Behind the Meaning of Taylor Swift’s “Clara Bow”

Everyone trying to make their way in music dreams of being told they are “the next big thing.” But, what happens with the next big thing comes along? That’s the aftermath Taylor Swift explores in “Clara Bow.” Uncover the meaning behind this song, below.

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[RELATED: 3 of the Best Unreleased Taylor Swift Songs You Need to Listen To]

Behind the Meaning of Taylor Swift’s “Clara Bow”

“You look like Clara Bow in this light
All your life, did you know
You’d be picked like a rose”

Swift uses the stories of three famous women to describe the feeling of being overshadowed. Similar to the idea she explores in “Nothing New,” Swift details the pain and the loss of being usurped by another, younger artist.

The first woman Swift nods to is the namesake of the song, Clara Bow. The silent film actor is largely considered the first “It Girl.” While her appearance was a sure-fire way to get a film off the ground, her life was troubled. Swift uses her paradigm to set the foundation for this song.

“You look like Stevie Nicks
In ’75, the hair and lips
Crowd goes wild at her fingertips
Half moonshine, a full eclipse”
“I’m not trying to exaggerate
But I think I might die if I made it,
Die if I made it

In the second verse of “Clara Bow,” she shifts her focus to Stevie Nicks. We could see Swift getting compared to the rock legend in her early days, looks-wise. Swift says as much in the lines above. It’s in this verse that she establishes how the practice of comparing new artists to someone older and more established has affected her own life.

“You look like Taylor Swift
In this light
We’re loving it.
You’ve got edge she never did
The future’s bright

In the final verse, she points a finger at herself. There has been much speculation as to which artist Swift thinks is primed to take her spot. Either way, it’s a less-than-gentle reminder that none of us are immune from becoming overshadowed.

Check out the song, below.

(Photo by Michael Caulfield/WireImage)

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