For lyrics see State of Grace (lyrics)
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"State of Grace" is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift from her fourth studio album Red (2012). It was released on October 16, 2012 in the United States by Big Machine Records as the fourth and final promotional single from the album. It was written by Swift and produced by Nathan Chapman. Musically, the song is a departure from Swift's typical country pop, using influences of alternative rock whilst being compared to bands such as U2, Muse and The Cranberries. The song has received acclaim from music critics, who have praised its broader sound in comparison with Swift's previous material.


During her preview of the song on GMA, Swift described the song as such: “I wrote this song about when you first fall in love with someone — the possibilities, kind of thinking about the different ways that it could go. It’s a really big sound. To me, this sounds like the feeling of falling in love in an epic way.”[1]

Critical reception

Entertainment Weekly, like many reviewers, noted the song's "Brit rock" sound and U2 influence. "On “State of Grace,” which Swift released yesterday, she sounds heavily influenced by U2 (or even Switchfoot)" reports Grady Smith, "ethereal guitars and moody overtones ring out over a driving midtempo drum beat as she delivers a lyric you could imagine Bono singing: “This is a state of grace/This is a worthwhile fight/ Love is a ruthless game unless you play it good and right.” While Swift’s songs are usually quite lyrically driven (and this is a good thing), “State of Grace” is more about the build — that dawning sense of triumphant wonder that accompanies love — and the extended instrumental breaks provide a more forceful, mature impact than Swift’s standard sass."[2]

Jenna Hally Rubenstein, writing for MTV's Buzzworthy Blog, was very positive about the song, feeling that "both melodically and lyrically, Taylor delves deep as she sings about true love's free fall."[3] Placing it somewhere between We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and Red in terms of genre, she also noted that "[State of Grace]'s sparkling production and powerhouse vocals definitely has the record in the realm of pop, but Taylor's country twang isn't too far behind either."

Spin reporter Marc Hogan identified State of Grace as "the one Rolling Stone previously described as a "howling, U2-style epic with reverb-drenched guitars,"" and went on to praise Swift's take on the sound: "but what had gone unmentioned is how brutally effective it is. More "whoa-oh"-ing than literally "howling," but streaked with unexpected feedback, Swift recognizes that Joshua Tree-era U2 is as traditional now as country, anyway, and adapts its melodramatic uplift to her own first-person romantic observations."[4]

The Los Angeles Times thought the track was Swift's most arresting and promising song yet. "It's the least obviously "re-inventing" single from the album so far," August Brown of the Times commented, "[but] this song might be the most effective." The article offered this elaboration on that assessment: "[The song] has a strong U2 streak to it, with feedback- and echo-drenched guitars and some of her most for-the-rafters vocals yet. Despite Red being tipped as a "breakup album," this one is all love-struck optimism, a setting she's worked well in before."[5]

Adam Graham of The Detroit News raved about the song's "epic" production and mature feel. "“State of Grace” — the opening track on Red — feels like something of a game-changer for Swift," he says, "a big-time, grown-up rock anthem that feels like it’s wrapping its arms around the top row of the cheap seats. [...] The song’s best bit comes in the second verse when the bass drops out entirely, a moment of solemnity as Swift sings, “we are alone, just you and me/ up in your room and our slates are clean.” She’s creating moments of intimacy within the booming sonics of the song, and showing a flare for dynamics we didn’t know she had in her."[6]

Live performances

Swift performed the song live for the first time on November 15, 2012 during the second season of The X Factor.[7]Swift also performed the song at Z100 Jingle Ball on Madison Square Garden.[8]

This song opened the Red Tour.


Chart (2012) Peak
Australia (ARIA) 44
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) 9
Ireland (IRMA) 43
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 20
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 36
US Billboard Hot 100 13

Hidden message

Hidden message: I love you doesn't count after goodbye.

The album begins on a sour note. In fact, the first five songs find Swift dealing with lovers past more than lovers future. It's not clear who this lyric is about, but the line that goes "Just twin fire signs / Four blue eyes" has us thinking it's the same guy who inspired the title track.


I’m walking fast through the traffic lights
Busy streets and busy lives
And all we know... is touch and go
We are alone with our changing minds
We fall in love til' it hurts or bleeds or fades in time

And I never saw you coming
And I’ll never be the same

You come around and the armor falls
Pierce the room like a cannonball
Now all we know... is don't let go
We are alone just you and me
Up in your room, and our slates are clean
Just twin fire signs, four blue eyes
So you were never a saint
And I’ve loved in shades of wrong
We learn to live with the pain
Mosaic broken hearts
But this love is brave and wild

And I never saw you coming
And I’ll never be the same

This is a state of grace
This is the worthwhile fight
Love is a ruthless game
Unless you play it good and right
These are the hands of fate
You're my Achilles heel
This is the golden age of something good and right and real

And I never saw you coming
And I’ll never Be the same

And I never saw you coming
And I’ll never be the same

This is a state of grace
This is the worthwhile fight
Love is a ruthless game
Unless you play it good and right


  1. ABC News. "Taylor Swift New Song 'State of Grace' Preview Off New Album 'Red'". YouTube. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  2. Smith, Grady (Oct 16, 2012). "Taylor Swift channels U2 on new track 'State of Grace': Hear it here". The Music Mix. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  3. Rubenstein, Jenna Hally. "New Song: Taylor Swift, 'State of Grace'". MTV Buzzworthy Blog. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  4. Hogan, Marc (Oct 16, 2012). "Taylor Swift Reaches 'State of Grace' on Feedback-Streaked Rock Anthem". Spin. Buzz Media. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  5. Brown, August (Oct 16, 2012). "Taylor Swift releases 'State of Grace' single". Music. Los Angeles Times.,0,4301656.story. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  6. Graham, Adam (Oct 16, 2012). "Listen: Taylor Swift swings for the fences with 'State of Grace'". Poptropolis. The Detroit News. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  7. "Who Was Eliminated On Tonight's X-Factor?". TVByTheNumbers. Zap2It. Nov 9, 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012.

External links

  • Taylor Swift official site: single, album (with lyrics)
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