"The Last Great American Dynasty" by Taylor Swift- Song Review & Analysis



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yashvisingh1999

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"the last great american dynasty” is track 3 from Taylor Swift's eighth studio album "Folklore". It follows the story of Rebekah Harkness, a patron of the arts, and founder of the Rebekah Harkness Foundation. In 2015, Taylor bought a Rhode Island mansion once owned by Rebekah Harkness. The mansion is known as “Holiday House.” Taylor draws subtle comparison between herself and Rebekah Harkness in the song. Similar to Taylor, Rebekah Harkness was often a target of harsh criticism from the tabloids, and people alike.


The lines, "And they said, there goes the last great American dynasty" refers to Rebekah's husband and when he died due to heart attack, people started to create rumors that Rebekah must've killed her own husband for money. Rebekah is blamed for destroying the “last great American dynasty” even though her husband’s problems were his own. For the society around her however, they find it easy to blame her for his and their own problems since she is an easy target and call her "there goes the maddest/most shameless woman this town has ever seen". She also mentions Rebekah's antics (lyrics below), the time she filled her pool with champagne, blew her fortune on 'boys and the ballet' (she had immense love for ballet and arts, she even started her own company which is now known as The Harkness Foundation for Dance). 


Flew in all her Bitch Pack friends from the city

Filled the pool with champagne and swam with the big names

And blew through the money on the boys and the ballet

And losin' on card game bets with Dalí


Taylor talks about Rebekah's life and how she was always criticised for just LIVING. This song is reminiscent of “The Lucky One” from her 4th studio album “Red” where Taylor Swift sang about an unnamed hollywood star who moved away from the limelight and from under the microscope of the media, into a life of solitude. In this song, the bridge ends with "and then it was bought by me", which shows that Taylor carried Rebekah's of legacy of being a 'mad woman'. Taylor knows that Rebekah wasn’t doing anything but chasing her happiness, just like herself. Taylor too has been judged for living her life freely, being slut-shamed for how many men she has dated and even ridiculed for having too many friends. Therefore by the end of this song, we see that Taylor now embraces all of the things she was accused of and she “had a marvelous time ruining everything” (refering to her broken friendships and break-ups).


This song has become my favorite for several reasons and one of that is: when the bridge ends at "and then it was bought by me" there's silence, where the listeners are hit by the sudden realization that Taylor has been called those same things and the only reason was the society who manages to find blame in women for everything. 

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  1. Truly a masterpiece 🙌✨