Taylor Swift’s Arm Lyrics From the 2011 Speak Now Tour – Full List
Only Taylor Swift knows what truly inspires the lyrics that she writes on her arm each night on the 2011 Speak Now Tour, but given the singer's mischievous habit of slipping encoded details of her personal life into her music, it's not a stretch to suggest Swift's left arm is speaking to someone or something every time she takes the stage.Beginning with her May 21 open rehearsal show in Nashville, Swift has been writing lyrics on her arm at each tour date, and we've been keeping track of her Sharpie stylings. What's followed has been quite the narrative of heartbreak and lovestruck hope. Is she trying to work through a painful relationship on the Speak Now Tour, or just picking powerful lyrics from some of her favorite artists and songwriters? You decide, and check back here for updates as the tour goes on.
Taylor Swift chose a lyric from her good friend and fellow singer Selena Gomez to kick off the 2011 Speak Now Tour. 'Who Says' is a confidence booster to pop fans, and perhaps to Swift, as she was no doubting fighting butterflies as she prepared to embark on another massive headlining tour.
While this show was one week after the opener in Nashville, Taylor Swift chose another lyric meant to swallow self-pity, boost self-esteem and keep it together. Swift has proven throughout this tour that she favors lyrics that address and rise above personal vulnerabilities.
Yikes! What the heck happened while Taylor Swift was in Omaha? She would later cover this song (as well as Justin Bieber's 'Baby') during a tour stop in Toronto. It's certainly not a stretch to compare Swift and Morissette, as both write songs from the edge of their emotions. Perhaps Swift was only paying tribute to a hero.
Like her tribute to Alanis Morissette the night before, Taylor Swift could have just been paying homage to a woman she admires in choosing to write a Faith Hill lyric on her arm. However, it's difficult to ignore back-to-back breakup lyrics. Is someone else becoming the subject of a future song?
In the interest of fair journalism, we should consider alternatives to the story Taylor Swift seems to be telling on her left arm. Perhaps a friend was heartbroken. Maybe the crowds on this tour weren't receptive? Not likely. Could she just be toying with us? Either way, 'American Girl' is also featured on her pre-show playlist, so she's clearly a fan of the song.
Once again, Taylor Swift drew inspiration from an artist that does jaded as well as anyone. To date, Swift has not covered this song at any of her stops on the Speak Now Tour, though she did sing the Dixie Chicks' 'Cowboy Take Me Away' at one of her four shows in Newark, N.J. at a later stop on the tour.
Swift proved the diversity of her iPod throughout this tour. Kearney is a Nashville based singer-songwriter, but most of his success has been on the Adult Top 40 chart. His inclusion indicates that the country singer will not limit her search for inspiration to get her through difficult times.
As Taylor Swift began her third week of the Speak Now Tour, the lyrics on her left arm began feeling more hopeful. If it was indeed heartbreak that struck some time around Omaha, then she reached the acceptance stage of the healing process and found songs to ride forward upon by Columbus.
Taylor Swift's Speak Now Tour has dropped the castle scenery from previous sets, but it still plays into a fantasy that the singer acts out during the course of the evening. If this line from 'Fireflies' doesn't send a personal message, it at least fits well into that imagery.
Taylor Swift has been known to sprinkle Eminem songs into her set, so there's no doubting her familiarity with this Detroit-born rapper. It's fairly easy to find video of Swift performing this song from as far back as 2007.
Taylor Swift could be speaking to the city of Nashville with this lyric, as she is somewhat of the Music City's princess. If this is the case, it would indicate forever gratitude to the place that first made her a star. This was Swift's CMA Music Festival performance, but Sugarland was not on the lineup.
This lyric was no doubt a tip of the cap to the night's opening act. Taylor Swift must really be a fan of the song, though, as she hasn't repeated the tribute for subsequent openers, aside from tour mainstays Needtobreathe in Knoxville.
In 2009, this song from Australian rockers the Temper Trap appeared in the film '(500) Days of Summer' starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It packs plenty of melodrama into the otherwise simple lyric, and like many great Taylor Swift songs, says plenty without speaking too much.
It's unlikely Wyomissing, Pa. has a venue big enough to support 20,000 Taylor Swift fans, so the singer compromises by calling Pittsburgh her homecoming. Technically, she grew up much closer to Philadelphia, so perhaps she'll reprise the lyric next time she hits the city.
Neil Young was a member of Buffalo Springfield, but it's doubtful that's why Taylor Swift chose this lyric at this tour stop. She could be speaking to the same person who seemed to break her heart at the beginning of the tour. Many of the next few lyrical tributes seem to indicate she's moved out of the eye of her emotional storm.
Taylor Swift grabs lyrics from just about every genre, but is always careful to include music from the style that made her famous. When she does, it's a nice peek at the list of artists and songs on country radio that she finds inspiring.
Foxboro is just outside of Boston, making this left-arm lyric somewhat obvious. On the other hand, Augustana aren't even from Boston -- they're a rock band from San Diego.
The previous night's show in Foxboro proved Taylor Swift's mettle. She pressed on despite a driving rain. Taste of Country believes this lyric may have been in appreciation of that storm.
This album cut from Ingrid Michaelson's 2006 'Girls and Boys' album again shows that Taylor Swift is digging deep to find great music. Although many of this folk singer's songs have been featured on television shows, she's not exactly a radio mainstay. The lyric doesn't make any connection to the venue, leaving one to guess it's another one of her personal messages to someone.
The Christian rock band from South Carolina have opened every date of Taylor Swift's Speak Now Tour, and in Knoxville she said thank you by inking their lyric on her arm. Could she also be giving fair warning to someone?
This deep cut from Bruce Springsteen's 'Tunnel of Love' album shows the singer was paying attention when Mr. and Mrs. Swift were spinning records (or flipping cassettes) at home in Pennsylvania. It could also describe a homesick or still heartbroken 21-year-old, just back from a bout with bronchitis.
This song from Canadian rocker Feist became a hit after airing on a commercial for the iPod in 2007. Swift ties geography into her arm lyrics on occasion, and there's no doubt she's aware, if not a big fan of, this singer.
At this point it's been almost 50 days since Taylor Swift's first forlorn lyric tattoo, and nothing of this suggested breakup has made the news, blogs or Twitter fodder. Could it be that the singer is simply drawing lyrics from songs she likes but has no connection to? If so, then why choose mostly melancholy records?
There were plenty of New Yorkers at each of Taylor Swift's four New Jersey shows, and they no doubt appreciated her showing some love to an artist from their state. Swift consistently shows appreciation for well-written songs, no matter what her motivation is.
A remorseful and bitter song, if there ever was one. Taylor Swift again proves she's a virtual Wikipedia of song lyrics. Many may know this country folk-rocker, but how many can pull up his lyrics when the emotion calls for it?
Another message, or just a tribute to one of her favorite rock bands? If it wasn't Taylor Swift, the theme wouldn't be as obvious, but for a singer who wears her emotions on her sleeves this could be much more literal than one would believe.
This lyric from a song on Mindy Smith's most recent album could indicate that Swift has plenty of feeling left for somebody out there. Or she could just be simply trying to "leave alone" the bronchitis that sidelined her for a week earlier this month.
Taylor Swift is good friends with Hayley Williams of Paramore, and is a big fan of the rock band's music. It's no surprise to see her quoting a friend's record, and as the other arm posts have revealed, she enjoys a good sad song regardless of whether she's sharing stories from her personal life or not.
This song is rumored to written about Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers parents, which brings up an interesting - albeit unlikely - supposition about Swift's encrypted messages. What if she's just ticked off at her mom and dad? Her mom is around all the time, and there's no doubt that like any teenager/young-adult she's had disagreements with both of them. Venting via her left arm would be a perfectly natural young-person thing to do.
Arthur is from Akron, Ohio, which makes this a likely geographical connection versus a personal statement. Although she could be trying to impress the singer/songwriter by showing her knowledge of his early works.
Wouldn't it be especially cruel if Taylor began and abruptly ended a relationship with someone on tour with her? There is no evidence that this is the case, but one can envision this poor guy having to read he left arm every single night. This Keith Urban lyrics sounds to be continuing the narrative most sentences on her arm have built since late May.
Swift is either quoting politician Robert F. Kennedy or Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Kennedy was actually quoting Shaw, but given that Swift was in Washington D.C., we tend to believe she was paying tribute to the late politician and brother to Senator Ted Kennedy and President John Kennedy. It's the first time on this tour an arm quote has come from somewhere other than a song lyric.
Swift chose lyrics from Montgomery Gentry's 'My Town' for her show in Pittsburgh, although her hometown of Wyomissing is much closer to Philadelphia. As expected, the singer finds a way to pay tribute to the city she grew up living and breathing with this classic Elton John lyric.
