Soccer Mommy Covers a Taylor Swift Fan Favorite, ‘I’m Only Me When I’m With You’

Given that Taylor Swift is the most popular pop star on the planet — or maybe because of that — there’s been a surprising paucity of covers of her hundreds of tunes by other name-brand artists over the years. Making a dent in that dearth, now, is Soccer Mommy, who has just released her version of a deep cut that is a fan favorite among hardcore Swifties, “I’m Only Me When I’m With You.”

“I really wanted to cover this song because it’s one of my favorites from Taylor’s first album,” Soccer Mommy — aka Sophie Allison — said in releasing the tune. “I listened to that record so much when I was a kid, and I think it had a lot of influence on me then.”

More from Variety

Soccer Mommy’s cover takes a much more reflective and balladic approach than Swift’s high-energy original, though it picks up steam as it goes along, She remains faithful to the essentials of the composition, while switching out the fiddle-and-guitar riff that ends the chorus for something more suitable to her softer take.

“I’m Only Me When I’m With You” was ranked a high No. 4 in Variety‘s recent ranking of Taylor’s Swift’s 25 best bonus tracks. Said Variety‘s critic of the Swift original, “For almost any other country artist, this would have been the encore in their live show for the next 20 or 30 years; for Swift, it’s more like an asterisk or after-thought, but one that’ll bring a full-on dose of exhilaration when you remember to go back to it.” Although fans had differing opinions of Variety’s list on social media, there was near-universal agreement on the contention that “I’m Only Me…” has been underrated all these years.

Soccer Mommy’s new recording is part of a five-song EP, “Karaoke Night,” that the singer-songwriter has coming out Sept. 22 on the Loma Vista label. Another of the covers, of Sheryl Crow’s “Soak Up the Sun,” has already been released; the three that remain to be heard are interpretations of songs by R.E.M., Pavement and Slowdive.

Younger Swift fans may not even realize that “I’m Only Me When I’m With You” was a bonus track that did not appear on the original “Taylor Swift” album in 2006 but was appended later as part of a deluxe edition. The deluxe edition has come to be the only edition that is available on streaming and download sites. When Big Machine released the expanded version, the label added four tracks that followed the original album-closer, “Our Song”: “I’m Only Me When I’m With You,” “Invisible” (which also appears on Variety‘s list of best bonus tracks), “A Perfectly Good Heart” and “Taylor Swift’s 1st Phone Call With Tim McGraw.” (The deluxe/now-standard edition also switched out the original version of “Picture to Burn” for an edit in which the controversial “gay” lyric was replaced.)

Swift has not often revived “I’m Only Me When I’m With You” in concert, but she did perform it acoustically as part of her nightly surprise songs segment during an Eras Tour stop on June 30 in Cincinnati. She performed it regularly on tour in 2008-09, but since then, it has only popped up in her set three times, once each in 2010, 2018 and this year.

Perhaps Soccer Mommy’s cover will spur some other indie-leaning artists to tackle Swift’s deep catalog, something that hasn’t been undertaken in earnest since Ryan Adams’ highly polarizing cover of the entire “1989” album.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.