Taylor Swift pulls exactly zero punches on the new urgent, clear-eyed song “Only The Young,” from her just-released Netflix documentary, Miss Americana. The song, out today (Jan. 31) along with the doc, was written and produced by the singer and Joel Little (Lorde, Sam Smith) and it finds Swift giving voice to her disillusionment about our stuck society.
“They aren’t gonna help us/ Too busy helping themselves/ They aren’t gonna change this/ We gotta do it ourselves/ They think that it’s over/ But it’s just begun,” she sings over the song’s spare, ominious beat and backing vocals from what sounds like a children’s choir.
It’s a sad concession and a defiant warning to the older generation that their greed and failure to act has given rise to a youth movement determined to turn the page.
“Only one thing can save us/ Only the young (only the young)/ Only the young (only the young),” she sings in a near whisper, her voice slowly morphing from a hint of resignation to steely-eyed resolve.
Swift has said the song was inspired by her experience of speaking out in the 2018 midterm elections, where she endorsed several Democratic candidates in her home state of Tennessee. In the doc, she explains to Little that despite the dark lyrics about students running in fear from a school shooting (“You go to clas scared/ Wondering where the best hiding spot would be,” the message she wants to send to the nearly four million Americans who will turn 18 before the next election is, “don’t lose hope.”
Listen to “Only the Young” below.