“the 1” centers around the nostalgic remembrance of myths and lost loves. Taylor contemplates an alternate life in which her old wishes had “come true” and resulted in a life with an ex-lover.
Sharing a similar sentiment to Swift’s track “I Almost Do” from October 2012’s Red, “the 1” is a callback to the folk moments from the same record, folk music being a defining influence on folklore.
During an interview with Vulture, co-writer Aaron Dessner revealed that the song is not written from the perspective of Swift: "It’s clear that “the 1” is not written from her perspective. It’s written from another friend’s perspective."
“the 1” debuted at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the chart week of August 8, 2020.
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