Pop superstar turned left-wing activist Taylor Swift has revealed that her upcoming song “Only the Young” was written in response to her disappointment in the 2018 midterm elections that saw Republicans take key seats in her home state of Tennessee and released to encourage young voters to get engaged in left-wing causes.
“Only the Young” is set to be released in conjunction with the Netflix documentary Miss Americana, on January 31. The documentary provides a look into Swift’s music career, trailing the singer over the course of a few years.
The Grammy-winner also took aim at conservative politicians during the interview, describing their stances on certain policies as “sinister” and “so dark.”
Swift specifically criticized Republican politicians for their stance on policies like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
“When you’re saying that certain people can be kicked out of a restaurant because of who they love or how they identify, and these are actual policies that certain politicians vocally stand behind, and they disguise them as family values, that is sinister. So, so dark,” the singer said.
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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈
Swift said she wrote “Only the Young” in the emotional aftermath of the 2018 elections.
“I was really upset about Tennessee going the way that it did, obviously. And so I just wanted to write a song about it,” Swift told Variety.
“I didn’t know where it would end up. But I did think that it would be better for it to come out at a time that it could maybe hopefully stoke some fires politically and maybe engage younger people to form their own views, break away from the pack, and not feel like they need to vote exactly the same way that people in their town are voting.”
Variety reported that Swift’s new song is heard over the end credits of the Netflix documentary.
The song reportedly features lyrics that reference the 2018 midterms: “You did all that you could do / The game was rigged, the ref got tricked / The wrong ones think they’re right / We were outnumbered — this time.”
Taylor Swift told the trade publication that “Only the Young” probably won’t be released as a single.
“I don’t see it as a single,” Swift said. “I just see it as a song that goes with this film. I don’t see it as a ‘let’s go make a music video and try to see what this does at radio’ single.”
For years, Swift declined to talk about her political beliefs. But the singer has since become a vocal supporter of the Democrat Party, using her vast social media following to promote Democrat candidates and lash out at conservatives.
In 2018, she published a statement on Instagram in which she criticized Republican Marsha Blackburn, who would eventually win her race for the U.S. Senate.
The statement is at the center of a sequence in Miss Americana that shows Swift arguing with her father and business associates.
“For 12 years, we’ve not got involved in politics or religion,” an unnamed associate says in the documentary, according to Variety.
The singer’s father reportedly says, “I’ve read the entire [statement] and … right now, I’m terrified. I’m the guy that went out and bought armored cars.”
Despite the backlash, Swift told Variety that she wants to remain politically outspoken.
“Using my voice to try to advocate was the only choice to make. Because I’ve talked about equality and sung about it in songs … but we are at a point where human rights are being violated,” she said.