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The Outside

Taylor Swift (2006)

“The Outside” is a song on Taylor’s debut studio album, Taylor Swift (2006). It was written by Taylor about loneliness when she was just 12 years old, soon after she’d received her first guitar. That makes it her oldest song to ever be released on a record.

Background and Lyrical Theme

Taylor wasn’t popular and felt like a complete outcast in middle school. She says she felt different than all the other kids, but she never really knew why. She was taller and sang country music at karaoke bars and festivals on weekends while other girls went to sleepovers:

«This is one of the first songs I ever wrote, and it talks about the very reason I ever started to write songs. Some days, I woke up not knowing if anyone was going to talk to me that day. I think every person comes to a point in their life when you have a long string of bad days. You can choose to let it drag you down, or you can find ways to rise above it. I came to the conclusion that even though people hadn’t always been there for me, music had. It’s strange to think how different my life would be right now if I had been one of the cool kids.»

Taylor Swift
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she further talked about this song: “A lot of times back then, when I was 12 or 13, I would write songs about relationships, when I wasn’t in relationships, because I would look at other people and try to observe what they were going through. But in the case of ‘The Outside,’ I was writing exactly what I saw. I was writing from pain. And I’ve always felt so lucky, because I’ve never needed an escape like drinking or drugs or anything like that to escape from the bad days. Music has always been that escape for me.”

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
I didn’t know what I would find
When I went looking for a reason
I know I didn’t read between the lines
And, baby, I’ve got nowhere to go
I tried to take the road less traveled by
But nothing seems to work the first few times
Am I right?

[Chorus]
So how can I ever try to be better?
Nobody ever lets me in
I can still see you, this ain’t the best view
On the outside looking in
I’ve been a lot of lonely places
I’ve never been on the outside

[Verse 2]
You saw me there, but never knew
I would give it all up to be
A part of this, a part of you
And now it’s all too late so you see
You could’ve helped if you had wanted to
But no one notices until it’s too late to do anything

[Breakdown]
So how can I ever try to be better?
Nobody ever lets me in
I can still see you, this ain’t the best view
On the outside looking in

[Final Chorus]
I’ve been a lot of lonely places
I’ve never been on the outside
So how can I ever try to be better?
Nobody ever lets me in
I can still see you, this ain’t the best view
On the outside looking in
I’ve been a lot of lonely places
I’ve never been on the outside

General Information
AlbumTaylor Swift
ReleasedOctober 24, 2006
Recorded2006
GenreCountry
Length3:29
LabelBig Machine Records
SongwriterTaylor Swift
ProducerNathan Chapman
Robert Ellis Orrall
TAYLOR SWIFT CHRONOLOGY
Cold As YouThe OutsideTied Together With A Smile
Hidden Message
You are not alone
Song Artwork
Live Performance
Official Audio