Fifteen is a country pop song performed by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Swift self-penned the song and co-produced it along with Nathan Chapman. "Fifteen" was released on August 30, 2009 by Big Machine Records, as the fourth single from Swift's second studio album, Fearless (2008). The song was inspired by Swift's freshman year of high school at Hendersonville High School, where she first encountered heartbreak, along with her best friend Abigail Anderson. After writing it, Swift asked Anderson for authorization to record the song (due to personal references in the song); Anderson affirmed and it was ultimately included on Fearless. "Fifteen" is a ballad, which has Swift reminiscing on events that occurred to her and her best friend at the age of 15 and cautioning young girls to not fall in love easily.
The song received critical acclaim and was a mild commercial success. "Fifteen" peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold over a million digital downloads in the United States. The music video for "Fifteen" was directed by Roman White. It was filmed using a green screen and is heavily accentuated with special effects. The video features Swift walking through a garden, where she relives many memories with Anderson. It received a nomination for the Best Female Video category at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, but lost to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance". "Fifteen" was promoted with live performances, including many that were part of Swift's first and second headlining tours, the Fearless Tour (2009—10) and the Speak Now World Tour (2011–12). Swift partnered with electronics retailer Best Buy for @15, a program that allowed teens to help decide how funds would be distributed among various charities.
Following the release of Fearless, on the week ending November 29, 2008, "Fifteen" debuted at number seventy-nine on the Billboard Hot 100 Its appearance, along with six other songs, on the chart tied Swift with Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus) for the female act to have the most songs charting on the Billboard Hot 100 in the same week, a record later surpassed by Swift herself when she charted eleven songs at once in 2010. It re-entered at number ninety-four on the week ending October 3, 2009, after its single release. On the week ending December 19, 2009, "Fifteen" reached its peak at number twenty-three on the Billboard Hot 100, and, on the week ending February 6, 2010, spent its last week at number forty, after twenty-one weeks on the chart. The song is one of thirteen songs from Fearless charted within the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100, breaking the record for the most top forty entries from a single album. The single was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. As of November 2014, "Fifteen" has sold over 1,323,000 copies in the United States.
"Fifteen" debuted at number forty-one on Billboard Hot Country Songs. It jumped at number thirty-one on its second week and on the week-ending November 7, 2009, it entered the top ten at number ten. Six weeks later, it reached its peak at number seven on the week-ending December 12, 2009. The single became her second single that did not reach the top three of Billboard Hot Country Songs since her debut single "Tim McGraw". "Fifteen" also peak at number ten on Billboard Pop Songs, number twelve on Billboard Adult Contemporary, and at number fourteen at Billboard Adult Pop Songs.
On the week ending January 23, 2010, the song peaked at number nineteen in Canada. It was certified gold by Music Canada for sales of 40,000 digital downloads. "Fifteen" peaked at number forty-eight in Australia on the week ending December 13, 2009.
"Fifteen" has received universal acclaim, citing it as one of Swift's best-written songs. Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone believed "Fifteen" was exemplary in that "Swift is a songwriting savant with an intuitive gift for verse-chorus-bridge architecture". Rosen compared her songwriting in the track to that of producers Dr. Luke and Max Martin, who he referred to as "Swedish pop gods". He continued, "Her music mixes an almost impersonal professionalism — it's so rigorously crafted it sounds like it has been scientifically engineered in a hit factory — with confessions that are squirmingly intimate and true." Jonathon Keefe of Slant Magazine considered the bridge one of the nicer moments of Fearless, but was unimpressed with Swift's singing, particularly in the outro. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic found "Fifteen", in which Swift portrayed the role of a big sister instead of a big star, to be one of the best and the most personal song on Fearless. Ken Tucker of Billboard magazine believed "Fifteen" could appeal with teenagers looking for hope and adult women reminiscing the past. Leah Greenbelt of Entertainment Weekly stated, "When she sings about sexuality, she sounds like a real teen, not some manufactured vixen-Lolita".
Jon Caramanica of The New York Times said "Fifteen" was one of Swift's best-written songs. James Reed of The Boston Globe believed "Fifteen" was one of Fearless 's most interesting songs and stated he could visualize the lyrics of the song scribbled in a diary that chronicled Swift's freshman year in high school. Sean Dooley of About.com named it the best track on Fearless and said it showcased Swift's growth as a songwriter. Josh Love of The Village Voice called the song a "standout" on the album and found it a refreshing contradiction to typical, idealistic country songs, such as Carrie Underwood's "All-American Girl" (2007). Prior to its single release, Kate Kiefer of Paste magazine suggested for the song be released as a single from Fearless, adding that she loved it. Alexis Petridis of The Guardian called the track a fantastically good song that broadened "her potential market from teenage girls to anyone who used to be a teenage girl". Petridis continued, "You applaud her skill, while feeling slightly unsettled by the thought of a teenager pontificating away like Yoda." Aidan Vaziri of San Francisco Chronicle ranked it twelfth on his top 12 singles of 2009 list, commenting, "Damn it if this song isn't too sweet, too vulnerable and just too real to ignore."