It's rumored that Patty Griffin wrote this song about the tragic life of Christina Onassis. It is a jaded love song if there ever was one. Other lyrics include "If you had the real thing how would you tell / Liars can say it just as well," and "A hundred love letters and none of them true." Does Taylor Swift simply have an attraction to fatal love songs, or is she truly hurting herself? We'll likely have to wait until the next album to find out for sure.
Swift was 10-years-old when this song was released in 2000. It's a different style of lyric than others she's inked on her left arm during the Speak Now Tour. While a few have been geographically linked, most have been angry or remorseful or reflected scorn or heartbreak. The singer's music can be equally inspiring, so it's good to see her thinking positive thoughts once again.
Ryan Adams is one of the few singer-songwriters able to evoke pathos as effortlessly as Swift. There may not be a better lyric to sum up what we know about Swift's love life. It does seem like she's often the benefactor of crude jerkery.
Swift chooses another song about breaking up, or being broken up with or just general heartache. Since early June, the majority of her chosen lyrics have been of this brand. Another theory -- aside from the breakup theory expressed repeatedly throughout this list -- is that by finding a place of great sadness before a show begins, Swift can properly tell the stories within her songs. She begins low, so she can end high. Hey, it's just a theory.
Edmonton is a long ways away from the southern country-rocker's homestate of Florida, so we can rule out some sort of geographical connection. This arm lyric stands out. Swift had mostly chosen singer-songwriters to decorate her left arm with, and when she did move to the rock genre (the Van Zant brothers are individually huge names in classic rock), she chose people like Bruce Springsteen. The Van Zants? Well, the 21-year-old singer has no doubt proven to be well-rounded. This inspirational lyric fits in nicely with some of her more uplifting Sharpie stylings.
Swift first quoted Kearney in early June using the "I guess we're all one phone call from our knees" lyric from his 'Closer to Love' song. Perhaps this song could be the second bookend to an emotionally difficult time in her life. Her chosen arm lyrics have been more optimistic as of late -- far more so than those dark days in early June.
Not including the George Bernard Shaw quote, this is the oldest lyric Swift has drawn on her left arm. The Beach Boys sing about a lover learning to trust again. Could Swift be trying to learn the same thing? The more interesting question is: How did she become a fan of the Beach Boys?
Mitchell's song, another geocentric choice, mixes politics and social awareness but at the end is just a love song for the state Swift is spending a week or so visiting. She has a home in L.A., so like Mitchell, there's no doubt she feels more and more at home with each return visit.
Swift is quoting Hugh Grant's character from this 2003 movie. It's the first time she's quoted a movie on tour. Aside from one historical quote she's stuck to song lyrics. We're seeing a more optimistic Taylor Swift as of late. Perhaps her broken heart has healed. Or maybe this movie was just on HBO the night before.
There is no evidence that Swift now counts Minaj amongst her new B-F-F's, but she doesn't seem very chummy with artists from the pop side of the radio lately so perhaps she's doing her friend a solid. The song is about two kids who share a dream, grow up, and realize they've achieved it together. Yet another uplifting lyric. Perhaps it's just the sweet California air, but Swift's left arm seems happier these days.
There have been reports that Joe Jonas and Taylor Swift are once again speaking/friends/lovers. The seriousness of their relationship depends on what sources you believe, but all this talk could have led Swift to let her former flame know her arms are open by penning this lyric on her left arm.
While Green Day is from California, it's somewhat of a stretch to call them a San Jose band so we're going to rule out a geographical arm-lyric. Green Day lead singer says he wrote this song after a difficult break up with a girl who was moving to Ecuador. He was trying to make peace with the separation. Perhaps Swift is now trying at that stage with the guy we think she split with in June.
Yet another song about saying Good-bye to lover. "You looked at me like no one else / But sometimes love just doesn't seem to conquer all / We search for someone else to blame / But sometimes things can't stay the same," the Dixie Chicks sing. See above to catch up on the potential boy-drama in Swift's life this summer.
Three songs in a row about getting over an ex. Swift is either hinting about her personal life or she's stuck in a 'Friends' marathon watching Rachel and Ross break up, get back together, break up, get back together etc...
Swift throws a curveball in the narrative. This song is about a troubled relationship, but the chorus goes, "No one's gonna love you more than I do." So who's she talking to? If it's a reference to Joe Jonas (rumors are swirling that they're getting "friendly" again) than things have really heated up quickly.
