Taylor Swift Wiki
For the lyrics see You Belong with Me (lyrics)
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"You Belong with Me" is a song by Taylor Swift. The song was co-written by Swift and Liz Rose and produced by Nathan Chapman with Swift's aid. It was released on April 21, 2009, by Big Machine Records as the third single from Swift's second studio album, Fearless, after White Horse. Swift was inspired to write "You Belong with Me" after overhearing a male friend of hers arguing with his girlfriend through a phone call; she continued to develop a story line afterward. The song contains many pop music elements and its lyrics have Swift desiring an out-of-reach love interest.

Critical reception for "You Belong with Me" was middling to positive. At the 52nd Grammy Awards, the song received nominations for the Grammy Awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. "You Belong with Me" enjoyed commercial success as well; it became a top ten hit in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States. In the United States, the song became Swift's best-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 to date and Swift's second best-selling single. It managed to gain the largest crossover radio audience since Faith Hill's "Breathe" did in 2000. The single was certified triple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The song's accompanying music video was directed by Roman White. The video featured Swift portraying two characters, a nerd (the protagonist) and a popular girl (the antagonist), while American actor Lucas Till portrayed the male lead. The video's plot centers on the protagonist secretively loving the male lead, although he has a girlfriend. The video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, but during Swift's acceptance speech, rapper Kanye West interrupted, protesting in support of Beyoncé Knowles’s music video. The incident caused a reaction in the media, with most people coming to Swift's defense. The song was performed live at numerous venues, including the 2009–10 Fearless Tour, where it was the opening number. It was covered by various artists, including Butch Walker and Selena Gomez & the Scene, and parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic.


Swift became inspired to write "You Belong with Me" after she overheard a male friend of hers speaking to his girlfriend through a phone call.[1] He acted defensive as his girlfriend yelled at him, and said to her, "No, baby...I had to get off the phone really quickly... I tried to call you right back... Of course I love you. More than anything! Baby, I’m so sorry."[1] Out of the sympathy she felt towards him in the situation, Swift developed a concept for a song.[1] In a writing session with co-writer Liz Rose, Swift explained the situation along with her idea and conceived the song's opening line, "You’re on the phone with your girlfriend / she’s upset / she's going off about something that you said."[1] Together, they developed a story line, which described Swift being in love with the male friend and her having the desire for him to breakup with his current girlfriend for her.[1] Swift described the song's concept as "basically about wanting someone who is with this girl who doesn't appreciate him at all. Basically like 'girl-next-door-itis.' You like this guy who you have for your whole life, and you know him better than she does but somehow the popular girl gets the guy every time."[2] Swift recalled, "It was really fun for us to write the line, 'She wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts'."[1] "You Belong with Me" was first released as a promotional single from Fearless on November 4, 2008 as part of Countdown to Fearless, an exclusive campaign by the iTunes Store;[3] the song was then released as the third single from Fearless on April 21, 2009.[4]


"You Belong with Me" is a country pop song with a length of three minutes and fifty-two seconds.[5] According to Kate Kiefer of Paste magazine, it is "a straight-up pop song."[6] The song is set in common time and has a moderate tempo of 130 beats per minute. It is written in the key of G♭ major and Swift's vocals span two octaves, from G♭3 to D♭5. Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly felt Swift's vocals were light and twangy while the melody was "lilting".[7] It follows the chord progression G♭–D♭–A♭m-C♭.[8] The instrumentation consisted of clucking banjos alongside New Wave electric guitars.[9]

The lyrics to "You Belong with Me" alternate between narrative modes, where she speaks of herself, a male friend whom she has an unrequited crush on, and his girlfriend. Greenblatt described Swift's role as a storyteller, the song being a narrative set to music, which describes concerning about love and boys "just [being] very hard to catch".[7] Craig Rosen of The Hollywood Reporter believes "You Belong with Me"'s plot is "confessional" and regards scenarios themed with high school, while Swift "is the girl next door who's had her heart broken and takes refuge in music".[10] Lucy Davies of the BBC noted, "Swift deals in the prosaic imagery of high school boys".[11] In one verse, Swift contrasts herself with her friend's girlfriend and states, "She wears high heels, I wear sneakers / She's cheer captain, I'm on the bleachers", which Davies interpreted as the song's protagonist feeling envy towards cheerleaders, in particular, the one dating her male friend.[11] In the choruses, Swift attempts "to persuade some boy to come to his senses and submit to her every girl charms".[9]

Critical reception

A young woman with blond, curly hair looks up while being dressed in a black cocktail dress and standing on a taxi cab.

