“tolerate it” is the fifth track on Taylor Swift’s second 2020 album ‘evermore.’ The fifth track on Taylor’s albums are known to be some of the most emotional tracks on each album.
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.
“tolerate it” is a song about an imbalance in love and passion in a relationship. While Taylor Swift seems to give him all she got, he does not reciprocate, he merely tolerates it.
Listen to “tolerate it” by Taylor Swift
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“tolerate it” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
In the first verse of the song, Taylor Swift narrates how she notices everything he does. This is not to sound creepy or intrusive of his privacy, but rather a sentiment of acknowledgment and noticing his behavior and life. This is just one of the contrasting traits of this relationship and Taylor ends the first verse with yet another; “You’re so much older and wiser.”
The chorus of the song illustrates Taylor’s child-like innocence and playfulness in the relationship. She waits by the door for his return, makes the table with the best items they got and uses vivid colors to paint his portrait. The latter could be literal and metaphorical. In a literal sense, Taylor Swift seems to be a housewife in this relationship (“I wait by the door”) and to pass the time she could be painting. Using vivid colors for a drawing resembles a child who uses all the colors at their disposal just because they can and it looks attractive to them. Metaphorically, ‘painting a picture of him’ is a reference to his image in her mind–how she portrays this guy in her head. Even in her thoughts, he is the best version of himself–colorful, vibrant, and live.
However, this vision of him is somewhat far from reality. Or maybe it is not, but there is no reciprocating of the same feelings. He just seems to “tolerate” her behavior. She wants to know if she is seeing this relationship through a rosy glass. She believes her love should be celebrated, not just tolerated.
Taylor piles up on the things she does for him. She gives him a hero’s welcome every day when he returns home from work. She keeps the house tidy and prepares food for him. She tolerates his grunts and groans. But, there seems to be no acknowledgment of her contribution to this relationship. Taylor wonders if this is how the ‘mature’ relationships are supposed to be. Because he is “so much older and wiser and I.”
Taylor feels like their little world has been crumbling down slowly while he was out there building others’. She wonders what happened to the man once was–one who gave her a safe haven. Now she just has to crave for the slightest nod of appreciation and affection. This is not a pleasant feeling.
In the final chorus of “tolerate it,” Taylor Swift wonders what would happen if she left this relationship. She mutters to herself that she could if she wanted to. It would make her less painful but would destroy whatever they had built so far. It is a constant battle in her head.
It almost seems like he has taken her love and appreciation for granted.
What are your thoughts on this song? Drop them in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.