charting with the other seventeen tracks of the album. It also entered the official charts in Australia, Canada and Scotland.

Miss Americana

“Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” inspired the title of Taylor’s 2020 Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, directed by Lana Wilson, that follows Taylor’s life and career over several years. The song was used in the documentary’s trailer.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
You know I adore you, I’m crazier for you
Than I was at sixteen, lost in a film scene
Waving homecoming queens, marching band playing
I’m lost in the lights
American glory faded before me
Now I’m feeling hopeless, ripped up my prom dress
Running through rose thorns, I saw the scoreboard
And ran for my life (Ah)

[Pre-chorus]
No cameras catch my pageant smile
I counted days, I counted miles
To see you there, to see you there
It’s been a long time coming, but

[Chorus]
It’s you and me, that’s my whole world
They whisper in the hallway, “She’s a bad, bad girl” (Okay!)
The whole school is rolling fake dice
You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes
It’s you and me, there’s nothing like this
Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince (Okay!)
We’re so sad, we paint the town blue
Voted most likely to run away with you

[Verse 2]
My team is losing, battered and bruising
I see the high fives between the bad guys
Leave with my head hung, you are the only one
Who seems to care
American stories burning before me
I’m feeling helpless, the damsels are depressed
Boys will be boys then, where are the wise men?
Darling, I’m scared (Ah)

[Pre-chorus 2]
No cameras catch my muffled cries
I counted days, I counted miles
To see you there, to see you there
And now the storm is coming, but

[Chorus]
It’s you and me, that’s my whole world
They whisper in the hallway, “She’s a bad, bad girl” (Okay!)
The whole school is rolling fake dice
You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes
It’s you and me, there’s nothing like this
Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince (Okay!)
We’re so sad, we paint the town blue
Voted most likely to run away with you

[Bridge]
And I don’t want you to (Go!), I don’t really wanna (Fight!)
‘Cause nobody’s gonna (Win!), I think you should come home
And I don’t want you to (Go!), I don’t really wanna (Fight!)
‘Cause nobody’s gonna (Win!), I think you should come home
And I don’t want you to (Go!), I don’t really wanna (Fight!)
‘Cause nobody’s gonna (Win!), I just think you should know
And I’ll never let you (Go!) ’cause I know this is a (Fight!)
That someday we’re gonna (Win!)

[Chorus Variation]
It’s you and me, that’s my whole world
They whisper in the hallway, “She’s a bad, bad girl”
Oh, I just thought you should know (You should know)
It’s you and me, there’s nothing like this (Like this)
Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince (Okay!)
We’re so sad, we paint the town blue (Paint it blue)
Voted most likely to run away with you

[Bridge Reprise]
And I don’t want you to (Go!), I don’t really wanna (Fight!)
‘Cause nobody’s gonna (Win!), I think you should come home
And I’ll never let you (Go!) ’cause I know this is a (Fight!)
That someday we’re gonna (Win!), just thought you should know

[Outro]
It’s you and me, that’s my whole world
They whisper in the hallway, “She’s a bad, bad girl”
“She’s a bad, bad girl”

General Information
AlbumLover
ReleasedAugust 23, 2019
GenreSynth Pop
Length3:54
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Joel Little
ProducersJoel Little
Taylor Swift
LOVER CHRONOLOGY
I Think He KnowsMiss Americana & The Heartbreak PrincePaper Rings
Song Certification
Official Audio
Miss Americana Trailer