Swift performing "You Belong with Me" at rehearsals for the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

"You Belong with Me" received positive to mixed reviews from critics. For instance, Sean Dooley of About.com labeled "You Belong with Me" as one of the "best songs on Fearless",[12] while Johnny Davis of The Observer believed some parts of the song "may needle British ears", although he felt that it was better than single releases by pop singer Hilary Duff.[13] Lucy Davies of the BBC was not impressed by the song's theme being similar to those of other songs on Fearless or on her eponymous debut album, Taylor Swift.[11] She opined that "You Belong with Me"'s "lyrical palette has few colours [...] and it's repetitive".[11] Jonathan Keefe of Slant Magazine said, "'You Belong with Me' isn't her best-written song by a long shot, but it's hard to fault its construction."[14] Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone commented, "It's hard not to be won over by the guilelessness".[15]

A Times Editor review from The St. Petersburg Times also described it as sounding similar to other hits: "She hankers for a boy who either doesn't love her back or wants to ditch this small town."[16] Josh Love of The Village Voice thought "preternatural wisdom and inclusiveness" shined through the lyrics and theme of "You Belong with Me"; Love also mentioned that it was one of Fearless' "great songs".[17] Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly said Swift's vocals fit the song's melody and instrumentation, which, according to her, is "slick" and "radio-friendly".[7] Rob Sheffield of Blender magazine recommended for readers to download "You Belong with Me",[18] and Jeniffer Webb, also from About.com, predicted that the song would reach different age groups.[4] Webb said, "It continues the artist's tradition of having a little something for everyone, so it's no wonder she has such a large fanbase."[4]

Awards and nominations

At the 52nd Grammy Awards, "You Belong with Me" received nominations for three awards. The song received a nomination for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year but lost to Beyoncé Knowles' "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (2008), for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year but lost to Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" (2008), and for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance but lost to Knowles' "Halo" (2009).[19] "You Belong with Me" won Favorite Song at the 2010 Kids Choice Awards and was nominated for Song of the Year at the 45th Academy of Country Music Awards, but lost Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" (2009).[20][21]

Chart performance

Upon its release as a promotional single, on the week ending November 22, 2008, "You Belong with Me" debuted at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100 because of sales of 172,000 digital downloads, tying her with the Jonas Brothers for most top twenty debuts in 2008, a record which she later beat; the song fell from the Billboard Hot 100 in the following week.[22][23] Following its single release, the song re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number eighty-seven on the week ending May 16, 2009.[24] "You Belong with Me" moved to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 on the week ending August 15, 2009, thus making the song Swift's highest-charting effort, surpassing her previous best-charting effort "Love Story", which peaked at number four in January 2009.[25] Driven by non-country radio airplay, the song established the largest crossover radio audience since Faith Hill's "Breathe" (2000).[25] The following week, it peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.[26] The song is one of thirteen songs from Fearless charted within the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100, breaking the record for the most top forty entries from a single album.[27] It also peaked at number two on Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs) and at number-one on both Hot Country Songs and Adult Contemporary.[28][29] The single was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments exceeding two million copies.[30] As of February 2011, "You Belong with Me" has sold over 3.6 million copies in the United States, becoming Swift's second best-selling single in the country.[31] In Canada, "You Belong with Me" entered at number eighty-four and peaked at number three.[29] It was also certified double platinum by Music Canada for sales of 160,000 digital downloads.[32]

"You Belong with Me" was a success in Australia and New Zealand. On the week ending May 24, 2009, the song entered the Australian Singles Chart at number fifty.[33] On the week ending July 5, 2009, the song reached its peak on the Australian Singles Chart, at number five, a position it maintained on for three non-consecutive weeks.[33] "You Belong with Me" was placed at number eighty-eight on the decade-end Austrian Singles Chart.[34] It was certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments exceeding 140,000 copies.[35] On the week ending May 25, 2009, "You Belong with Me" debuted at number twenty-eight on the New Zealand Singles Chart and, after two weeks of ascended positions, it peaked at number five.[36] The single was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) for shipments exceeding 15,000 copies.[37]

