“Exile” by Taylor Swift (ft. Bon Iver)
“Exile” tells the tale of a certain man and a certain woman who were once a couple. However, for some reason, they were not able to grow their love and make their union flourish. The end result was that they ended up being torn apart. Simply put, their union collapsed. Now, the woman has apparently moved on and found a new lover.
Presently, the former lovers stumble upon each other. The man is apparently alone. However, his ex-lover is in the arms of another man.
This of course greatly saddens the man (who is portrayed by Justin Vernon). He can’t seem to understand how quickly she moved on after the relationship’s demise. To him, it just took only five minutes for her to find a new lover, leaving him alone and sad. However, the woman (who is portrayed by Taylor Swift) doesn’t see it that way. According to her, she gave him countless warning signs to change his behavior and try to salvage the relationship. He however, failed to see these signs.
Meaning of “Exile” as used in the Song
Interestingly enough, despite having moved on, the chance meeting also brings so much sadness into the heart of the woman. Just like the man, she too wishes they never broke up.
In the eyes of the former lovers, seeing each other from a distance, makes them feel they’re in exile from their respective treasured homelands (each other). The man considers the woman his “homeland” (i.e. where he belongs), and vice versa.
“I think I’ve seen this film before
And I didn’t like the ending”
After all is said and done, the ex-lovers liken the whole situation to a movie which they once watched. However, they disliked said movie’s ending. They therefore don’t want to watch it again, hence they are “leavin’ out the side door”. The last statement indicates their unwillingness to fight and salvage the relationship anymore. They know how it will end.
Is this the first time Taylor Swift is collaborating with Bon Iver?
Yes. “Exile” marked Taylor’s first time working with Justin Vernon and his band (Bon Iver).
Writing Credits and Release
Swift and Justin Vernon co-wrote this ballad with William Bowery. It features production from The Nationals singer and songwriter Aaron Dessner. It should be noted that both the song’s writing and production were done in isolation thanks to the coronavirus epidemic. On 24th, July 2020, Taylor’s team finally released this song as part of her eighth studio album. Said album (which was a surprise album) is titled “Folklore”.