"Fearless" is a country pop song performed by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. The song was co-written by Swift in collaboration with Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey and produced by Nathan Chapman and Swift. "Fearless" was released on January 3, 2010 by Big Machine Records as the fifth and final single from Swift's second studio album of the same name (2008). Swift composed the song while traveling on tour to promote her eponymous debut album, Taylor Swift (2006). She wrote "Fearless" in regards to the fearlessness of falling in love and eventually titled her second studio album after the song. Musically, it contains qualities commonly found in pop rock music and, lyrically, is about a perfect first date.
"Fearless" generally pleased contemporary critics, many who complimented it for appealing to different age groups; others disagreed. In the United States, "Fearless" peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), becoming the first single released after being certified gold by the RIAA. "Fearless" also entered charts in Canada and Spain. Swift performed the song in various venues, some of which were included on the Fearless Tour (2009–10). Footage from the Fearless Tour performances were used to comprise a music video for "Fearless", directed by Todd Cassetty. The video features both footage of the tour itself and backstage.
"Fearless" was written by Swift in collaboration with Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey and produced by Nathan Chapman alongside Swift. Swift conceived the song while touring as opening act in order to promote her eponymous debut album, Taylor Swift (2006). While writing the song, she was not dating anyone or "even in the beginning stages of dating anybody." She wrote the song after she analyzed the ideology of what was the best first date. While developing "Fearless", Swift explained the writing process, stating, "I think sometimes when you’re writing love songs, you don’t write them about what you’re going through at the moment, you write about what you wish you had." The song was composed with two concepts in mind. Swift described the song's primary concept to be about "the fearlessness of falling in love", and "no matter how many times you get hurt, you will always fall in love again." The second, is about the best first date, which Swift stated she hadn't experienced at the time of writing "Fearless". After completing the song, Swift deeply deliberated her personal definition of the word "fearless". To her, "fearless doesn't mean you're completely unafraid and it doesn't mean that you're bulletproof. It means that you have a lot of fears, but you jump anyway." That influenced her to title the album Fearless. The song was first released as a promotional single from the album on October 14, 2008 as part of Countdown to Fearless an exclusive campaign by the iTunes Store; it was later released as the fifth and final single from Fearless on January 4, 2010.
"Fearless" is a country pop song with a length of four minutes and one second. Alexis Petridis of The Guardian described the song's genre as a "kind of orthodontically perfect pop rock". He said the most country part of the song was a lyric that referenced a "one horse town". The song is set in common time and has a moderate tempo of 100 beats per minute. It is written in the key of F major and Swift's vocals span two octaves, from F3 to C5. It follows the chord progression F–C–Gm–B♭-C. Tom Ronald of Great American Country interpreted the song's message to be about "taking courage on the dating circuit." In a different perspective, Rob Sheffield of Blender magazine said the lyrics "And I don't know why but with you / I'd dance in a storm in my best dress, fearless" demonstrated how Swift enjoyed making a scene. He added that she would not wear "anything else to go ride around in a storm".
"Fearless" was critically acclaimed by contemporary critics for its ability to relate to different age groups. Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly said Swift's vocals fit the song's melody and instrumentation, which, according to her, is "slick" and "radio-friendly". Heather Phares of Allmusic selected the track as one of best songs on Fearless. Alice Fisher of the United Kingdom magazine The Observer congratulated "Fearless" for being one of Swift's "great songs with perceptive lyrics about universal truths that can be enjoyed at any age." Jim Harrington of The San Jose Mercury News believed "Fearless" contained appeal to different age groups: "Moms and daughters, as well as groups of teens and couples out for a date night, [can sing] along with equal gusto."
Upon its release as a promotional single, on the week ending November 1, 2008, "Fearless" debuted and peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 with sales of 162,000 digital downloads, becoming Swift's third consecutive top ten song on the chart. In the succeeding week, the song fell to number 38 and after four weeks of roaming the Billboard Hot 100 it fell off the charts. Following its single release, the song re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 94 on the week ending March 13, 2010. Its highest position on the chart while being released as a single was number 76 on the week ending April 10, 2010. The song is one of 13 songs from Fearless charted within the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, breaking the record for the most top 40 entries from a single album. "Fearless" spent a total of 15 weeks ascending and descending the Billboard Hot 100. "Fearless" also peaked at number ten on the Hot Country Songs, making this her tenth consecutive top ten hit but also her lowest-charting single, and number 18 on the now-defunct Pop 100. The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the purchase of over 500,000 digital downloads. It therefore became the first single released after being certified gold by the RIAA, as a result of digital downloads. As of October 2012, "Fearless" has sold over 1,000,000 copies in the United States, and has since been certified platinum by the RIAA.
On the week ending November 29, 2008, "Fearless" debuted and peaked at number sixty-nine in Canada, spending a total of five weeks on the chart. The song peaked at number thirty-two in Spain.
Various tour performances were used to comprise a music video for "Fearless", directed by Todd Cassetty. The video premiered on February 17, 2010 on CMT. It begins when Swift tells her band before they step onstage, "You guys, this tour has been the best experience of my entire life." The video intermingles footage from the tour itself with fans excitedly showing off signs to Swift with behind-the-scenes footage of Swift and her band as they travel on the Fearless Tour. It ends with the singer waving goodbye as she exits the stage. Upon watching the video, Vena interpreted it to be "Swift's love letter to her fans", as it showed an "inside view of what it's like to go on tour".