For the lyrics see Today Was A Fairytale (lyrics)

"Today Was a Fairytale" is a country pop song performed by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. The song was written by Swift and produced by Nathan Chapman with Swift's help. It was released on January 19, 2010 by Big Machine Records as a promotional single from the corresponding soundtrack for the 2010 film Valentine's Day, which she acted in. Swift had previously written the song and offered it to producers for the film's soundtrack. Musically, "Today Was a Fairytale" is pop-influenced and, lyrically, speaks of a magical date.

It received generally positive reception from contemporary critics, some who deemed it the best song on the soundtrack, and enjoyed commercial success by reaching the top ten in three countries. In Canada, "Today Was a Fairytale" became Swift's first number-one song. The song peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and therefore tied for her highest-charting song in the United States. Swift promoted "Today Was a Fairytale" at several venues and included it on a revised set list for the continuation of her Fearless Tour in 2010.


Swift solely penned "Today Was Fairytale" in the summer of 2008 and stored it away for a while.[1] After being cast as Felicia Miller on Valentine's Day, Swift offered the song to the film producers for the soundtrack as she did not believe it fit on her upcoming album. "When this movie opportunity came about, I reached back into my pocket and thought, 'I think this is perfect for the soundtrack. I hope it's perfect for the soundtrack'", Swift told The Tennessean.[1] "Today Was a Fairytale" was released as a promotional single from the Valentine's Day soundtrack on June 19, 2010, exclusively through the iTunes Store.[2]


"Today Was a Fairytale" is a pop song with a length of four minutes and two seconds.[3] It is set in common time and has a ballad tempo of 80 beats per minute. It is written in the key of G major and Swift's vocals span two octaves, from D3 to C5.[4] It follows the chord progression G–C–Em–D.[4] Jody Rosen and Jonas Weiner of Slate magazine noted that although Swift typically sings country pop, "with the possible exception of that woodsy acoustic guitar" in the song's introduction "Today Was a Fairytale" displays no aspects of country music in either its instrumentation or vocals. "Taylor's vowels have gotten flattened and Yankee-ified," commented Rosen, though Weiner pointed out that Swift's pop-heavy music was the primary reason for her success.[5] Melanie Bertoldi of Billboard believed Swift's vocals displayed a newfound maturity.[6]

The song's lyrics describe a magical date.[7] Like many of Swift's songs, the lyrics invoke princess imagery with lines such as "Today was a fairytale/ You were the prince/ I used to be a damsel in distress."[5] Bertoldi said the lyrics were "driven more by sweeping emotion than [...] specific, youth-focused imagery".[6] Occasionally, Swift does interrupt the fairytale construct with modern day, real world details like the time her date arrives or the color of his shirt.[5]

Critical reception

The song received generally positive reviews from contemporary critics. Melanie Bertoldi of Billboard compared the song's lyrics to those of Swift's previous singles "You Belong with Me" and "Fifteen"; she was convinced that "Today Was a Fairytale" would "help [Swift] reach an even broader audience."[6] Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly did not see a departure from Swift, recalling lyrics to be familiar of those of "Love Story" and "You Belong with Me". However, she ended with "What do we know? The song sounds Taylor-made (oh, the wit!) for her fans, and we’re just happy she’s still sweet, neat, and [...] age-appropriate."[8] An uncredited review from People magazine said the track led the Valentine's Day soundtrack.[9] Brittany Talarico of British magazine OK! called the song's refrains "catchy" and described the overall feel as "sweet."[10] Andrew Leahey of Allmusic said that there was special attention placed on Swift's tracks on the soundtrack, particularly on the song.[11] Jody Rosen of Slate magazine declared "Today Was a Fairytale" "track of the week", highlighting its imagery that, according to her, "sharpen the focus instead of softening it."[5] Jonah Weiner, also of Slate, wrote, "This song is a funny mix: some of her tightest songwriting to date, but some of her laziest lyrics." He mentioned that in the lyrics, Swift mainly "invoke[d] the cliché and hope[d] it [did] her heavy lifting for her."[5]

Chart performance

On the week ending February 6, 2010, "Today Was a Fairytale" debuted at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and therefore equaled her highest-peaking song on the chart, "You Belong with Me", from August 2009.[12] This was due to the sales of 325,000 digital downloads, which broke the record for largest first-week download sales by a female artist previously set by Britney Spears' "Womanizer".[12] In the succeeding week, the song descended to number twenty-two on the Billboard Hot 100.[13] It spent a total of fifteen weeks upon the chart. In the United States, "Today Was a Fairytale" also peaked at number twenty-one on the Adult Contemporary Chart, number forty-one on the Hot Country Songs Chart, and number twenty on the Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs) Chart.[14] It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the sales of over one million downloads.[15] On the week ending February 20, 2010, "Today Was a Fairytale" became Swift's first and only number-one on the Canadian Hot 100, a peak it maintained for one week.[14][16]

The song debuted at number six on the Australian Singles Chart on the week ending February 21, 2010. It ascended to its peak position at number three in the following week. The song spent twelve weeks upon the chart before completely falling off on the week ending May 9, 2010.[17] "Today Was a Fairytale" was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for the sales of 70,000 downloads.[18] In New Zealand, "Today Was a Fairytale" debuted at number thirty-seven, and peaked at number twenty-nine.[19] The song peaked at number sixty-three on the Japan Hot 100.[14] In Europe, "Today Was a Fairytale" charted at number forty-one in Ireland,[20] and number fifty-seven in the United Kingdom.[21]

