I listen to A LOT of music. Every so often, I get hit in the face with a song that I just play on repeat for weeks on end. “exile” by Taylor Swift featuring Bon Iver is one of those.
Let me preface that while I am not a huge fan of Taylor Swift, I do appreciate her music. Swift has done an amazing job of reincarnating herself to different genres within her career, and I think she is a talented artist and writer.
“exile” is a duet with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, with Vernon and Swift "playing" the roles of ex-lovers looking back at their relationship and its aftermath.
This song is a path that I personally have taken a few times in my life. I have been known to fall in love with people that are not right for me. The chorus of this song, that reveals the heart of the song, the bittersweet and complicated feelings after a breakup that probably needed to happen but still left lingering feelings behind, "I think I've seen this film before… and I didn't like the ending," Bon Iver calls his ex "my town," while Taylor Swift calls him "my crown," and both feel like they've been put "in exile" from those places. We have all been there before, right?!
The entire album, folklore by Taylor Swift was a surprise album announced without pre-release promotion, folklore was written and recorded while in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Categorized as an indie folk, alternative rock, electro-folk, and chamber pop record, the album marks a departure from the upbeat pop sound of Swift's preceding studio albums to stripped-down tunes driven by piano and guitar, with production from Cincinnati’s own, Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff and Swift herself.
“exile” is a standout song from the folklore album for me, “So, step right out, there is no amount, of crying I can do for you. All this time. We always walked a very thin line. You didn't even hear me out. I gave so many signs.”
I have seen this film before and you can choose your own ending.