hoax

folklore (2020)

An appropriate final track to the standard edition of Taylor’s eighth studio album, “folklore” (2020), an album filled with melancholy and darkness, “hoax” narrates the struggles someone endures in a toxic relationship.

According to an interview with co-writer Aaron Dessner, “hoax” and “the 1” were the final songs written, after the rest of the album was completed, and the two agreed that they should be added to the record as “bookends”. Taylor and Aaron Dessner talked about the writing process of the song in the documentary/concert film “folklore: the long pond studio sessions“:

“The word ‘hoax’ is another one that I love. I love that is has an ‘x’ and the way it looks and sounds. I think with this song being the last one on the album it kind of embodied all the things that this album was thematically: confessions, incorporating nature, emotional volatility and ambiguity at the same time, love that isn’t just easy. And it’s the most symbolic and poetic thing, listing all these things that this person is to you. And I remembered I asked [Aaron] for advice on this one. I think I said, ‘What if not all of these feelings are about the same person? What if I’m writing about several different, very fractured situations? One is about love, one is about a business thing that really hurt and one is about a relationship that I considered to be family and that really hurt.’ I definitely had a moment of doubt because I don’t usually do this, I usually know exactly what I’m writing about. And I was really happy when [Aaron] pushed me forward like, ‘Do the thing that makes you uncomfortable.’ Because I think that’s what makes it a song to me that really stands out. That line, ‘You know it still hurts underneath my scars from when they pulled me apart’ – anyone in my life knows what I’m singing about there but everybody has that situation in their life where you let someone in and they get to know you and they know exactly what buttons to push to hurt you the most. That thing where the scars healed over but there’s still phantom pain. I think the part that sounds like love to me is, ‘Don’t want no other shade of blue but you. No other sadness in the world would do.’ To me that sounds like what love really is. Who would you be sad with? And who would you deal with when they were sad? And like, gray skies every day for months, would you still stay?” — Taylor Swift

Musically, the song shares some similarities with “cardigan,” the second track on “folklore.” Aaron Dessner told Vulture:

“This is a big departure. I think she said to me, ‘Don’t try to give it any other space other than what feels natural to you.’ If you leave me in a room with a piano, I might play something like this. I take a lot of comfort in this. I think I imagined her playing this and singing it. After writing all these songs, this one felt the most emotional and, in a way, the rawest. It is one of my favorites. There’s sadness, but it’s a kind of hopeful sadness. It’s a recognition that you take on the burden of your partners, your loved ones, and their ups and downs. That’s both ‘peace‘ and ‘hoax’ to me. That’s part of how I feel about those songs because I think that’s life. There’s a reality, the gravity or an understanding of the human condition.” — Aaron Dessner

“hoax” debuted at No. 71 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the chart week of August 8, 2020.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
My only one
My smoking gun
My eclipsed sun
This has broken me down
My twisted knife
My sleepless night
My winless fight
This has frozen my ground

[Chorus]
Stood on the cliffside screaming, “Give me a reason”
Your faithless love’s the only hoax I believe in
Don’t want no other shade of blue but you
No other sadness in the world would do

[Verse 2]
My best laid plan
Your sleight of hand
My barren land
I am ash from your fire

[Chorus]
Stood on the cliffside screaming, “Give me a reason”
Your faithless love’s the only hoax I believe in
Don’t want no other shade of blue but you
No other sadness in the world would do

[Bridge]
You know I left a part of me back in New York
You knew the hero died so what’s the movie for?
You knew it still hurts underneath my scars
From when they pulled me apart
You knew the password so I let you in the door
You knew you won so what’s the point of keeping score?
You knew it still hurts underneath my scars
From when they pulled me apart
But what you did was just as dark
(Ah, ah, ah)
Darling, this was just as hard
As when they pulled me apart

[Outro]
My only one
My kingdom come undone
My broken drum
You have beaten my heart
Don’t want no other shade of blue but you
No other sadness in the world would do

General Information
Albumfolklore
ReleasedJuly 24, 2020
Recorded2020
StudioKitty Committee Studio
(Los Angeles)
GenreIndie Folk
Length3:40
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Aaron Dessner
ProducerAaron Dessner
Official Lyric Video
Official Audio
Official Live Audio