Andrew's song is a kiss-off to a guy that didn't appreciate her. Swift certainly has a few targets to fire that sort of song at, but quite frankly we're not sure which one is on her mind. Is it the guy from early June or have things with Joe Jonas took a drastic turn for the worse? Maybe she's just messing with the media?
It's unfortunate Swift was in Canada on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. She played this song for her Vancouver audience, but the song didn't have nearly as much influence on Canadian fans as it would have American. It was still a nice thought, and an obvious choice for her left arm. For the record, Swift was in fifth grade, at school "When the World Stopped Turning."
From time to time one figures Swift ignores any personal drama happening in her life and chooses a song to scribble down her left arm just because it's a dang good song. This might be one of those occasions. Of course, she could also be giving advice to potential beau.
This song is similar to the one Swift penned on her arm the previous night in that both suggest unrestrained love for someone or something. The theme has us thinking there is indeed something from her private life that ties these two ideas together. It's also not lost that three of the four Arm Lyrics from Nashville shows on this tour have been from country songs. The other was from Selena Gomez, but we'll allow the idea that this project wasn't fully formed on the Speak Now tour's first night.
McCarley's song from her 2009 album of the same name was used during an episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' and in the movie 'He's Just Not That Into You.' While we can't say that is how Swift learned of the Texas born artist -- she's proved to be quite an encyclopedia of music -- it's not an unreasonable assumption. While this may fit with the theme Swift has crafted on this tour, it seems more likely she just picked a good lyric from a great song.
Most likely this is a geographical tribute. This song from 2002 was chosen as the official rock song of Oklahoma, but we're still giving Swift tons of credit for A) knowing this fact and B) bringing attention to a quirky rock band that's been around for almost 30 years but never broke the mainstream seal. The Flaming Lips are from Oklahoma City, Okla.
This song begins with, "I miss you most in the morning / Most every morning / I wake up thinking / I could call / I could come visit / I could come running / We could relive it." Yep, Taylor Swift if feeling blue again. Boy troubles maybe, or perhaps she's longing for her dad or a pet. Once again the singer reaches back for an artist flying way under the radar. Her iPod must be full of unheard of gems like this.
This is one of the longest arm lyrics yet. She must have written very, very small. As far as content, the Coldplay song could be a theme for Swift. It's about a girl with romantic dreams who keeps getting her heart broken by various people.
This is the second Jimmy Eat World lyric Swift has scribbled down her arm. This 2002 hit was the band's biggest, and it's mostly words of encouragment to a girl who's down on her luck. They actually wrote it about their professional situation at the time, but Swift certainly isn't having troubles there, so we assume that once again her heart is hurting.
This is a geographical nod to the Georgia based country rockers. It's interesting that she chose 'Free' over 'Chicken Fried' or even 'Toes.' Both were bigger hits that seem to fall more in line with her pop-country stylings. 'Free' isn't melancholy, but it's definitely more emotional than some of the band's other hits.
T.I. surprised Swift's audience by making a cameo on Oct. 2. With the country singer singing Rhianna's parts, he performed this hit from 2008. For her part, Swift performed the song like she wrote it. Previously, Swift had invited hip-hop star Usher on stage with her in Atlanta.
Another song about a relationship that has run its course. Swift continues with the trend of choosing songs about either heartbreak, getting over a lover or being spurned by a lover.
This song is Shawn Colvin's biggest hit, winning a Grammy in 1998. The lyrics are destructive, to say the least. Colvin talks about burning a house down. Thus far no news has broke about any of Swift's homes burning down.
This is a geographic tribute to Henley as he was born in Gilmer, Texas. More likely Swift chose the song because of the lyrical content. "I thought i knew what love was what did i know / Those days are gone for ever / I should just let them go," he sings. Who ever hurt Swift four months ago really scarred her.
An unusually happy song from Death Cab For Cutie, and an unusually optimistic choice for an arm lyric by Taylor Swift. It's nice to think that perhaps the cloudy days of heartbreak have given way to a little sunshine. We'll find for sure in three days.
It's not as plucky as the Death Cab song but it's in the right direction. This is a more introspective Jimmy Eat World song. Taylor seems to be considering life's big questions while hoping there's an angel for her afterall. This is the third Jimmy Eat World song Swift has scrolled on her arm during the Speak Now tour.
Holy smokes! Three posts in a row that are not centered on heartache. Swift chose a song from Canadian country group Doc Walker. It's a song of independence, choosing your own path and taking responsibility for the choices you make. We'll find out if the sunshine lasts on Oct. 20 in San Diego.
