invisible string

folklore (2020)

“invisible string” is a song on Taylor’s eighth studio album, “folklore” (2020). It references an east Asian folk myth about a red (or in this case gold) thread of fate tying two soulmates together.

The song includes several nods to Taylor’s past work, including 2014’s “Bad Blood” and 2017’s “Delicate.” And like on “Red”, “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” and “Daylight,” she uses the connotations of different colors to convey the intensity of her love for a partner. She expresses gratitude for past romantic failures since they paved the way for her relationship with Joe Alwyn. In the album’s prologue, Taylor explains the song’s imagery: “A single thread that, for better or for worse, ties you to your fate.”

“You were sixteen at the yogurt shop”
is a reference to Joe Alwyn, Taylor’s boyfriend, who worked at Snogs’ Frozen Yogurt in London when he was younger. The dive bar also mentioned in these lyrics is the bar on the East Side where they met. “Now I send their babies presents” is, apparently, a nod to Taylor’s former boyfriend Joe Jonas and his wife Sophie Turner which had their first baby in summer 2020. In the documentary/concert film “folklore: the long pond studio sessions“, Taylor said what inspired her to write the song:

“When I first heard the track that [Aaron] sent me I thought, ‘I have to write something that matches it’. And pretty quickly I came upon the idea of fate. ‘Cause sometimes I just go into a rabbit hole of thinking about how things happen and I love the romantic idea that every step you’re taking, you’re taking one step closer to what you’re supposed to be, guided by this little invisible string. I wrote it right after I sent an ex a baby gift and I just remember thinking, ‘This is a full signifier that life is great!'” — Taylor Swift

Regarding the song’s production, producer Aaron Dessner told Vulture:

“That was another one where it was music that I’d been playing for a couple of months and sort of humming along to her. It felt like one of the songs that pulls you along. Just playing it on one guitar, it has this emotional locomotion in it, a meditative finger-picking pattern that I really gravitate to. It’s played on this rubber bridge that my friend put on [the guitar] and it deadens the strings so that it sounds old. The core of it sounds like a folk song. It’s also kind of a sneaky pop song, because of the beat that comes in. She knew that there was something coming because she said, ‘You know, I love this and I’m hearing something already.’ And then she said, ‘This will change the story,’ this beautiful and direct kind of recounting of a relationship in its origin.” — Aaron Dessner

“invisible string” debuted at No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the chart week of August 8, 2020.


[Verse 1]
Green was the color of the grass
Where I used to read at Centennial Park
I used to think I would meet somebody there
Teal was the color of your shirt
When you were sixteen at the yogurt shop
You used to work at to make a little money

Time, curious time
Gave me no compasses, gave me no signs
Were there clues I didn’t see?
And isn’t it just so pretty to think
All along there was some
Invisible string
Tying you to me?

[Verse 2]
Bad was the blood of the song in the cab
On your first trip to LA
You ate at my favorite spot for dinner
Bold was the waitress on our three-year trip
Getting lunch down by the Lakes
She said I looked like an American singer

Time, mystical time
Cutting me open, then healing me fine
Were there clues I didn’t see?
And isn’t it just so pretty to think
All along there was some
Invisible string
Tying you to me?

A string that pulled me
Out of all the wrong arms, right into that dive bar
Something wrapped all of my past mistakes in barbed wire
Chains around my demons
Wool to brave the seasons
One single thread of gold
Tied me to you

[Verse 3]
Cold was the steel of my axe to grind
For the boys who broke my heart
Now I send their babies presents
Gold was the color of the leaves
When I showed you around Centennial Park
Hell was the journey but it brought me heaven

Time, wondrous time
Gave me the blues and then purple-pink skies
And it’s cool
Baby, with me
And isn’t it just so pretty to think
All along there was some
Invisible string
Tying you to me?


General Information
ReleasedJuly 24, 2020
StudioKitty Committee Studio
(Los Angeles)
GenreIndie Folk
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Aaron Dessner
ProducerAaron Dessner
Single Certification
RIAA Gold Status
Official Lyric Video
Official Audio
Official Live Audio