Peace

Album: Folklore (2020)
Charted: 58
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Songfacts®:

  • "Peace" is a love song in which Taylor Swift sings of her devotion to her partner, Joe Alwyn.

    But I'm a fire and I'll keep your brittle heart warm
    If your cascade, ocean wave blues come


    The lyric is similar to one on the Reputation track "Gorgeous" where Swift talks about Alwyn's "ocean blue eyes looking in mine."
  • Swift hopes her passion will compensate for her shortcomings in a relationship. Her heart has been broken in the past, leaving her feeling vulnerable and fearing commitment.

    I never had the courage of my convictions
    As long as danger is near


    Also, because of her superstar status, she cannot offer a quiet, ordinary life.

    And it's just around the corner, darlin'
    'Cause it lives in me
    No, I could never give you peace


    Swift's 1989 song "I Know Places" is along the same lines. That track is about the difficulties in carrying on a relationship when the paparazzi are following them around.
  • Swift makes a subtle dig at two of her nemesis in the second verse.

    But there's robbers to the east, clowns to the west

    Swift felt robbed after New Yorker Scooter Braun acquired the masters to her first six albums. The songstress has also had an ongoing feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian over the rapper's "Famous" lyrics. The accompanying lyric video implies Swift directed the lines at Kanye since they capitalize "West" but not "east."
  • Taylor Swift wrote the song with Aaron Dessner of the rock band The National. Dessner has worked with acts such as Local Natives and Sharon Van Etten in the past, but never before with Swift.
  • The National multi-instrumentalist also moonlights as one half of the experimental folk-rock band Big Red Machine along with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. Dessner told Rolling Stone about Vernon's contribution to this track. "That song is just three harmonized bass lines and a pulse," he said. "I love to play bass like that - play one line then harmonize another, and another, which is a behavior I stole from Justin Vernon, because he's done that on other things we've done together. And actually, that's his pulse, he sent me that pulse and said, 'Do something with this.'"
  • Swift wrote this song after Dessner played her a sketch of his minimalist music. Dessner commented to Vulture: "It reminds me of Joni Mitchell, in a way - there's this really powerful and emotional love song, even the impressionistic, almost jazz-like bridge, and she weaves it perfectly together."
  • Taylor Swift wrote the song immediately after listening to Dessner's music. What struck her initially was a sense of calmness. She told Entertainment Weekly: "The first word that popped into my head was peace, but I thought that it would be too on-the-nose to sing about being calm, or to sing about serenity, or to sing about finding peace with someone."

    So Swift came up with "a very conflicted, very dramatic conflict-written lyric" as a balance to the serene sound of the music.
  • The devil's in the details
    But you got a friend in me
    Would it be enough
    If I could never give you peace?


    Swift loves the D, D sound of "The devil's in the details." She had noted it down as a cool phrase to use when she could find the right place in a story. The "Cardigan" star explained she is utilizing the phrase to say, "I'm there for you if you want that, if this complexity is what you want."

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