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Holy Ground

RED (2012) | RED (Taylor's Version) [2021]

“Holy Ground” is a song on Taylor’s fourth studio album, RED (2012). It talks about moving on from a failed relationship and maturing from it. The title is a reference to a “safe” place, kind of like a truce. The re-recording of the song, “Holy Ground (Taylor’s Version)”, was released on November 12, 2021 on the album RED (Taylor’s Version).

Background

The song was written by Taylor alone. It is one of two songs of hers that Jeff Bhasker has produced (the other one being “The Lucky One“). When she started writing the track, she knew she wanted Bhasker to produce it. She contacted him and he agreed to work with her. As a result, “Holy Ground” sounds different from any of Taylor’s previous work. She explained the song’s meaning in an interview.

«The song ‘Holy Ground’ was a song that I wrote about the feeling I got after years had gone by and I finally appreciated a past relationship for what it was, rather than being bitter about what it didn’t end up being. And I was sitting there, thinking about it after I’d just seen him and I was just like, 'You know what, that was good.' It was, it was good, having that in my life, and I wrote the song and I immediately heard Jeff Bhasker’s production. I hadn’t ever worked with Jeff, but he has done some amazing work. I love what he’s done on Fun’s record, and I love his diversity. He’s just so talented, and so I called him and I said, 'I wrote this song. I really want you to work on it with me.' And I played it for him and he was like, 'Let’s go! This is great!' And he did such an amazing job on it.»

Taylor Swift

Lyrical Theme

In “Holy Ground,” Taylor is looking back at a whirl wind relationship from her past. She realizes that just because said relationship didn’t work out, doesn’t mean she can’t remember it fondly, or that it was wasted time. The memories are still safe and sacred. The song’s hidden message is “When you came to the show in SD” which leads to assumption that “Holy Ground” was written about Joe Jonas, who was spotted at Taylor’s San Diego show during the “Speak Now World Tour” in 2011.

Reception

“Holy Ground” was generally well-received, with some critics highlighting it as a standout track on RED. The song was also a fan favorite from the album, many of them hoping that it would eventually be made a single — which it wasn’t. But Taylor has performed “Holy Ground” several times over the years, one time transforming the originally up-beat song into an emotional piano ballad.

Taylor's Version

Taylor re-recorded “Holy Ground (Taylor’s Version)” for her second re-recorded album, RED (Taylor’s Version), which was released on November 12, 2021, through Republic Records. She told Amazon Music:

«The song 'Holy Ground' is one of my absolute favorite songs, not only on RED, but of any song that I have been a part of. And one of my favorite things about re-releasing the RED album is that all the original producers pretty much wanted to return to this project. So working with Jeff Bhasker was one of the highlights of my experience making RED, and he wanted to redo his songs on the album, and that was so exciting! The song is about looking back on an old relationship and kind of playing the highlight reel of really beautiful, poignant moments that you shared, and I think this song is just still one of my favorites.»

Taylor Swift

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
I was reminiscing just the other day,
While having coffee all alone and Lord, it took me away.
Back to a first-glance feeling on New York time.
Back when you fit in my poems like a perfect rhyme.
Took off faster than a green light, go,
Yeah you skip the conversation when you already know.
I left a note on the door with a joke we’d made,
And that was the first day.

[Chorus]
And darling, it was good never looking down.
And right there where we stood was holy ground.

[Verse 2]
Spinning like a girl in a brand new dress,
We had this big wide city all to ourselves.
We blocked the noise with the sound of ‘I need you’,
And for the first time I had something to lose.
And I guess we fell apart in the usual way.
And the story’s got dust on every page,
But sometimes I wonder how you think about it now.
And I see your face in every crowd.

[Chorus]
Cause darling, it was good never looking down.
And right there where we stood was holy ground.

[Bridge]
Tonight I’m gonna dance for all that we’ve been through.
But I don’t wanna dance if I’m not dancing with you.
Tonight I’m gonna dance like you were in this room.
But I don’t wanna dance if I’m not dancing with you.

[Chorus]
It was good, never looking down.
And right there where we stood was holy ground.

[Outro]
Tonight I’m gonna dance for all that we’ve been through.
But I don’t wanna dance if I’m not dancing with you.
Tonight I’m gonna dance like you were in this room.
But I don’t wanna dance if I’m not dancing with you.

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General Information
AlbumsRED
RED (Taylor’s Version)
ReleasedOctober 22, 2012
Re-ReleasedNovember 12, 2021
StudioEnormous (Los Angeles)
GenreHeartland Rock
Singer-Songwriter
Length3:22
LabelsBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwriterTaylor Swift
ProducerJeff Bhasker
RED CHRONOLOGY
The Last TimeHoly GroundSad Beautiful Tragic
Hidden Message
When you came to the show in SD
Song Artwork
Acoustic Live Performance
Lyric Video
Official Audio
Original Audio