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Taylor Swift - EXILE (feat. Bon Iver)

[Verse 1: Justin Vernon]
I can see you standing, honey
With his arms around your body
Laughin', but the joke's not funny at all
And it took you five whole minutes
To pack us up and leave me with it
Holdin' all this love out here in the hall

[Chorus: Justin Vernon]
I think I've seen this film before
And I didn't like the ending
You're not my homeland anymore
So what am I defending now?
You were my town, now I'm in exile, seein' you out
I think I've seen this film before

[Post-Chorus: Justin Vernon]
Ooh, ooh, ooh

[Verse 2: Taylor Swift]
I can see you starin', honey
Like he's just your understudy
Like you'd get your knuckles bloody for me
Second, third, and hundredth chances
Balancin' on breaking branches
Those eyes add insult to injury

"exile" is a song recorded by Taylor Swift, featuring singer Justin Vernon (credited as Bon Iver). As the fourth track on Swift's eighth studio album "folklore", it was written by Swift, William Bowery and Justin Vernon, and produced by Aaron Dessner. The song was serviced to alternative radio stations on August 3, 2020, by Republic Records, as the second single from the album. "exile" is a gospel-flavored, indie-folk ballad that serves as a duet of unspoken conversation between two former lovers, blending Swift's soft vocals with Vernon's baritone, over a plodding piano, swirling strings and soaring harmonies. “exile” describes two ex-lovers seeing each other following a break-up. Justin Vernon describes feelings of confusion about how quickly a lover moved on, while Swift offers a perspective about repeated warning signs that the relationship was no longer working. It’s also worth noting the contrast between Vernon’s rougher voice and Swift’s smoother one, which mirrors the contrast between their views of the relationship. The song prompted many comparisons to Swift’s 2012 track “The Last Time,” another song that discusses the downfall of a relationship. Much like “exile,” Swift and featured artist Gary Lightbody’s voices contrast in tone, highlighting their differences. “exile” is one of many folklore songs to contain a movie motif — other songs to do so include “the 1,” “this is me trying,” and “hoax.” It’s also her first collaboration with Bon Iver, who she called one of her “musical heroes” in an Instagram post announcing folklore. Swift spoke about the story behind the song in a clip she sent to radio stations in late August 2020: ""exile" is a song that was written about miscommunications in relationships, and in the case of this song, I imagined that the miscommunications ended the relationship. They led to the demise of this love affair, and now these two people are seeing each other out for the first time, and they keep miscommunicating with each other. They can’t quite get on the same page, they never were able to. And even in their end, even after they’ve broken up, they’re still not hearing each other. So we imagined the beginning would be his side of the story, the second verse her side of the story, and the end would be the story of them talking over each other and not hearing each other. We’re really stoked about how it turned out because it really does seem to be about the tragedy of two people, of two ships passing in the night." Bon Iver tweeted about their involvement on the song: "Very very honored to be a part of Taylor Swift’s album folklore. Shout out to Aaron Dessner for always being the great connector!" In an interview with Pitchfork (2020), producer Aaron Dessner discussed how the collaboration came together: "Taylor wrote that one with the singer-songwriter William Bowery. When Taylor sent it to me as a voice memo, she sang both the male and female parts—as much as she could fit in without losing her breath. We talked about who she was imagining joining her, and she loves Justin [Vernon]’s voice in Bon Iver and Big Red Machine. She was like, “Oh my god, I would die if he would do it. It would be so perfect.” I didn’t want to put pressure on Justin as his friend, so I said, “Well, it depends on if he’s inspired by the song but I know he thinks you’re rad.” Which he does. So I sent him the song and he was really into it. He tweaked some parts and added parts as well—the bridge where he says, “Step right out.” The end too, and his choral parts. It was fun because Justin and I work on a lot of stuff together, so it was very easy and natural. At some point I felt like a superfan, hearing two of my favorite singers. This was all being done remotely, but it was one of those moments where your head hits the back of the wall and you’re like, “Fuck. Okay.”" “exile” debuted at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the chart week of August 8, 2020. The track is Bon Iver’s first Top 10 hit on the chart.

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