taylor swift willow

Taylor Swift – willow | Lyrics Meaning & Song Review

“willow” is the first track and the lead single off of Taylor Swift’s second 2020 album ‘evermore.’ During the live stream leading to the premiere of the song, Taylor Swift revealed the idea behind the song; “‘willow’ is about intrigue, desire, and the complexity that goes into wanting someone. I think it sounds like casting a spell to make somebody fall in love with you (an oddly specific visual).”

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.

“willow” will be getting its own music video along with the album release, and shared a still from the music video shoot. The music video is directed by Taylor Swift herself.

During the livestream leaving up to the premiere of the music video, Taylor Swift revealed some Easter eggs in the video; “​There’s a scene in the video that represents the song seven, one that represents mirrorball, one for exile, and one for mad woman.”

Watch “willow” Music Video by Taylor Swift

Buy ‘evermore’ Album on Apple Music and Amazon

“willow” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review

Throughout the song, Taylor Swift compares her romantic life to a willow tree. A willow tree typically has a massive spread of branches and all of them seemingly bent to the floor. Due to this nature of branches and leaves, the tree is very susceptible to gusts of wind. However, nature has given the willow trees a strong and deep-running set of roots. So, even though the tree might look weak on the outside, it is quite firmly connected to the ground.

A typical weeping willow tree (Image: willowtrees-wordpress.com)
Verse 1

In the first verse of the song, Taylor Swift narrates the moment where she came across this person, whom now she calls ‘her man.’ Taylor was not open to a relationship at that time, but he just swept her from her feet. Maybe deep down she did want a relationship which is why she says she was only “rough on the surface,” and possibly soft and open on the inside.

An “open-shut” case is something that seems one way but the reality is the exact opposite. Even though Taylor tried to deny her feelings for him, it was a clear case that she was falling evermore into his trance.


The chorus of the song elaborates on the process of falling in love. Every word he mutters, Taylor gets drawn in blindly towards him. And she is begging him to marry her; something she had no intentions of doing before she met him. Whatever the lonesome plans she had before are all in wrecks now.

The lyric “Wherever you stray, I follow” is similar to the “Can I go where you go?” lyric from the “Lover” track on the ‘folklore’ album.

Verse 2

Taylor Swift brings back the metaphor of Willow trees to talk about her relationship with him. She swayed by the winds of his presence and the branches bent permanently towards him.

Taylor Swift also calls her boyfriend a “trophy or a champion ring.” Both of these items are what you get when you win a contest, and both are somethings you showcase to the world proudly. Taylor is proud to call him her man!

Verse 3

Taylor Swift talks about the mutual benefits of this relationship. He is a prized trophy for her; understanding, charming, and loving. She promises to heal his scars that previous lovers left on him. We could even say that the ‘open-shut’ nature of the relationship applies to both parties.

Let us hear what you think about the song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.

4 thoughts on “Taylor Swift – willow | Lyrics Meaning & Song Review

  1. I guess I totally misinterpreted this song.
    *I took the line, “the more that you say, the less I know” as a narcissist gaslighting her.
    *I took the line, “wherever you stray, I follow” as her still taking him back after cheating.
    *I took the line, “life was a willow and it bent right to your wind” as someone demanding who always gets what he wants.
    *I took the line, “wreck my plans” as a guy who controls her and her life.

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