Maryland’s Two Inch Astonaut have covered Taylor Swift’s “Fifteen” as part of an upcoming compilation benefitting Casa Ruby, a bilingual LGBTQ+ center in Washington D.C.
“Fifteen” tells the tale of freshman year of high school, when emotions are high and heartbreak seems inevitable. The song recounts our protagonist meeting a “redhead named Abigail” on the very first day, and Abigail’s subsequent loss of innocence: “Abigail gave everything she had, to a boy who changed his mind, and we both cried”. Two Inch takes the drama and musically expands on it, removing Taylor’s pop-country trappings and absolutely smashing it into a more accurate representation of how
all some of us felt at that age. There is an addictive beauty in hearing Sam Rosenberg drawl out the lyrics that originally had a Swift-ian polish. Indeed, TIA have such an idiosyncratic sound that “Fifteen” is not at all out of place in their discography—it would fit right in with Foulbrood‘s “Cigarettes, Boys, and Movies”, at least until one pays attention to the dramatic story “Fifteen” is telling. The chugging chord progression behind, “Well, count to ten, take it in, this is life, before you know who you’re gonna be, fifteen, but in your life you’ll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team, but I didn’t know it at fifteen” slips into a mathy breakdown as heavy as anything TIA has ever done. Altogether, this is the greatness of the cover—it lends a musically intricate beauty to Swift’s diary-esque prose, and elucidates the razor thin difference between radio pop music and what doesn’t make that cut.
The compilation also includes contributions from teen suicide, Modern Baseball, The World Is A Beautiful Place…, flatsound, Personality Disorders, Night Kitchen, Unraveler, Ricky Eat Acid, Tomato Dodgers, Holy Crust, Gas up yr hearse!!, Useless Grant, Little Tyrant (mems Panucci’s Pizza), Leor Miller, Foster Carrots, Posture & The Grizzly, SOUL GLO, and Adult Mom.
The compilation is due out June 6 on Funeral Sounds. You can stream “Fifteen” below.