Picking your favorite Taylor Swift song is like choosing your favorite child — a near-impossible feat, especially for the singer herself. But Swift actually does have a favorite lyric from Folklore, which is nominated for Album of the Year at this year's upcoming Grammy Awards. And no, it's not the lyric about feeling "like an old cardigan under someone's bed" from "Cardigan" (nominated for Song of the Year) or "I was so ahead of the curve, the curve became a sphere" from the devastating "This Is Me Trying."
Swift, 31, told PEOPLE in a new interview that she’s "really proud" of one particular line from the track titled, "The Last Great American Dynasty." The lyric goes: "She had a marvelous time ruining everything." It's a favorite, Swift revealed, because it's an expression of female independence and self-assurance, things that the singer-songwriter has valued throughout her career and even touched on in songs like "Mad Woman" from Folklore and "The Man" from 2019's Lover. "It's about what happens when women step out of their cages and run," she said.
The singer continued to expand on the lyric's meaning, praising the subject's willingness to put her own wants before others or even her own reputation. "It can be a real pearl-clutching moment for society when a woman owns her desires and wildness," she explained. "I love the idea that the woman in question would be too joyful in her freedom to even care that she's ruffling feathers, raising eyebrows, or becoming the talk of the town. The idea that she decided there were marvelous times to be had, and that was more important."
"The Last Great American Dynasty" is one of many songs on Folklore that draws inspiration more so from historical tales rather than Swift's own life. It tells the story of Rebekah Harkness, a socialite and philanthropist who shook up her small, seaside Rhode Island town by throwing lavish parties at her mansion and blowing through money on "boys and ballet" after the death of her husband, Standard Oil heir William Harkness. The highlight comes in the bridge, where Swift cleverly reveals that she bought Harkness' home and compared her own public reputation to the former owner's, switching the lyric to "I had a marvelous time ruining everything."
Speaking to PEOPLE, Swift also explained how her two surprise albums from 2020 — Folklore and Evermore — taught her that "less is more," even when releasing a new album. "An album photo shoot can really be as simple as walking out into a field with one photographer at your friends' farm," she said. "You can write songs without traveling or being in the same space as another collaborator. You can tell your fans about what you made without going on an international promo tour."
She promised to keep this DIY spirit in mind for her future projects, something she has already started doing. Swift shot the album cover for the re-recorded "Taylor's Version" of her 2008 sophomore album Fearless with Folklore and Evermore photographer Beth Garrabrant. She also reunited her original live touring band to record the songs, including the recently released "Love Story (Taylor's Version)," which she also co-produced. "If I can do it myself, I will," she said.