Live performances

Swift performed a medley, which included the song, at the 52nd Grammy Awards. Wearing casual white blouse and black skinny jeans, Swift performed "Today Was a Fairytale", where she took center stage with a wooden acoustic guitar strapped to her shoulder. After performing the track, she announced. "It's a fairly tale and an honor to share the stage with Stevie Nicks". Following, the two performed a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" (1976). Swift and Nicks then jumped into the third and final part in her medley, a twangy version of "You Belong with Me".[22] Eric Ditzian of MTV News was disappointed at Swift's and Nicks' harmonies, but said the two "made for a compelling twosome".[22] The performance followed much backlash in regards to Swift's off key singing,[23] which caused Scott Borchetta, CEO of Big Machine Records, to issue a statement defending the performance.[24]

Swift annexed "Today Was a Fairytale" to a revised set list for the continuation of her Fearless Tour in 2010. During the performances, which was the penultimate of each concert, Swift was usually costumed in a black cocktail dress with a v-neck cut and black, leather boots.[25][26] She performed with a rhinestoned acoustic guitar center-stage as a forest was projected on the stage; concluding the performance, clips from Valentine's Day were depicted and, following its completion, confetti dropped from the ceiling.[25][26] At the May 22, 2010 concert at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada, Jane Stevenson of The Toronto Sun said that Swift wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey "didn't hurt [her] popularity either in this hockey-mad town."[27] Molly Trust of Billboard noted the performance at the tour's final concert on June 5, 2010 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts "sported a touch of a hometown feel, as Swift literally and figuratively played to the crowd in a Patriots shirt."[28]

Track listing

  • Digital Download
  1. "Today Was a Fairytale" (Album Version) — 4:02

Charts, sales, and procession


Chart (2010) Peak
Australian Singles Chart[17] 3
Canadian Hot 100[14] 1
Japan Hot 100[14] 63
Irish Singles Chart[20] 41
New Zealand Singles Chart[19] 29
UK Singles Chart[21] 57
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[14] 2
U.S. Adult Contemporary[14] 21
U.S. Hot Country Songs[14] 41
U.S. Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs)[14] 20


Country Certification
(sales thresholds)
Australia Platinum[18]
United States Platinum[15]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cooper, Peter (January 21, 2010). "Taylor Swift earns swift success with 'Today Was A Fairytale'". The Tennessean. Gannett Company. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
  2. "Today Was a Fairytale - Single". iTunes Store. Apple, Inc. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
  3. "allmusic {{{Valentine's Day: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack > Overview}}}". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Digital sheet music - Taylor Swift - Today Was a Fairytale". Alfred Publishing.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Weiner, Jonah; Jody Rosen (January 28, 2010). "Track of the Week: Taylor Swift, "Today Was a Fairytale"". Slate. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Bertoldi, Melanie (February 5, 2010). "Taylor Swift, "Today Was a Fairytale"". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
  7. Vena, Jocelyn (December 28, 2009). "New Taylor Swift Song Included In 'Valentine's Day' Featurette". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  8. Greenblatt, Leah (January 19, 2010). "New Taylor Swift song, 'Today Was a Fairytale': Listen here". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  9. "FIRST LISTEN: Like Taylor Swift? Stream the Valentine's Day Soundtrack!". People. Time Warner. February 1, 2010.,,20340310,00.html. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  10. Talarico, Brittany. "Taylor Swift Serenades Sweethearts on ‘Valentine’s Day’ Soundtrack". OK!. Northern & Shell. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  11. Leahy, Andrew. "allmusic {{{Valentine's Day: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack > Review}}}". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Pietroluongo, Silvio (January 26, 2010). "Taylor Swift Swipes Female Download Record; Haiti Tracks Chart". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  13. Trust, Gary (February 5, 2010). "Ask Billboard: Miley's New Movie Music". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 "Today Was a Fairytale". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "RIAA – Gold & Platinum: "Taylor Swift albums"". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
  16. "Taylor Swift Album & Song Chart History: "Canadian Hot 100"". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Taylor Swift - Today Was a Fairytale (Song)". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Taylor Swift - Today Was a Fairytale (Song)". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Discography Taylor Swift". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Chart Stats - Taylor Swift - Today Was a Fairytale". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Ditzian, Eric (January 31, 2010). "Taylor Swift Shares The Stage With Stevie Nicks At The Grammys". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  23. Montgomery, James (February 3, 2010). "Taylor Swift Backlash: Readers Weigh In". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  24. Vena, Jocelyn (February 3, 2010). "Taylor Swift's Grammy Performance Defended By Label CEO". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  25. 25.0 25.1 "Taylor Swift - Today Was a Fairytale". CMT. Viacom. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  26. 26.0 26.1 McDonnel, Brandy (April 1, 2010). "Concert review: Taylor Swift brings "Fearless" show to Ford Center". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma Publishing Company. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  27. Stevenson, Jane (May 22, 2010). "Taylor Swift concert a fairytale for fans". The Toronto Sun. Sun Media. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  28. Trust, Molly (June 8, 2010). "Taylor Swift / June 5, 2010 / Foxboro, Mass". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
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