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You're On Your Own, Kid

Midnights (2022)

“You’re On Your Own, Kid” is track five on Taylor’s tenth studio album, Midnights (2022). It was released on October 21, 2022, through Republic Records. Written and produced by Taylor and Jack Antonoff, the song reflects on Taylor’s coming of age, and how she dealt with unrequited love and her career ambitions.
Table of Contents

Background and Release

On August 28, 2022, Taylor announced her tenth studio album, Midnights, set for release on October 21, 2022. Exactly one month later, she began unveiling the track-list in a randomized order through a video series on TikTok, called Midnights Mayhem With Me. It consisted of 13 episodes, with one song revealed in per episode. In the tenth edition on October 7, 2022, Taylor announced the title of the ninth track as “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” On the Lavender Marbled deluxe edition of the album, the fifteenth track is a remix of the song called “You’re On Your Own, Kid (Strings Remix)”.

“You’re On Your Own, Kid” is legendary singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks’ favorite Taylor song. During a show in 2023, Stevie thanked Taylor for writing the song, telling the audience that it had helped her grieve her friend and Fleetwood Mac bandmate Christine McVie over the previous months:

«Thank you to Taylor Swift for doing this thing for me, and that is writing a song called 'You’re On Your Own, Kid'. That is the sadness of how I feel. As long as Chris was, even on the other side of the world, we didn’t have to talk on the phone. We really weren’t phone buddies. Then we would go back to Fleetwood Mac, and we would walk in and it would be like, 'Little sister, how are you?' It was like never a minute had passed, never an argument in our entire 47 years. So, when it was the two of us, the two of us were on our own, kids, we always were. And now, I’m having to learn to be on my own, kid, by myself. So, you help me to do that. Thank you.»

McVie and Nicks were close from the minute Nicks had joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974. Nicks celebrated their long friendship and sisterhood while grieving publicly for McVie, who died in November 2022.

Lyrical Theme

The lyrics address Taylor’s reflection on her coming of age. She reminisces about her teenage years in her hometown, where she dreamt of getting out and found solace in songwriting as a means to create her own fantasy. The first verse has her recalling an unrequited love in the past, which is in line with the theme of unrequited love on Taylor’s earliest songs including “Teardrops On My Guitar” from Taylor Swift (2006) and “Hey Stephen” from Fearless (2008). The second verse sees her moving on from the boy and chasing her career aspirations, just to realize; “My dreams aren’t rare.” In the bridge she describes what happened after she had finally made it: At some point, her friends from her hometown didn’t recognize her anymore. In the Midnights prologue, Taylor wrote:

«Why can’t you sleep? [...] Was tonight the night you realized how solitary, how alone you really are, no matter how high you climb. The elevation just makes it colder.»

Towards the end, the song concludes with a hopeful message of self-reflection. She looks around in a “blood-soaked gown” and reckons that every misstep was a lesson learnt.

Live Performances

“You’re On Your Own, Kid” received its first live performance acoustically on piano on April 14, 2023, in Tampa during one of Taylor’s shows on “The Eras Tour.” She introduced the song by saying:

«Midnights is the most accurate picture of my life to-date. It's the most recent album. I feel really connected to it. I'm really proud of it. [...] So I thought, in this section, in the acoustic set, I usually do songs from different albums. But I'm so in a Midnights mood right now that I thought I'd do one that I've never played before.»

She performed “You’re On Your Own, Kid” as the second surprise song again on August 5, 2023, in Los Angeles and on August 26, 2023, in Mexico City.