The song debuted at number ninety-nine on the week ending July 18, 2009, on the UK Singles Chart.[38] It reached its peak on the UK Singles Chart at number thirty on the week ending September 26, 2009.[38] In Ireland, it peaked at number twelve and spent a total of six weeks on the chart.[39] In mainland Europe, "You Belong with Me" peaked at number sixty-one on the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles Chart,[29] number eleven on Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders),[40] and number thirty-two on the Danish Singles Chart.[41] "You Belong with Me" experienced similar commercial outcomes throughout the rest of Europe; it became a top forty hit in Belgium (Wallonia) and a top fifty hit in Sweden.[41]

Music video

"You Belong with Me"s accompanying music video was directed by Roman White. In the video, Swift portrays both the protagonist and antagonist, which she respectively described as "the nerd, who is pining away for this guy that she can't have" and "the popular girl."[2] Swift described the popular girl's persona as "horrible and scary and intimidating and perfect".[42] Her love interest is portrayed by American actor Lucas Till; Swift met Till while acting on the set of Hannah Montana: The Movie in April 2008. She later asked him to act in the video, as she was intrigued by his "cool look", embodying a "dreamy guy".[42] In regards to his acting on the video, Swift said, "He's absolutely perfect for the part and really fun to be around, too."[2] According to her, the video's plot is "charming"; she also said that, "the whole video, I'm just sitting there pining away, wishing I could be in her position."[42] In regards to the video's conclusion, White explained that Swift "becomes who she really is", while Swift thought it was a happy ending.[42] Swift commented, "One of my favorite things about this video is that there wasn't a standard performance scene. This video was pretty much all story line and I'm narrating it in the moment, basically narrating while all this is happening around me."[42]

The video was shot in two days between Gallatin, Tennessee and Hendersonville, Tennessee.[2] On the first day of filming, Swift used a body double in order for both Swift, as the protagonist and antagonist, to appear in one shot.[42][43] In a scene where she appeared dancing, White replaced Swift's routine with a one having no rhythm; she recalled, "It was some of the most fun I'd had in a long time, just freaking out and doing the dumbest moves."[42] On the second day, they first filmed a prom scene and, lastly, the football game, both being filmed at Pope John Paul II High School. The school supplied many students as extras, including football players, band members, cheerleaders and students for the final prom scene. When filming for a touchdown, Till was unable to catch the ball, furthering the length of the shoot.[42] "You put a lot of good solid effort in it and it looks good", Swift stated about filming.[42]

The video commences with Till arguing with his girlfriend through a phone call. As soon as Swift, as the protagonist, notices, they begin to communicate by holding up signs through their bedroom windows. Till closes his curtains, and Swift holds up a sign saying, "I love you". As the song's chorus approaches, Swift starts to sing and dance in front of a mirror, changing to different clothing multiple times. Afterward, Swift is sitting in a bench while reading a book. Till arrives and the two converse. Then, Swift, as the antagonist, arrives in a red convertible car and Till gets in it; Swift, as the antagonist, kisses him and gives a vicious look towards the protagonist. Suddenly, she is seen cheerleading at a football game while Swift's other persona is in the bleachers, performing in the school band. After scoring the winning touchdown, Till moves toward his girlfriend and finds her flirting with a teammate; meanwhile, Swift, as the protagonist, stares in amazement. Back in their bedroom windows, they again communicate through signs, Till asked Swift, as the protagonist, if she was attending prom and she responded, "no, studying". Shortly after, Swift is seen entering prom with a white dress, no longer looking like a nerd, while all her peers stare in amazement. When Till spots her, he walks towards her and Swift, as the antagonist, attempts to impede him, but he ignores her. Ending the video, Till and Swift reveal folded signs saying "I love you" and kiss.

Video reception

A young woman with blond, curly hair, in left profile, holds up an award. She is dressed in a red dress while standing on the red carpet.

