As far as inspiration goes, I've been dealt a lucky hand," says Swift. "I'm excited for people to delve into the album and unravel the secrets." For the first time, Swift penned every cut on the album without co-writers. "I wrote a lot for this one," she says. "I just keep trying to out-do myself."
The first single, "Mine," is about "what it would be like if I let my guard down and saw a relationship through," says the 20-year-old. "The Story of Us" — a super-catchy pop nugget lifted by a hot guitar solo — was inspired by running into an ex at an awards show. "We were both in 'I'm ignoring you, I don't care' mode," she recalls. Swift won't say if the track is about ex Joe Jonas and only laughs when asked if the dramatic power ballad "Back to December" is about former boyfriend Taylor Lautner.
"After I wrote it, I realized that I've never apologized to someone in a song," she says. "This album is about my confessions."
This is a story from the September 30, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone.