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Bigger Than The Whole Sky

Bonus Track | Midnights (3am Edition) [2022]

“Bigger Than The Whole Sky” is the fifteenth track on Taylor’s tenth studio album, Midnights (2022). It is also the second bonus track on the 3am Edition of the album. In this grief ballad, written by Taylor and Jack Antonoff, she mourns a goodbye that came too soon, without trying to describe what’s been lost or what kind of future is ending.
“Bigger Than The Whole Sky” is a song about heartache after a significant event, which some listeners have felt a connection to in relation to miscarriages that they have experienced. The song is being used on TikTok and other social media platforms for people to share stories of their miscarriages.

Background and Release

On August 28, 2022, Taylor announced her tenth studio album, Midnights, set for release on October 21, 2022. On October 16, she posted a short video on her social media that presented a schedule of the days leading up to the album release, entitled “Midnight Manifest”. On it, Taylor also teased a “Special very chaotic surprise” happening 3 hours after the albums release. This materialized into a digital and streaming only version of the album titled Midnights (3am Edition), containing an additional seven songs that according to Taylor were written but removed to keep the album at 13 songs. One of those songs is “Bigger Than The Whole Sky.” Taylor said:

«I think of Midnights as a complete concept album, with those 13 songs forming a full picture of the intensities of that mystifying, mad hour. However! There were other songs we wrote on our journey to find that magic 13. I’m calling them 3am tracks. Lately I’ve been loving the feeling of sharing more of our creative process with you, like we do with 'From The Vault' tracks. So it’s 3am and I’m giving them to you now.»

Taylor Swift

Lyrical Theme

It’s rare to hear Taylor begin a song by admitting she’s at a loss for words — and mean it. But that’s what makes “Bigger Than the Whole Sky” so powerfully understated. The exact direction of the song is left at a question mark. However, there are two main ideas behind the song. First, a short-lived relationship and the narrator trying to contemplate what could have been. The second idea is that the song could be written from the perspective of a mother who lost a child soon after birth or at a very young age. The mother weeps for a future without her child. The line “I’m never gonna meet what could’ve been, would’ve been, what should’ve been you” seems to allude to that. The mother would have been imagining a whole life with her child, only to lose them very quickly. That future timeline was completely wiped off of existence.

In the second verse, the Butterfly effect is mentioned, which is an idea in chaos theory that one small incident in some remote corner of a system has a multiplying effect on another corner of the system. This is visualized as when a butterfly flaps its wings in Asia, a tornado is given birth in America. Did some random incident somewhere cause this person to be taken away from her? Or did she not pray enough? Was this God’s punishment for lack of faith? Whatever the situation, at the end Taylor tries to rationalize her loss by shrugging that “it’s not meant to be,” but then rips that cliché apart as a lie she refuses to believe. Some things are meant to be, but aren’t, and those can be the toughest to mourn.

Critical Reception

“Bigger Than The Whole Sky” received acclaim from music critics. Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone ranked it as Taylor’s thirteenth best song (out of 229), praising the eloquent depiction of grief and loss.

Commercial Performance

In the United States, songs from Midnights occupied the entire Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100; a historic feat. “Bigger Than The Whole Sky” debuted at No. 21 on the chart. Taylor became the first artist to simultaneously occupy the Top 10 spots of the Hot 100; the female artist with the most Top 10 songs (40); and the first act to occupy the entire Top 10 of the Hot 100, Streaming Songs, and Digital Songs charts simultaneously. Midnights also became the first album in history to contain ten Top 10 songs.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
No words appear before me in the aftermath
Salt streams out my eyes and into my ears
Every single thing I touch becomes sick with sadness
‘Cause it’s all over now
All out to sea

[Chorus]
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
You were bigger than the whole sky
You were more than just a short time
And I’ve got a lot to pine about
I’ve got a lot to live without
I’m never gonna meet
What could’ve been, would’ve been
What should’ve been you
What could’ve been, would’ve been you

[Verse 2]
Did some bird flap its wings ovеr in Asia?
Did some force take you bеcause I didn’t pray?
Every single thing to come has turned into ashes
‘Cause it’s all over
It’s not meant to be
So I’ll say words I don’t believe

[Chorus]
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
You were bigger than the whole sky
You were more than just a short time
And I’ve got a lot to pine about
I’ve got a lot to live without
I’m never gonna meet
What could’ve been, would’ve been
What should’ve been you
What could’ve been, would’ve been you

[Bridge]
What could’ve been, would’ve been
What should’ve been you
What could’ve been, would’ve been you

[Final Chorus]
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
You were bigger than the whole sky
You were more than just a short time
And I’ve got a lot to pine about
I’ve got a lot to live without
I’m never gonna meet
What could’ve been, would’ve been
What should’ve been you

General Information
ArtistTaylor Swift
AlbumMidnights
ReleasedOctober 21, 2022
Recorded2021-2022
StudioRough Customer (Brooklyn, NY)
Electric Lady (New York, NY)
GenreIndie Pop
Length3:38
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Jack Antonoff
ProducersJack Antonoff
Taylor Swift
MIDNIGHTS CHRONOLOGY
The Great WarBigger Than The Whole SkyParis
Lyric Video
Official Audio