Swift with her MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards.

The video premiered on May 2, 2009, on CMT.[44] Chris Ryan of MTV commented, "'You Belong With Me' was a teen rom-com wrapped up in a music video, wherein Taylor plays two roles.[45] See Dooley of About.com believed Swift worked "doubly hard", playing two roles.[46] A Times Editor review from The St. Petersburg Times compared the large glasses Swift wore to those of Clark Kent.[16] Michael Deacon of The Daily Telegraph felt the video suited the song, "in that they’re equally sappy and dull".[47]

At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, the video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video. During Swift's acceptance speech, rapper Kanye West interrupted Swift, grabbing the microphone and stating, "Yo Taylor, I'm really happy for you and I'ma let you finish, but Beyoncé [Knowles] had one of the best videos of all time", regarding her video for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)".[48] According to Jayson Rodriguez of MTV News, Knowles "looked on from the crowd, stunned".[48] Later in the evening, during her acceptance speech for winning the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year, Knowles told about her first experience winning her first Video Music Award with Destiny's Child and how much it meant to her. She then called Swift from backstage to complete her acceptance speech.[49] Numerous critics, celebrities, and fans criticized West's actions, including the President of the United States, Barack Obama, who called West a "jackass".[50] At first, West made no effort in contacting Swift, but he later issued an apology, which Swift accepted.[51] The video was nominated for Video of the Year at the 45th Academy of Country Music Awards.[21] At the 2010 CMT Music Awards, the video received nominations for the CMT Music Award for "Video of the Year" and "Female Video of the Year", but lost to Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Casanova" and Miranda Lambert's "White Liar", respectively.[52] The video was nominated for the MuchMusic Video Award for Best International Artist Video and the MuchMusic Video Award for People's Choice: Favourite International Video, but lost to Miley Cyrus' video for "Party in the U.S.A." and Adam Lambert's video for "Whataya Want From Me" at the 2010 MuchMusic Video Awards, respectively.[53]

Live performances

Swift performing "You Belong with Me" during the Fearless Tour in 2010.

Swift's first televised performance of "You Belong with Me" was at a free outdoor concert on May 29, 2009, broadcast by The Today Show.[54] Following promotion for the song, she performed it on Tonight with Jay Leno,[55] Studio 330 Sessions,[56] at the 2009 CMA Music Festival,[57] at the 2009 CMT Music Awards,[58] and at the 2009 V Festival,[59] in the summer of 2009. Swift performed "You Belong with Me" at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards on September 13, 2009, the same day in which Kanye West interrupted her acceptance speech. She began the performance in a subway station, dressed in a brown trench coat and black beanie, and continued it in a subway, taking off the trench coat and revealing a red cocktail dress. Once the subway docked at a stop, Swift completed the performance atop a yellow taxi cab.[60] Swift later performed the song on The View and Saturday Night Live.[61][62] In the fall of 2009 and winter of 2009 through 2010, Swift commenced promotion for "You Belong with Me" countries outside of the United States; she performed the song on the United Kingdom channel GMTV,[63] the Australian charity concert Sydney Sound Relief,[64] and the Japanese talk show The Sukkiri Morning Show.[65]

Swift performed a medley, which included "You Belong with Me" at the 52nd Grammy Awards. Wearing casual white blouse and black skinny jeans, Swift performed "Today Was a Fairytale" and then announced, "Its 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 then grabbed her acoustic guitar for the third and final part in her medley, jumping into a twangy version of "You Belong with Me". Nicks stood back, tapping her tambourine and nodding, every so often stepping up to the microphone to sing with Swift.[66] Eric Ditzian of MTV News was disappointed at Swift's and Nicks' harmonies, but said the two "made for a compelling twosome".[66] The performance followed much backlash in regards to Swift's off key singing,[67] which caused Scott Borchetta, CEO of Big Machine Records, to issue a statement defending the performance.[68]

