“Epiphany” is the thirteenth track on Taylor Swift’s 2020 album ‘Folklore.’ The song touches on the horrible experiences of the soldiers in battle, a theme that Taylor had not touched before on her discography.
Taylor Swift announced her 8th studio album ‘Folklore‘ just a few hours ahead of the album release on July 24, 2020. The album had no singles prior to the album release, and Taylor stated the reason for the ‘surprise’ album release as the “uncertainty” surrounding the world right now.
On Instagram, Taylor Swift revealed that the song is inspired by her grandfather, Dean, landing at Guadalcanal in 1942.
Listen to “epiphany” by Taylor Swift
Buy ‘Folklore’ Album on Apple Music and Amazon
“epiphany” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
“Keep your helmet, keep your life, son” are some of the most common and gruesome advises a soldier would hear in a battle situation. This alludes to how insecure their lives are during a war and how poorly protected they are. All in all, the very first lyric of the song delivers a dagger into the hearts of many, opening eyes about the reality of men at war.
“Crawling up the beaches” is when an army invades a foreign nation. They land at the shore and push inland. A lot of men perish just in this attempt at securing a landing spot. And words such as “Sir, I think he’s bleeding out” are not to be spoken during the war, because the war itself is bigger than one man at the time! These words will be left on deaf ears, mostly due to the sheer circumstances they are stuck in.
These lyrics sum up the life of a soldier at war. “With you,” is probably a reference to their fellow soldiers on the ground, and they serve and fall together. One minute they watch each other breath and the next, not any more…
In the second verse, Taylor Swift turns her attention towards a sick woman, possibly even a soldier’s wife. She has a disease that spreads on contact, much like the current global pandemic Coronavirus COVID-19. People are only allowed to touch her with plastic gloves. The sick woman does not get any human touch in her last moments breathing. Equally tragic as that of war.
In these lyrics, Taylor compares the professions of soldiers and doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic. In extreme war situations, soldiers do not receive the luxury of sleeping extended hours. Some times a soldier would get a half-hour of sleep while his fellow brother keeps watch. Sleeping on the job could mean their life. During the Coronavirus pandemic, the doctors and nurses around the world worked around the clock to save lives and prevent further spread of the virus.
An ‘epiphany’ refers to a sudden realiztion or a breakthrough. In the above situations, an epiphany would be a vision of being home, with loved ones, and at peace!
The song encapsulates traumatizing experiences from two different aspects of life that we just “can’t speak about.”
Let us know what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.