“Tim McGraw” is the infamous debut single of Taylor Swift’s musical career. It is also the first song to be recorded and released. Taylor Swift held this song near and dear to her, and for this reason, the song was released as the lead single off her debut studio album titled ‘Taylor Swift.’
Taylor Swift wrote the song “Tim McGraw” when she was in freshman year at Hendersonville High School. She was dating a senior guy, and she foresaw their eventual breakup when he would go to college.
“Tim McGraw” was received well by the critics as well as the fans. The song spent several weeks on Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Country Songs charts, at #40 and #6 respectively. The song is also certified 2x Platinum by RIAA for sales of over 2 million units.
Who is “Tim McGraw” Song About?
In an interview with Great American Country, Taylor Swift revealed the story behind the “Tim McGraw” song;
“If anyone has heard this song and really listened to it, they realize it’s not about Tim McGraw. It’s about a relationship that I was in. Just to set the record straight, it wasn’t with Tim McGraw. It was with this guy I was dating and he was about to go off to college and I was thinking about all the things that I knew would remind him of me. I didn’t really think of Tim McGraw personally when I wrote this song. It was a song where I was listing personal things. One of the things that I listed was that my favorite song is by Tim McGraw.”
“The guy I wrote ‘Tim McGraw’ about, I dated him for about a year and we are still friends, but we don’t talk that much because his new girlfriend isn’t too much of a fan. He really thought it was cool that, even though we weren’t going out anymore, I remembered our relationship nicely.”
Who is Taylor Swift’s Boyfriend in “Tim McGraw” Song?
It is believed that “Tim McGraw” is about Taylor Swift’s first boyfriend named Drew Dunlap. To the credit of this claim, the picture of the guy looks quite similar to the actor in the “Tim McGraw” music video.
Watch “Tim McGraw” Video by Taylor Swift
“Tim McGraw” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
All throughout the song, Taylor Swift revisits some of her favorite memories with her ex-boyfriend during a sweet Summer in high school. She recalls the long drives at night they took in his Chevrolet truck. The truck would “stop” or “breakdown” in the darkest places on the road so that Taylor and the guy could be along together. Taylor fondly recalls him complimenting her eyes-shining so bright and puts the stars in the Georgia night sky to shame.
Taylor recalls being right next to him all Summer long and loving every moment of it. But time flies too soon when you are enjoying life. The Summer and her love, both, were gone in what feels like a blink of an eye.
In these lyrics to the song, it is very clear that Taylor Swift harbors no hatred towards the ex-boyfriend despite the relationship not working out.
In the chorus, we realize that both Taylor Swift and the ex-boyfriend had a mutual love over the Country singer Tim McGraw. Taylor later revealed that the song in question in the lyrics was “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’,” which is her favorite song by Tim McGraw. This song was released in 2004. Taylor reveals that they danced all night long to this song.
Taylor Swift wants this ex-boyfriend to remember her in the fondest memories they had together–listening to Tim McGraw songs, dancing in the moonlight, kissing in his Chevy truck by the road, and her head on his chest.
Watch Taylor Swift Perform “Tim McGraw” Live
The month of September usually marks the end of Summer in many countries. With this seasonal change, came the end of Taylor’s relationship with her high school boyfriend. She recalls herself being teary-eyed and broken-hearted, and glad that he did not see her like that. For one, she would not want him to see her like that, and also, she would not want him to know how much it hurt to end their relationship.
Taylor Swift also reveals that she wrote him a letter three summers back but never gave it to him. Maybe the letter confessed her feelings to take this relationship to the next level?
Looking back at it all, Taylor Swift cannot help but feel somewhat bittersweet about the whole experience. She loved and lost, which is widely claimed to be better than being not loved at all.
In these lyrics, a big mystery of the song is revealed. Taylor recalls being back in Georgia and being in the street of his house. She musters the courage to walk to his doorstep and leaves him a letter–the same letter that was tucked underneath her bed from several summers back. The letter starts to read: “When you think Tim McGraw…”
The letter she never gave her boyfriend was this song which she penned during the first year of high school. Taylor Swift foresaw the tragic and obvious ending to this relationship and penned it down as a song. But she never had the courage, nor wanted to show this letter/song to her boyfriend. But she was right all along. It came to the tragic ending which she dreaded when they first started dating…
The outro to the song is the first three lines of the first verse of the song. However, now that all the cards are on the table, these lines hit differently.
In the first verse, this dialogue between Taylor Swift and her boyfriend seemed romantic and her reply “That’s a lie” seemed playful and innocent. However, in the aftermath of the story, the same “That’s a lie” can be thought of as Taylor realizing that the relationship would still come to a halt despite his sweet whispers.
Taylor Swift may have penned this song while she was in high school, but it portrays a much more mature songwriting and storytelling skill of her.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.