"You Belong with Me" is performed as the opening number on all 2009 and 2010 dates of Swift's first headlining tour, the Fearless Tour.[10] Before Swift or the dancers entered the stage, a video played on the overhead screens; it showed various celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Faith Hill, Lucas Till, and Swift herself, sharing their definitions of the word "fearless".[69] Following the video's completion, the band and backup dancers appeared, dressed in yellow cheerleading uniforms. Swift, dressed in a white marching band uniform, then emerges from the bottom of the stage and commences singing. Swift roams around the stage singing and backup dancers perform cheerleading routines while projections of cheerleaders are shown on the stage.[69] Midway through the performance, the backup dancers removed Swift's marching band uniform to reveal a sparkly cocktail dress; she is then handed a rhinestoned acoustic guitar and finishes the performance.[69] Craig Rosen of The Hollywood Reporter believed Swift's performance of "You Belong with Me", coupled with the performance of "Should've Said No", at the May 22, 2009, concert in Los Angeles, California at the Staples Center made the show a success.[10]

The song is also performed on the Speak Now World Tour.[70][71][72]

The song was on the set list for the Red Tour.

It was also on the set list for the Reputation Stadium Tour, as part of a mashup with Style and Love Story.

Cover versions

Kidz Bop Kids recorded "You Belong with Me" for a digital single release in October 2009, which is included on the seventeenth installment of Kidz Bop.[73] In November 2009, American rock singer Butch Walker covered "You Belong with Me" for a digital single release.[74] James Christopher Monger of Allmusic said the cover was infused "with the same karaoke glee that fueled previous installments".[75] Bill Lamb of About.com described the composition as a "folksy almost honky-tonk sound" and "a bit more country than Taylor Swift's original".[76] According to Mikael Wood of Billboard, the cover's instrumentation is fueled by banjo; he claimed it was an "online success".[77] Jonathan Keefe of Slant Magazine described the cover's arrangement as "fantastic" and, to him, it "emphasized the terrific melody and structure that are the song's real selling points".[78] After hearing Walker's cover, Swift posted via her official Twitter account, "I'm losing my MIND listening to it! Blown away."[76] Band Hero for consoles features "You Belong with Me" as one of sixty-five songs from "mainstream acts".[79][80] American pop band Selena Gomez & the Scene covered "You Belong with Me" live on their Selena Gomez & the Scene: Live in Concert Tour (2009–10) and A Year Without Rain Tour (2011).[81] A parody entitled "TMZ" was included on "Weird Al" Yankovic's studio album Alpocalypse (2011).[82] A music video for the parody, directed by Bill Plympton, was filmed in October 2010, and will be included on the album's DVD.[83] The music video was released on "Weird Al"'s Vevo on June 24, 2011.[84]

Track listings

  • US Digital Download
  1. "You Belong with Me" (Album Version) – 3:52
  • 2-Track CD Single
  1. "You Belong with Me" (Album Version) – 3:52
  2. "Love Story" (Stripped) – 3:54
  • AUS / EU Promo Single
  1. "You Belong with Me" (Radio Mix) – 3:54

  • 2-Track CD Single 2
  1. "You Belong with Me" (Album Version) – 3:52
  2. "You Belong with Me" (Radio Mix) – 3:54
  • US Digital Pop Download
  1. "You Belong with Me" (Pop Mix) – 3:47

Chart and certifications


Chart (2009) Peak
Australian Singles Chart


Belgian Tip Singles Chart (Flanders)[85] 11
Belgian Tip Singles Chart (Wallonia)[86] 23
Canadian Hot 100


Danish Singles Chart


Dutch Top 100


Eurochart Hot 100 Singles


Hungarian Airplay Singles Chart


Japan Hot 100


Irish Singles Chart


New Zealand Singles Chart


Swedish Singles Chart


UK Singles Chart


US Billboard Hot 100[29] 2
US Adult Contemporary[29] 1
US Hot Country Songs[29] 1
US Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs)[29] 2

Year-end charts

Chart (2009) Position
Australian Singles Chart


Canadian Hot 100


New Zealand Singles Chart


UK Singles Chart


US Billboard Hot 100[94] 11
US Hot Country Songs[95] 13

Decade-end charts

Decade-end chart (2000s) Position
Australian Singles Chart




Country Certification
Australia 2× Platinum[35]
Canada 2× Platinum[32]
New Zealand Platinum[37]
United States 3× Platinum[30]


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Selena Gomez Covered "You Belong with Me"

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