It's difficult to offer a guess as to what Taylor Swift was thinking when she scribbled this on her arm before the San Diego show. The song was a huge hit for alt-rockers MGMT in 2008. The message has to do with controlling impulses or being told to control impulses. Is someone treating Swift like a child?
This song is about saying thank you to someone who you're no longer able to say thank you to. A literal interpretation would push one to theorize that someone close to Swift passed away. However one could also interpret the lyric as someone who she can't talk to any longer is in need of gratitude. Either way, Swift is missing someone close to her if one believes she chooses arm lyrics for personal reason. She could just draw them in on a whim.
It's the third time in five nights Swift has chosen Jimmy Eat World to decorate her arm, and it's the second time during the Speak Now tour she's chosen 'The Middle.' The band is from Mesa, Ariz., so Swift is no doubt paying tribute to the boys' hometown. Alas, it's another geographical reference. However it's clear Swift is a huge fan of the alt-rock band.
This Grammy nominated hit from 2006 was actually about the war in Iraq. Just days before this show President Obama announced all American troops were leaving Iraq. This explanation is such a variant from the normal Swift arm-lyric, that it almost sounds unbelievable. Perhaps the 21-year-old is more worldly than she's ever been give credit for.
Perhaps more interesting than the lyric Swift chose for her arm are the words that follow in Colvin's song. "I can't believe a month ago / I was alone, I didn't know you / I hadn't seen or heard you're name / And even now, I'm so amazed / It's like a dream, It's like a rainbow, it's like the rain." It's been quite awhile since Swift swam in self-pity with her arm lyric. Perhaps there is a new ray of sunshine in her life.
The title of this song is misleading because it's all about chasing, and rarely finding happiness. What an up-and-down world Swift lives in. One hopes she's just choosing songs she likes and not actually picking the songs that best represent what she is going through. That would be exhausting.
Many think this song is about death, which would be a perfect topic for the night before Halloween. However this song isn't necessarily spooky. It seems more likely Swift just has a fondness for this great songwriter. She's chosen lyrics from Griffin before, and picked a beautiful message to put on her arm before this show. Another lyric earlier this month was also about death or losing someone, so it's possible she's grieving.
Other lyrics shine more light on why Swift may have chosen this classic Joni Mitchell song. "I've looked at love from both sides now / From give and take, and still somehow / It's love's illusions that I recall / I really don't know love at all." her left arm isn't big enough for all of that, but the message is clear. She's still a woman healing from a break up.
Swift won the CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year less than 24 hours before this show. There's no doubt that is why she is feeling good. Credit Swift for digging deep into her iPod to find a lyric that captures her spirit.
While this could be a lyric dedicated to a love she's lost and wants back or a new flame, it could also be a tribute to her new CMA trophy. It could also be a sweet ode to her new kitten Meredith. Not too many people would dedicate a hard-rock song to a kitten, but Swift is indeed unlike many people.
A very good week wrapped up for Swift in Miami, and it's possible she's viewing her good fortune at the CMA Awards as a turning point it what seems to have been a difficult year. If this is true, there's reasons for fans to be excited about the next stage in Swift's personal and professional life. She's ready to write a new chapter.
This song by singer-songwriter Meredith Godreau is about pining for someone from afar. It's a happier, more upbeat lyric -- a stark contrast to many of the melancholy messages she'd chosen prior to her wins at the CMA Awards. It's doubtful this song signifies a crush or new relationship, but it may be an indicator as to where Swift is at emotionally.
Springsteen showed up at this show in Raleigh. The classic rock legend has a daughter who attends nearby Duke University and he brought her and a few friends to the show. Before Swift went on stage Springsteen appeared backstage and strummed a few chords on the 21-year-old's acoustic. She posted a picture of the encounter on Twitter.
This is another lyric that serves as a thank you note to an artist who was nice enough to take time to appear with Swift on stage. Rucker and Swift sang 'Alright,' much to the delight of his hometown crowd.
It's the perfect song for Swift to close the Speak Now tour with. The singer has said that this song is about her band, producer and all of the fans that helped her "build this brick by brick." It's a thank you note to finish what was arguably the year's best tour.
These last two shows in New York City are the only in which Swift chose lyrics from her own song to scroll down her arm. While often the lyrics she chose felt like reactions to something happening in her personal life, it's likely she had this song in mind to close the tour for quite awhile.