Title: Decoding the Emotions in Taylor Swift’s Epiphany
The Opening to Taylor Swift’s Career
When Taylor Swift announced her album Folklore as her eighth studio effort out of blue in 2020, her fans went into a frenzied response. In the midst of a chaotic year, they got something unexpected that offered a respite. It’s no surprise that Folklore became historical for various reasons, but one of them is undoubtedly the song Epiphany. It is one of the album’s most potent tracks. Fans were immediately drawn to the song, intrigued by the nature of the lyrics and the melody.
While previously, Swift’s music had mostly been about herself and her relationships, Epiphany is a significant departure that observes the experiences of others. As Swift has made her name in relatable personal songwriting, Epiphany showed that she could use the same skills to tell stories for a broader audience.
The Meaning of Epiphany
Epiphany is not just a song; it is a heart-wrenching reminder of the world’s current and monumental crisis. In the context of the album, Epiphany talks about the need to find meaning during a time of distress. It offers a profound and hopeful message, an essential message that the world needs as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The song starts with Swift singing about her grandfather’s time as a medic during World War II. She then zooms out to look at healthcare workers’ experiences around the globe, risking their lives to save others:
“Some things you just can’t speak about
With you, I serve
With you, I fall down
Watch you breathe in, watch you breathing out
Something deep inside me died
When I slept without you”
The chorus is a powerful reminder of the sacrifices healthcare workers make every day :
“Only twenty minutes to sleep
But you dream of some epiphany
Just one single glimpse of relief
To make some sense of what you’ve seen.”
Swift sings about how these healthcare workers may only get twenty minutes to sleep in their fifteen-hour shifts, but even in their dreams, they are still searching for some epiphany.
Inspiration for Epiphany
Swift wrote Epiphany about the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected millions globally. She initially composed the song after watching documentaries about healthcare workers who are treating COVID-19 patients. Swift shared her inspiration in a recent interview with Rolling Stone:
“I wrote it about healthcare workers who are putting themselves at risk more than anyone else and don’t have a choice. What they’re doing is saying, really, ‘You can’t go anywhere else. I’ll stay here. And I’ll take care of this for you.’ That was so moving to me because, in my personal life, I’m drawn to discovering the good in things, and I’m drawn to silver linings and hope and lessons. And there just really was not that much there with this pandemic,” she explained.
Swift shared how she had gone into her own mind, her imagination, to find something hopeful to cling on to, and that’s what inspired Epiphany.
The Reaction to Epiphany
Epiphany released in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic’s first wave, so it was not surprising that its impact was felt immediately. Many fans worldwide were drawn to the track and its lyrics, as it spoke directly to their own struggles and experiences. Many healthcare workers even expressed their appreciation for the song, as it acknowledged their pain and sacrifice in a significant and meaningful way.
In a BBC interview with New York nurse Tara Rynders, she shared her thoughts on the song.
“This woman wrote an entire album in isolation with no studio time. That’s incredible, but it’s really the lyrics to Epiphany that hit me hard,” Rynders said.
She continued, “Those lyrics hit home because I’ve now seen beyond the worst moment of the pandemic. Now, as nurses, we are reflecting. We have all lost something-innocence, most importantly-because we know there is another pandemic around the corner. There is one that is going to affect mostly Black and Brown communities because of the injustices that have gone on for generations. The lyrics made my heart hurt, but they are so true.”
The Significance of Epiphany
Swift has undoubtedly used her platform, her talent, and her voice to speak to those who are affected and impacted by the pandemic daily. In Epiphany, Swift beautifully acknowledges a simple truth: that the world is suffering, but there is still hope and beauty to be found in the darkest of moments.
As we face an uncertain future, we can see Epiphany as a beacon of hope, a call to action, and a reminder of the sacrifices that many have made in the name of others’ health and safety. Swift’s Epiphany offers us an insight into her genius as a songwriter and her incredible career that continues to evolve.
In conclusion, Epiphany is a unique and powerful song that embodies the spirit of its time. It reminds us that our humanity and empathy have never been so essential, and it reminds us of the sacrifices many have made in service of humanity. As we navigate the future and continue to learn from our mistakes, we can look back on Epiphany as a song that offers hope, resilience, and a connection in a confusing, chaotic time.