Years ago, pop star Taylor Swift read Delia Owens’ 2018 novel Where The Crawdads Sing and was instantly hooked. When she found out that the novel was being made into a feature film, she leapt at the opportunity to participate musically. Thus, her latest track “Carolina” was born.
This slow, steady, haunting song is reminiscent of similar works on her evermore album and tells the story of the novel’s main character, Kya, who grew up as an isolated, abused young woman who is now accused of murder.
The track opens with an in-depth look at Kya’s rejected life (“Lost I was born, lonesome I came/Lonesome I’ll always stay”) and her preference to stay amongst the waters of Carolina (“Carolina creeks running through my veins”).
That’s a preference that grows all the more as she begins to recall abuse from her past (“Carolina stains on the dress she left/Indelible scars, pivotal marks”).
And while that abuse has certainly marked her, the focus here shifts to Kya’s need to escape as she’s been accused of murder, an accusation that the waters of Carolina can hopefully drown (“Carolina knows why for years they’ve said/That I was guilty as sin and sleep in a liars bed/…In between me, the sand and the sea/Carolina knows”).
Swift tweeted of her latest song that she wrote it “About a year and a half ago” and that her desire was to write a “story of a girl who always lived on the outside, looking in. Figuratively and literally.” She said it would be the sort of story of a young woman who possessed “persisting gentleness” and how the world destroyed what was inside of her.
She also said that she wanted to “create something haunting and ethereal” to match the heart of the novel. And, true to her words, this song is both of those things. Not only do you get a glimpse of the main character’s life, you can practically feel the mist rise from the creeks in the early morning as you listen.
For those worried that it might contain the novel’s problematic content, worry not: It’s a song that paints a picture of a troubled, rejected young woman, but it doesn’t go into nearly as much detail as the novel itself.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).