“ivy” is the tenth track on Taylor Swift’s second 2020 album ‘evermore.’ The song narrates the story of infidelity, a topic Taylor has touched upon before.
Taylor Swift announced her 9th studio album ‘evermore‘ in quick succession to her previous studio album ‘folklore‘ which was released in July 2020. Both albums follow a similar theme and Taylor called them ‘sister-records.’ “To try and put it more poetically, it feels like we were standing on the edge of the folklorian woods and had a choice: to turn and go back or to travel further into the forest of this music. We chose to wander deeper in,” said Taylor Swift announcing the album. The ‘evermore’ album releases on December 11, 2020.
Taylor Swift uses the plant ‘ivy’ as a metaphor for her feelings growing on the guy whom she has no claim on. Ivies are evergreen climbing or ground-creeping plants that grow on something else.
Listen to “ivy” by Taylor Swift
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“ivy” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
In the first verse of the song, Taylor narrates how she met this guy who illuminated a light inside of her that she didn’t even know existed. She tells us that this glow was tarnished, but no reasons are given as to why. She also paints a picture of how fast and deeply she connected with this person “I’d meet you where the spirit meets the bones.” And this, too, in a cursed land (“faith forgotten”) according to Taylor Swift. Why?
Maybe reasons will get clearer n these lyrics. Taylor Swift talks about an old widow who visits her husband’s gravestone every day. But Taylor says she doesn’t. This alludes that Taylor might be a widow herself. But instead of visiting her late husband’s gravestone, Taylor grieves for the living.
In the chorus of the song, the intricacies of the song become clearer. Taylor Swift describes a situation of infidelity where she is wrapped up in the bed with a guy. However, the punchline is that Taylor’s hand has been promised to another, or she is engaged to another guy. And Taylor knows this is wrong, but she cannot stop because of all the reasons she laid for us in the first verse.
Taylor compares his affection growing on her like Ivy growing on a stone house. Taylor might be referring to herself as a ‘stone house’ out of the fact that she is strong and numbed to feelings about her infidelity.
In the second verse, Taylor Swift wonders what makes her so weak in the presence of him and long for his touch. She might even call him cursed with the way he makes her feel.
In the third verse of the song, Taylor Swift contemplates her future. Is she to keep on drinking from this forbidden fountain or be the good girl everybody expects her to be and succumb to a mundane life with her betrothed. She understands that if anybody finds out about her infidelity, her life would be scarred. So, she contemplates running away with this mystic man under the crescent moonlight. Despite how wrong it feels, she would die for the moments that she had with this man, on the little time she managed to scrape off of her ‘normal’ life.
Taylor describes her emotions all throughout these scenarios in her life. She calls it fire, burning in the daylight and burning in the nightlight. It is a war in her head and a cursed fight for her life.
There are some serious emotions and heat wrapped up in these lyrics talking about infidelity. Taylor has touched on the same topic in “illicit affairs” in her previous album ‘folklore.’
What are your thoughts on the song? Drop them in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.