Invisible String

Album: Folklore (2020)
Charted: 37

Songfacts®:

  • According to Taylor Swift, this ode to love started off with the imagery of "a single thread that, for better or for worse, ties you to your fate." That picture in her mind led to a song in she reflects the serendipities that bring two soulmates together.

    And isn't it just so pretty to think
    All along there was some
    Invisible string
    Tying you to me?


    The "invisible string" references an ancient Chinese folk myth about a red thread of fate tying two people together. The man and the woman are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, and circumstance.
  • The song is one of the more personal ones on Folklore, as Swift reflects on the journey that led to her relationship with her actor boyfriend Joe Alwyn. She starts by recalling her teenage dreams of meeting her life partner in Nashville's Centennial Park; at the same time, across the Atlantic, Alwyn was working at Snogs' Frozen Yogurt in London. Swift goes on to express gratitude for romances that didn't work out as they paved the way for finding fulfillment in her relationship with Alwyn.
  • Throughout the song, Swift plays with the idea of colors to show her emotions.

    Bad was the blood of the song in the cab
    On your first trip to LA


    For Swift the color red conveys intense emotion, something she previously sang about on the tracks "Red" and "Bad Blood."

    One single thread of gold
    Tied me to you


    Swift has used the color gold to describe her love for someone. She started doing so on her 2008 tribute to her mom, "The Best Day," when she sang "Look now, the sky is gold. I hug your legs."

    Later she started using gold to describe her love for Joe Alwyn. On "Dancing With Our Hands Tied," Swift sings:

    My love had been frozen deep blue, but you painted me golden

    And on "Daylight," Swift croons:

    I once believed love would be (burnin' red)
    But it's golden
  • The National multi-instrumentalist Aaron Dessner produced the track, one of 11 he worked on for Folklore. He told Vulture it originated with some folky music he'd been dabbling with for a couple of months. When he played the tune to Swift on his guitar she responded, "You know, I love this and I'm hearing something already."

    She decided it would fit some lyrics she'd written recounting the origin of a relationship, and he told Dessner, "This will change the story."
  • Taylor Swift sang of her love for England's capital city on the Lover track "London Boy." Here she references another part of Joe Alwyns's native country, The Lake District.

    Bold was the waitress on our three-year trip
    Getting lunch down by the lakes
    She said I looked like an American singer


    It seems Swift and Alwyn had a third-anniversary break in the beautiful British world heritage site. Swift pays further tribute to the area on the Folklore bonus track "The Lakes."
  • Cold was the steel of my axe to grind
    For the boys who broke my heart
    Now I send their babies presents


    Swift revealed in her Disney+ concert film Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions the above lyric really did happen. "I remembered I wrote it right after I sent an ex a baby gift," she recalled. "And I was just like 'man, life is great.'"

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