Tolerate It

Album: Evermore (2020)
Charted: 45
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Songfacts®:

  • Here, Swift sings of a husband who is indifferent toward his wife's love. The woman is heartbroken because he doesn't pay attention to anything she does for him.
  • I greet you with a battle hero's welcome
    I take your indiscretions all in good fun
    I sit and listen, I polish plates until they gleam and glisten


    Rather than celebrating his wife's love, the dude just tolerates it. This is part of the "unhappily ever after" anthology of songs on Evermore about marriages gone wrong that according to Swift includes "infidelity, ambivalent toleration, and even murder." Others include "No Body, No Crime" and "Ivy."

    When Scott Borchetta, founder of Taylor Swift's former label, Big Machine, sold the label to Scooter Braun's company, she lost control of her back catalog. Swift felt betrayed by her boss; speaking with Entertainment Weekly, she compared the ending of their friendship to a divorce. She added that while writing songs for Evermore and its sister record Folklore, she was "very triggered by any stories, movies, or narratives revolving around divorce."
  • This is the fifth song on Evermore. Track five is a place of honor on a Swift album where she traditionally places her most vulnerable and personal songs; previous fifth tracks have been "Cold As You," "White Horse," "Back To December," "All Too Well," "All You Had To Do Was Stay," "Delicate," "The Archer," and "My Tears Ricochet."

    In a chat on YouTube, Swift said, "I decided on track five because of the lyrics of 'Tolerate It' and how it's so visual, and conveys such a specific kind of hurt."
  • Swift wrote the tune with multi-instrumentalist Aaron Dessner of The National. Dessner co-wrote and/or produced eleven of Folklore's sixteen tracks, and 14 of Evermore's 15 songs.
  • When Dessner penned the piano track to "Tolerate It," he wrote it in the unusual time signature of 10/8. The producer wondered if it would be too experimental for Swift but sent it to the songstress anyway. He recalled to Rolling Stone: "It conjured a scene in her mind, and she wrote this crushingly beautiful song to it and sent it back. I think I cried when I first heard it."

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