Behind the Meaning of Taylor Swift’s Country-Coded “cowboy like me”

Taylor Swift obviously got her start in the country community. Since 2014 though, she has more or less left her twang behind–save a few country-coded tracks. One of the most beloved in that department is “cowboy like me.”

Videos by American Songwriter

The acoustic evermore cut was co-written by Aaron Dessner. The soft instrumentation saves room for Swift’s storytelling chops. While the entirety of the album sees Swift play into that skill, “cowboy like me” is one of the most visual.

Uncover the meaning behind this track below.

[RELATED: Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour Movie to Be Released Worldwide]

Behind the Meaning of “cowboy like me”

In the lyrics, Swift tells the story of two con artists. The swindlers are accustomed to tricking others by feigning love. When they cross paths, they intend to use their skills on each other. In the end, they find it wasn’t a trick at all.

Swift sets a scene in the opening verse, painting a picture of a wedding reception where the two cross paths. Almost instinctively, they start playing the game.

And you asked me to dance
But I said, “Dancing is a dangerous game”
Oh, I thought
This is gonna be one of those things
Now I know
I’m never gonna love again

Quickly, what started as a game turns into something far more real. Now I’m waiting by the phone /
Like I’m sitting in an airport bar
, Swift sings explaining in her prosaic way that she is falling for him. She has nothing better to do than wait by the phone, hoping he will call.

Though Swift sets up the two characters to be outlaw-esque characters, the song can be interpreted in a much more relatable way. Two non-committal people meet hoping for a fling, but end up becoming more attached than they thought. Leave it up to Swift to give the simplest of ideas a welcomed dramatic flare.

In the bridge, Swift’s character gets her heartbroken. She makes a nod to the elusive Gardens of Babylon (many historians argue about whether or not they existed) to explain the impression her love interest has left on her. He leaves very little evidence he was there at all. With your boots beneath my bed / Forever is the sweetest con, she sings.

“cowboy like me” is one of Swift’s most complex and intricate love songs. Nevertheless, it’s endlessly relatable, showcasing what makes Swift such a singular songwriter.

(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Leave a Reply

Paul McCartney’s Guitar String from ‘Rubber Soul’ Era Sells at Auction in England

15 of the Best Quotes from Van Halen’s David Lee Roth