Critical Reception

Music critics lauded the track for what they deemed a vulnerable yet hopeful message in its lyrics. They interpreted “You’re on Your Own, Kid” as Taylor’s reflection of her celebrity and personal life, including an eating disorder she suffered. Stephen Thompson of NPR praised the lyrics’ specificity and imagery, and the “gorgeous” melody that showcase Taylor’s talents as a great songwriter. Attard considered “You’re on Your Own, Kid” one of the Midnights tracks that best display the “matured temperament and the stark intimacy of Swift’s songwriting”, and Petridis selected it among the songs that are “filled with subtle, brilliant touches”. In Slate, critic Carl Wilson dubbed “You’re on Your Own, Kid” one of the album tracks that showcase emotional acuity. Kate Solomon from i praised the track as the album’s most emotionally affecting. Paste‘s Ellen Johnson complimented it for a rich narrative that avoids being “overly wordy or sappy”, which she found superior to mainstream pop songs. In Variety, Chris Willman ranked “You’re on Your Own, Kid” at number 49 on his list of the best 50 songs from Taylor’s repertoire, specifically praising the lyrics.

Commercial Performance

In the United States, songs from Midnights occupied the entire Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100; a historic feat. “You’re On Your Own, Kid” debuted at No. 8 on the chart. Taylor became the first artist to simultaneously occupy the Top 10 spots of the Hot 100; the female artist with the most Top 10 songs (40); and the first act to occupy the entire Top 10 of the Hot 100, Streaming Songs, and Digital Songs charts simultaneously. Midnights also became the first album in history to contain ten Top 10 songs.

Friendship Bracelet Trading

Trading colorful, beaded friendship bracelets officially became a fun activity for attendees of Taylor’s historic “The Eras Tour,” with fans taking to social media to show off their arms full of fun bracelets that make references to various Taylor songs, album eras, inside jokes among fans and lyrics. The inspiration for the bracelets comes from the lyrics to “You’re on Your Own, Kid”:

’Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned
Everything you lose is a step you take
So make the friendship bracelets
Take the moment and taste it

You’ve got no reason to be afraid

The trend became so widespread just weeks into the tour that even celebrities were joining in on the fun. Everyone from Jennifer Garner, Gigi Hadid and Jennifer Lawrence to Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Aaron Dessner and even Taylor herself were spotted accepting friendship bracelets from Swifties, and took to social media to show off their colorful presents. Since then, trading friendship bracelets has become a global trend for all kinds of events, from music concerts to sports events like F1 or American football.


[Verse 1]
Summer went away
Still the yearning stays
I play it cool with the best of them
I wait patiently
He’s gonna notice me
It’s ok, we’re the best of friends
I hear it in your voice
You’re smoking with your boys
I touch my phone as if it’s your face
I didn’t choose this town
I dream of getting out
There’s just one who could make me stay
All my days

[Chorus 1]
From sprinkler splashes
To fireplace ashes
I waited ages to see you there
I search the party
Of better bodies
Just to learn that you never cared
You’re on your own, kid
You always have been

[Verse 2]
I see the great escape
So long, Daisy May
I picked the petals, he loves me not
Something different bloomed
Writing in my room
I play my songs in the parking lot
I’ll run away

[Chorus 2]
From sprinkler splashes
To fireplace ashes
I called a taxi to take me there
I search the party
Of better bodies
Just to learn that my dreams aren’t rare
You’re on your own, kid
You always have been

[Instrumental Break]

From sprinkler splashes
To fireplace ashes
I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this
I hosted parties and starved my body
Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss
The jokes weren’t funny
I took the money
My friends from home don’t know what to say
I looked around in a blood-soaked gown
And I saw something they can’t take away
‘Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned
Everything you lose is a step you take
So make the friendship bracelets
Take the moment and taste it
You’ve got no reason to be afraid

You’re on your own, kid
Yeah, you can face this
You’re on your own, kid
You always have been

General Information
ArtistTaylor Swift
ReleasedOctober 21, 2022
StudiosRough Customer (Brooklyn)
Electric Lady (New York City)
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Jack Antonoff
ProducersJack Antonoff
Taylor Swift
Snow On The BeachYou’re On Your Own, KidMidnight Rain
Song Certification
Song Artwork
Live Performance
Lyric Video
Official Audio