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a black and white photo of Taylor Swift wearing a white shirt and looking over her shoulder.

What is “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me” About? Taylor Swift Explains

Taylor Swift is explaining the meaning behind some of the songs on her new album The Tortured Poets Department, including “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?”

In a special commentary titled Taylor Swift: Track By Track shared through Amazon Music, the superstar spoke about how the song is a reflection of how she feels about the impact of fame and the scrutiny that comes with it:

“So, being in the public eye since I was a young teenager, there’s a lot that that does to your perception of the world, your perception of yourself. The idea that the world has this sense of ownership and not just a right but a responsibility to judge you and critique you and to weigh in.  You know, that can really toy with you.”

She continues,”‘Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?’ was a song I wrote, alone sitting at the piano in one of those moment where I felt sort of bitter about just all the things we do to our artists as our society and as a culture. There’s a lot about this particular concept on The Tortured Poets Department. What do we do to our writers, and our artists and our creatives? We put them through hell. We watch what they create, then we judge it. We love to watch artists in pain, often to the point where I think sometimes as a society we provoke that pain and we just watch what happens.”


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Taylor goes on explain why she uses metaphors in the song about feeling like she in the “circus” or a “witch in a haunted house”:

“Those are some ways that I feel sometimes when I’m not able to kind of right the ship and cope with my normal coping mechanisms. So this song was just a very, very true way that I feel sometimes. And it’s always good when you can be honest about those things.”

In the Track by Track commentary, Taylor also covers the backgrounds to “Fortnight”, “Florida!!!”, “My Boy Only Breaks His Favourite Toys” and “Clara Bow”. You can check it out at Amazon Music.

(Feature Image Credit: Beth Garrabrant/StokedPR)

Nehal is an award-winning news presenter, author of "A Kids Book About Kindness Online" and founder of CelebrityKind. She has dedicated her career to creating connected and healthy spaces in the media. When she's not writing, you'll find Nehal hanging with family, dancing to Beyoncé, interpreting Taylor Swift lyrics or watching old eps of Oprah.