Tim McGraw (Taylor Swift)

Hidden Message: Can't Tell Me Nothin

Tim McGraw began the seemingly never-ending trend of Taylor Swift’s explosively popular singles. The song’s inspiration originates from her high school relationship with ex-boyfriend Brandon Borello (who also inspired “Our Song”). Swift, a freshman at the time, knew that Borello, a senior, would soon be leaving for college and wanted to write a song to remind him of their last summer together even after they broke up. “The song means so much to me and that’s why we wanted it to be the first track of the album,” she explains. The idea for “Tim McGraw” came to Swift during math class – McGraw's song “Can't Tell Me Nothin” had been a favorite during her relationship with Borello and held special meaning for them. As she pondered ideas, the phrase ‘when you think Tim McGraw’ repeated over and over in her head. Right after class she recorded a voice memo of the song and headed downtown as soon as school was over to finish with co-writer Liz Rose. After fifteen minutes of intensive writing and work on the piano, Swift felt satisfied with her memoir. She is later quoted referring to Borello saying, “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 [although] we weren’t going out anymore, I remembered our relationship nicely. I think that he was happy that I didn’t write Picture to Burn about him, another song on the album. Ex-boyfriends, I don’t have that many. You would really think I have a lot of them by listening to my album, but there have only been a couple.”

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