Home » Standalone Singles » Eyes Open

Eyes Open

Lead Single | The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond (2012)

“Eyes Open” is a song written and recorded by Taylor from the soundtrack album The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond (2012). The lyrics encourage Katniss Everdeen to survive the games by keeping her “Eyes Open”. The song is not included in the film but was released as the lead single from the album.
“Eyes Open” was one of two songs that Taylor wrote and recorded for the soundtrack to the film The Hunger Games, the other one being “Safe & Sound“. She first premiered the song during a performance in Auckland (New Zealand) on her “Speak Now World Tour“.

Background and Lyrical Theme

Taylor read The Hunger Games before she wrote the songs so she could really delve into Katniss’s character. In the Hunger Games 24 kids are chosen from each district, some by lottery, some train for it their whole lives. They all head to the Capitol for the annual Hunger Games. The competitors are placed in an arena with cameras filming their every move. Everybody is “watching to see the fallout”. The kids’ main goal is to kill all the other competitors. If they manage to do this they win the games and get to live the rest of their life within their district. Taylor said:

«I wrote it about Katniss’ relationship with the Capitol. It basically serves as a warning for her not to trust anyone, in many ways it is the opposite of ‘Safe & Sound.'»

Taylor Swift
Besides the meaning linked to Hunger Games, “Eyes Open” can be interpreted as something more. It is a metaphor for what happens when you grow up, step into real life and realize you’re on your own and everything depends on you, while in your early years you were looking forward to that; and then suddenly you realize life as an adult is pretty different from how you imagined it.

Critical Reception

“Eyes Open” garnered critical acclaim from contemporary critics — most of whom favorably noted the song’s more rock-oriented tone as compared to Taylor’s previous releases. While reviewing The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond, Matt Bjorke named “Eyes Open” one of the “standouts” on the record. Scott Shetler of Pop Crush gave the song four stars saying that “Eyes Open” “bridges the gap between Swift’s typical radio-friendly tales about the teenage experience and her most recent release, the mature, haunting ballad ‘Safe & Sound'”, but described the production of the song to be “the least country-sounding song Swift has ever recorded.” Jason Lipshutz of Billboard also found the same description of the song – stating that it “[exists] more in the modern rock vein than her usual country-pop oeuvre.”

Commercial Performance

“Eyes Open” entered the Billboard Hot 100 as the Hot Shot Debut at No. 19 with sales of 176,000 in its first week. It debuted on the Billboard Pop Songs chart at No. 28, making it Taylor’s highest Pop Songs chart debut at the time, later overtaken by “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” which debuted at No. 18. It became Taylor’s 16th million-seller and her second million-seller from the soundtrack to The Hunger Games. “Eyes Open” has sold 1.4 million copies in the US as of November 2017.

Lyrics

[Intro]
Everybody’s waiting
Everybody’s watching
Even when you’re sleeping
Keep your ey-eyes open

[Verse 1]
The tricky thing
Is yesterday we were just children
Playing soldiers just pretending
Dreaming dreams with happy endings
In backyards, winning battles with our wooden swords
But now we’ve stepped into a cruel world
Where everybody stands and keeps score
Keep your eyes open

[Chorus]
Everybody’s waiting for you to breakdown
Everybody’s watching to see the fallout
Even when you’re sleeping, sleeping
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open

[Verse 2]
So here you are, two steps ahead and staying on guard
Every lesson forms a new scar
They never thought you’d make it this far
But turn around (turn around), oh they’ve surrounded you
It’s a showdown (showdown) and nobody comes to save you now
But you’ve got something they don’t
Yeah, you’ve got something they don’t
You’ve just gotta keep your eyes open

[Chorus]
Everybody’s waiting for you to breakdown
Everybody’s watching to see the fallout
Even when you’re sleeping, sleeping
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes

[Bridge]
Keep your feet ready
Heartbeat steady
Keep your eyes open
Keep your aim locked
The night goes dark
Keep your eyes open (keep your eyes open)

[Chorus]
Everybody’s waiting for you to breakdown
Everybody’s watching to see the fallout
Even when you’re sleeping, sleeping
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open
Keep your ey-eyes open

General Information
ReleasedMarch 27, 2012
Recorded2011
GenreAlternative Rock
Length4:04
LabelBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwriterTaylor Swift
ProducersNathan Chapman
Taylor Swift
Single Certification
Single Artwork
Live Performance
Lyric Video
Official Audio