Song of the Day #4,560: ‘Happiness’ – Taylor Swift

Following Taylor Swift’s last two album releases — Lover and Folklore — I spent a week counting down the tracks in order of my preference. I never expected this to be such a frequently occurring segment, but here we are, as Swift dropped her second straight surprise album of 2020 two week back.

Evermore is a sister record to Folklore, recorded with the same collaborators and in the same style. It feels more like Folklore: B-sides than a brand-new release, but it’s a strong collection in its own right. In keeping with the new tradition, I’ll spend the week ranking Evermore‘s songs from worst to best.

#15. ‘Evermore’

As on Folklore, Bon Iver joins Taylor for a duet. Here he abandons the deep singing voice he used on the former album’s ‘Exile’ in favor of a much higher register (and a bit of vocal distortion, I believe). As a sleepy closer to a 15-track sleepy album, ‘Evermore’ has its work cut out for it. I like it well enough until Bon Iver’s appearance, which — though it spices the song up in terms of tempo — just kills the mood. I really don’t like this guy’s voice, and I don’t need him ruining a perfectly nice Taylor Swift song.

#14. ‘Coney Island’

I guess this is a trend, because my second least favorite song also features a guest vocalist. In this case it’s Matt Berninger of The National who shows up to sink a half-decent song halfway through. No more duets, Taylor!

#13. ‘Happiness’

The last song written for Evermore, just days before the album’s release, ‘Happiness’ could have used a little more time in the oven. It’s lovely enough, but not up to the standard of the rest of this album.

[Verse 1]
Honey, when I’m above the trees
I see this for what it is
But now I’m right down in it, all the years I’ve given
Is just shit we’re dividin’ up
Showed you all of my hiding spots
I was dancing when the music stopped
And in the disbelief, I can’t face reinvention
I haven’t met the new me yet

[Chorus]
There’ll be happiness after you
But there was happiness because of you
Both of these things can be true
There is happiness

[Post-Chorus]
Past the blood and bruise
Past the curses and cries
Beyond the terror in the nightfall
Haunted by the look in my eyes
That would’ve loved you for a lifetime
Leave it all behind
And there is happiness

[Verse 2]
Tell me, when did your winning smile
Begin to look like a smirk?
When did all our lessons start to look like weapons
Pointed at my deepest hurt?
I hope she’ll be a beautiful fool
Who takes my spot next to you
No, I didn’t mean that
Sorry, I can’t see facts through all of my fury
You haven’t met the new me yet

[Chorus]
There’ll be happiness after me
But there was happiness because of me
Both of these things, I believe
There is happiness

[Post-Chorus]
In our history, across our great divide
There is a glorious sunrise
Dappled with the flickers of light
From the dress I wore at midnight, leave it all behind
And there is happiness

[Bridge]
I can’t make it go away by making you a villain
I guess it’s the price I paid for seven years in Heaven
And I pulled your body into mine
Every goddamn night, now I get fake niceties
No one teaches you what to do
When a good man hurts you
And you know you hurt him too

[Verse 3]
Honey, when I’m above the trees
I see it for what it is
But now my eyes leak acid rain on the pillow where you used to lay your head
After giving you the best I had
Tell me what to give after that
All you want from me now is the green light of forgiveness
You haven’t met the new me yet
And I think she’ll give you that

[Chorus]
There’ll be happiness after you
But there was happiness because of you too
Both of these things can be true
There is happiness

[Post-Chorus]
In our history, across our great divide
There is a glorious sunrise
Dappled with the flickers of light
From the dress I wore at midnight, leave it all behind
Oh, leave it all behind
Leave it all behind
And there is happiness

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,560: ‘Happiness’ – Taylor Swift

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Maybe it’s because of Covid, but more likely because of the style of both of these albums, that I have listened to them more times than any Swift record, or really any other artist’s record in many years. They are both excellent.

    I agree that Bon Aver’s contribution for Folklore was much better, but I would not go so far as to suggest Taylor should stop duets.

    As for “Happiness,” the lyrics are really impactful on those who have loved and lost, but recognize that is indeed better than never having loved at all.

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    Silly spellcheck…that should be, of course, Bon Iver.

  3. Amy says:

    I haven’t familiarized myself with Evermore enough to do a full ranking, but after my first several listens, I’m inclined to agree with your placement of “Evermore,” while I would have “Happiness” much higher on my list. I actually find it to be one of the album’s most moving tracks.

    Regardless, I’m always impressed when you can pull a list like this together so quickly after an album drops (especially since, for the life of me, I can’t bring a single note of “Coney Island” into my head 🤣)

  4. Maddie says:

    For me this was every bit of the album Folklore is… maybe even surpassing it in some respects. I’m not sure I could take on the task of ranking it myself because I love each and every song so much. “happiness” holds a really personal place for me, so I know that would be much higher. I think it’s very complete and just one of those pieces that’s difficult to connect to for anyone who hasn’t been through a relationship like the one depicted. I’m looking forward to more Evermore discussion and hope this list makes the whole fam continue giving it further listens!

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