"Starlight" is a song recorded by American recording artist Taylor Swift, taken from her fourth studio album and the 15th track of the album, Red (2012).
Background and release
The song was co-produced by regular collaborator Nathan Chapman and Dann Huff, who has also worked with Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts. It was one of three tracks on Red, where Huff co-manned the boards. "I chose the artists and the producers because I like their style," Swift told USA Today. "I didn't choose them because I wanted to force my style on them; I chose them because I wanted to learn from them. So they're true collaborations, it's not just somebody else singing on one of my songs that sounds like one of my songs. It's a real mixture of the two influences."
On the album, "Starlight" comes after the Ed Sheeran collaboration, Everything Has Changed. The song finds Swift singing about the romantic adventures of Ethel and Bobby Kennedy after coming across a photo of the pair dancing when they were teenagers. "She told The Wall Street Journal: "I get a lot of style inspiration from the 1960s, so I'll go and look at black and white pictures, and look at [photos from the] '50s and '60s, and I came across this picture of these two kids dancing at a dance. It immediately made me think of like how much fun they must have had that night. It was back in the late '40s. I ended up reading underneath that it was Ethel Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. And they were like 17. So I just kind of wrote that song from that place, not really knowing how they met or anything like that. And then her daughter Rory ended up coming to a show a couple weeks later and I told her about the song and she was like, you have to meet my mom. She would love to meet you. So that was kind of what that song was about." Ethel and Bobby are the grandparents of Conor Kennedy, whom Taylor was dating while writing for Red.
The song achieved generally positive reviews from music critics upon release. Critics praised the catchy tune of the song. Billboard gave it a positive review, saying "Every Swift album as of late has one danceable, fists-in-the-air love anthem ("Love Story" for "Fearless," "Mine" for "Speak Now") and "Starlight" fills that role for "Red." Though the song talks about a period where Swift and a beau were "17 and crazy," it's hard not to think of her alleged Kennedy wedding crash from this summer when she sings, "Can't remember what song that was playing when we walked in / the night we snuck into a yacht club party / pretending to be a duchess and a prince."
About.com gave the song a rating of 3 out of 5 stars, praising its "Dance-club vocals" and "snyth fills.".
Taylor performed her song “Starlight” during the 2012 Ripple of Hope Gala, which she wrote about Ethel Kennedy. Also spotted in the audience was pal Dianna Agron. On that event Taylor was Honored "Ripple of Hope Award".