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Soon You'll Get Better

Feat. The Chicks | Lover (2019)

On her seventh studio album, Lover (2019), Taylor dedicates the heartbreaking “Soon You’ll Get Better” to her mother, Andrea, who was diagnosed with cancer in April 2015 and then re-diagnosed again, which Taylor revealed in an interview in March 2019. Since the song is so personal, she said putting it on the album was “a family decision”.
Knowing how close Taylor is with her mother, it’s no surprise she decided to devote a track to her. Taylor wrote in a 2019 piece for ELLE Magazine that her entire outlook on life changed after the diagnosis:

«My mom’s cancer has taught me that there are real problems and then there’s everything else. My mom’s cancer is a real problem. I used to be so anxious about daily ups and downs. I give all of my worry, stress, and prayers to real problems now.»

Taylor Swift

Background and Lyrical Theme

“Soon You’ll Get Better” is about the battles Taylor’s parents have had with cancer, and specifically on her mother’s latest diagnosis. In a live video broadcast on YouTube the day before the album’s release, Taylor told fans that the song was the hardest on the album to write, adding that the choice to publish it was made in a family discussion because of how personal it is. Fans who were invited to Taylor’s “Lover Secret Sessions” have reported that she left the room when the song played.

The song features the American country trio The Chicks; a picture of the band was featured as an easter egg in the music video for the album’s lead single, “ME!“. Taylor previously performed with The Chicks shortly after her mother’s first cancer diagnosis in 2015, and has cited the band’s fifth studio album, Fly (1999), as an influence on the aesthetic of Lover.

«There's a song called 'Soon You'll Get Better' that was really, really hard to write, and it was a family decision to even put on the album, and I think songs like that that are really hard for you to write emotionally, maybe they're hard to write and hard to sing because they’re really true. We as a family decided to put this on the album. It's something I'm so proud of. I can't sing it. It's hard to emotionally deal with that song.»

Taylor Swift
In a July 2020 interview with Billboard, The Chicks admitted that collaborating with Taylor “felt like a lot of pressure”, wondering “what if we don’t like this song? How are we going to say no to Taylor Swift?”; however the trio liked the song and recorded their backing vocals. Natalie Maines stated that Taylor is showing “that vulnerable place of figuring this shit out for herself”, while Emily Strayer added that “the power she [Taylor] has right now to change things is way beyond any power we [The Chicks] ever had. She’s in a different position than we ever were.”

Live Performance

On April 18, 2020, Taylor performed a solo piano rendition of “Soon You’ll Get Better” as part of the Lady Gaga-curated One World: Together At Home television special, a benefit event by Global Citizen to raise funds for the World Health Organization’s “Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.” Considering Taylor mentioned multiple times during the album’s release that she couldn’t even listen to the song without crying, made the performance all the more special and meaningful.

The performance received widespread acclaim from television critics. HuffPost named Taylor’s performance as the number-one key moment of Together At Home, by stating that Taylor moved “us to tears with her stunning performance”, and added that the track is a “somber recollection of Taylor’s feelings during her mother’s battle with cancer, so it’s already a heart-wrenching listen, but took on another meaning in the current climate, when so many thousands of people have lost their lives due to COVID-19”. Naming the performance as one of the 10 best moments of the event, Billboard commended that Taylor “effectively ripped our hearts out and reminded us of the power of music to both reflect and ease our pain. It was a tough, lovely and cathartic moment”.

Critical Reception

“Soon You’ll Get Better” received widespread critical acclaim, often being noted as a highlight from Lover, with critics praising Taylor’s “sincere” vocal performance, the “vulnerable” songwriting and the acoustic instrumentation of the song. Rolling Stone said that it contains the “most vulnerable lyrics Swift has written in her entire career”. USA Today said that it ranked among her saddest songs, referring to her previous charity single “Ronan“, also about cancer. Entertainment Weekly named “Soon You’ll Get Better” as one of the ten “most emotionally devastating” songs of the 2010s decade and stated that the “heartbreaking” lyrics showcase Taylor’s pain and worry effectively. They also labelled the bridge of the song as “the saddest” bridge in Taylor’s discography.

Commercial Performance

Upon the release of Lover, “Soon You’ll Get Better” debuted at No. 63 on the Billboard Hot 100 with 10.3 million US streams and 9,000 downloads sold. The song also debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, becoming Taylor’s twenty-first top-10 entry and her first since Sugarland’s “Babe” (2018).

Lyrics

[Verse 1: Taylor Swift]
The buttons of my coat were tangled in my hair
In doctor’s-office-lighting, I didn’t tell you I was scared
That was the first time we were there
Holy orange bottles, each night I pray to you
Desperate people find faith, so now I pray to Jesus too
And I say to you

[Chorus: Taylor Swift & The Chicks]
Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, you’ll get better soon
‘Cause you have to

[Verse 2: Taylor Swift]
I know delusion when I see it in the mirror
You like the nicer nurses, you make the best of a bad deal
I just pretend it isn’t real
I’ll paint the kitchen neon, I’ll brighten up the sky
I know I’ll never get it, there’s not a day that I won’t try
And I’ll say to you

[Chorus: Taylor Swift & The Chicks]
Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, you’ll get better soon
‘Cause you have to

[Bridge: Taylor Swift & Dixie Chicks]
And I hate to make this all about me
But who am I supposed to talk to?
What am I supposed to do
If there’s no you?

[Pre-chorus: Taylor Swift]
This won’t go back to normal, if it ever was
It’s been years of hoping, and I keep saying it because
‘Cause I have to

[Chorus Variation: Taylor Swift & The Chicks]
Ooh-ah, you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, you’ll get better soon
Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
Ooh-ah, you’ll get better soon
‘Cause you have to

General Information
AlbumLover
FeatureThe Chicks
ReleasedAugust 23, 2019
GenreCountry
Length3:20
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Jack Antonoff
ProducersJack Antonoff
Taylor Swift
LOVER CHRONOLOGY
London BoySoon You’ll Get BetterFalse God
Live Performance
Official Audio