Taylor Swift is arguably one of the greatest songwriters of our time. Songwriter. Writing her own songs. I emphasize this point because nearly no one in the Pop music realm does this anymore. So when listening to Taylor I always make sure to pay attention to how her songs are structured and written.
With all that out of the way, I’ve come to realize that her song “All Too Well (10 minute version)” has a lot of similarities to old school rap songs, especially Biggie Smalls’ songs. So let’s dive into it.
Biggie always had creative rhyme patterns and jumped between short phrases and long phrases, which lead to unpredictable and unique flows. A perfect example is this verse from his song “Hypotize:”
[Never lose], [never choose to], [bruise crews who]
[Do somethin’ to us], [talk go through us]
Taylor Swift does almost this same exact pattern, just in a more melodic way:
[And I was thinking on the drive down], [any time now]
[He’s gonna say it’s love], [you never called it what it was]
As you can see, they both rhyme words almost back to back, but then take a breath and finish with casual end rhymes.
But within both of these songs there are other examples of how similar these songs were written. Biggie was also known for ending one rhyme scheme and beginning the next set of rhymes within the same sentence, like here in his opening lines:
Ha, sicker than your average
Poppa twist cabbage off instinct
— — don’t think — — stink
And yet again, this parrallels Taylor Swift’s lines here:
’Til we were dead and gone and buried
Check the pulse and come back swearing it’s the same
After three months in the grave
But let’s pause for a moment for the people that read Taylor’s lyrics and think, “those words don’t rhyme though.” This is the downfall of reading what is meant to be heard. Take a look at what a slant rhyme, also called a near rhyme, is defined as.
But wait, Taylor flexes even more by doing the same rhyme scheme again, in the same song:
They say all’s well that ends well,
But I’m in a new hell every time,
You double-cross my mind.
Now to many people these lines may not be impressive at all, and possibly think this article was a waste. To that I say, check out my article “The Direct Correlation Between Modern Rap and Nursery Rhymes.”
In conclusion, all (Pop) songs have the potential to have cleverly written lyrics, it’s just a matter of the writer wanting to take the time and having the experience to do it. I love and appreciate Taylor Swift’s music and writing ability, and I’m very happy I was able to compare it to my love for Hip-Hop music.