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Taylor Swift's Attitude of Gratitude

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Taylor Swift's Songs and Lovers

The stakes may be different for Swift than for most of us, but who can't relate to the desire to connect and feel appreciated? It's this quality that has created such a strong pact between Swift and her fans, who look at pictures of the star cavorting at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Mass., with Conor Kennedy or draped in jewels on the red carpet and still see one of them.

Swift returns the favor by divulging personal aspects of her love affairs in her lyrics, folding in clues to the subject's identity for her devotees. "If there were a guy who had been incredibly kind and good to me, he would have only gotten kind and good songs written about him, and there have been those guys," Swift says unapologetically. "Some of my favorite songs are about the wonderful people who have been in my life, like the singles 'Love Story,' 'You Belong With Me,' and 'Back to December.' But people also need the songs about what it's like to fall out of love or what it's like when your relationship takes a nosedive."

Remarkably, the singer, who has also been linked to celebrities Taylor Lautner and John Mayer, says suitors aren't discouraged. "Everyone starts a relationship well intentioned," she explains. "No one thinks, 'This will have a horrific, crazy downfall, and it will be chronicled on an album that teenagers will be singing to themselves in their bedrooms.'"

Taylor Swift: Homebody

Not long ago, Swift was that adolescent singing her own sad songs in her bedroom. Raised in rural Pennsylvania along with a younger brother, Austin, by a stockbroker father and stay-at-home mother, Swift says she suffered deeply as an outcast at school. She began writing songs at age 12 as a way of making sense of the experience. By 14 she was invested enough in the process that she convinced her family to move to Nashville, Tenn., where she could immerse herself in the songwriting community. Within months of arriving, she was signed as the youngest staff songwriter ever at Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

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