Song of the Day #4,093: ‘The Archer’ – Taylor Swift

Continuing my countdown of the songs on Taylor Swift’s Lover.

9. ‘Daylight’ – The album’s delicate closing track looks back at the rocky road — romantically and professionally — Swift has taken to arrive at a place where she finally feels fulfilled. On Lover, Swift seems more self-aware and more at peace than ever, and this song does a lovely job of describing how she got there.

8. ‘Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince’ – I hear a Halsey influence in this song, a suspicion that was supported by a tweet by Halsey herself saying “I’m the Heartbreak Prince.” The two women are friends and I don’t know if there’s an actual connection, but I hear it. This song has some lyrics that could be read as shots at Trump’s America, in keeping with Swift recently becoming a lot more outspoken politically after years of relative silence.

7. ‘The Archer’ – Lover‘s third single is the album’s fifth song, a position of great weight in Swift’s discography. ‘The Archer’ is a moody beauty that builds ever so slowly to an emotional crescendo. Lyrically, it’s another inward looking track that explores her past in shades of grey, once again displaying an emotional maturity that’s a hallmark of so many of Lover‘s songs.

[Verse 1]
Combat, I’m ready for combat
I say I don’t want that, but what if I do?
‘Cause cruelty wins in the movies
I’ve got a hundred thrown-out speeches I almost said to you

[Pre-Chorus]
Easy they come, easy they go
I jump from the train, I ride off alone
I never grew up, it’s getting so old
Help me hold on to you

[Chorus]
I’ve been the archer, I’ve been the prey
Who could ever leave me, darling
But who could stay?

[Verse 2]
Dark side, I search for your dark side
But what if I’m alright, right, right, right here?
And I cut off my nose just to spite my face
Then I hate my reflection for years and years

[Pre-Chorus]
I wake in the night, I pace like a ghost
The room is on fire, invisible smoke
And all of my heroes die all alone
Help me hold on to you

[Chorus]
I’ve been the archer, I’ve been the prey
Screaming, who could ever leave me, darling
But who could stay?
(I see right through me, I see right through me)

[Bridge]
‘Cause they see right through me
They see right through me
They see right through
Can you see right through me?
They see right through
They see right through me
I see right through me
I see right through me

[Pre-Chorus]
All the king’s horses, all the king’s men
Couldn’t put me together again
‘Cause all of my enemies started out friends
Help me hold on to you

[Chorus]
I’ve been the archer, I’ve been the prey
Who could ever leave me, darling
But who could stay?
(I see right through me, I see right through me)
Who could stay?
Who could stay?
Who could stay?
You could stay
You could stay

[Outro]
Combat, I’m ready for combat

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,093: ‘The Archer’ – Taylor Swift

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    You’ve got me intrigued by “Ms. Americana and the Heartbreak Prince.” Will need to check that out.

    I don’t know how well “The Archer” is doing as a single, but it’s a beautiful song.

  2. Maddie says:

    I like Halsey and I do have fun with Ms. Americana (which was the title off the album that most intrigued me when I first saw the tracklist), but I would definitely have it lower in my own ranking. From process of elimination, I do think we’re going to have a pretty similar looking top 6-5. Looking forward to seeing all the reasoning and then giving my own ranking. 🙂

  3. Amy says:

    From the new Rolling Stone interview with Swift: “Katy [Perry] and I were talking about our signs. . . . [Laughs] Of course we were…. We were talking about our signs because we had this really, really long talk when we were reconnecting… We were talking about how we’ve had miscommunications with people in the past, not even specifically with each other. She’s like, “I’m a Scorpio. Scorpios just strike when they feel threatened.” And I was like, “Well, I’m an archer. We literally stand back, assess the situation, process how we feel about it, raise a bow, pull it back, and fire.” So it’s completely different ways of processing pain, confusion, misconception. And oftentimes I’ve had this delay in feeling something that hurts me and then saying that it hurts me. Do you know what I mean? And so I can understand how people in my life would have been like, “Whoa, I didn’t know that was how you felt.” Because it takes me a second.”

    When I read this interview the other day, i, of course, immediately reassessed this song, which I already very much enjoy. I’ve always loved how Swift uses figurative language so effortlessly. Much, perhaps, like that archer, she assesses and then selects the precise symbol or metaphor that works best in each lyric. I declared her a songwriting savant when listening to the songs she composed as a teenager. While I’m not always as big a fan of some of the directions she’s opted to explore in her music, her talent is undeniable.

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