Carolina (Taylor Swift song)

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"Carolina"
Cover artwork of "Carolina"
Promotional single by Taylor Swift
Written2020
ReleasedJune 24, 2022 (2022-06-24)
Genre
Length4:24
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)Taylor Swift
Producer(s)
Lyric video
"Carolina" on YouTube

"Carolina" is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for the 2022 mystery drama film Where the Crawdads Sing. It was released via Republic Records on June 24, 2022, accompanied by a lyric video. The song is titled after the Carolinas region in the United States, referring to the North Carolinian setting of the film.

Produced by Swift and Aaron Dessner, "Carolina" is a downtempo Appalachian folk ballad with Americana, country folk and bluegrass inflections. It is sung from the perspective of Kya, the lead character in the film, and driven by acoustic instruments of the early 1950s. Upon release, "Carolina" received widespread acclaim from music critics, who praised Swift's vocals, songwriting style, and the overall "haunting" atmosphere of the song.

Background and release[edit]

Where the Crawdads Sing is an upcoming mystery drama film starring Daisy Edgar-Jones in the lead role, directed by Olivia Newman and produced by Reese Witherspoon. It is a film adaptation of the 2018 novel of the same name written by American author Delia Owens. The story revolves around a girl named Kya, who grew up in a marsh in North Carolina and becomes a suspect in the murder of a man who once romantically pursued her.[1]

The first trailer for the film was released on March 22, 2022, and featured "Carolina" being played in the background. The trailer also revealed that the song was written and performed by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.[2] Another snippet of the song was revealed through a longer trailer of the film on May 22, 2022.[3][4] The release date of the song was teased by the film's official Instagram account, when they made a series of posts on June 22 with captions that had capitalized letters, spelling out "Carolina This Thursday" together.[5] The next day, the song's release date was confirmed as June 24, 2022.[6] A lyric video on YouTube accompanied the release.[7]

Writing and composition[edit]

"Carolina" was written solely by Swift and produced by her and Aaron Dessner, with whom she collaborated on her 2020 studio albums Folklore and Evermore.[8] According to Witherspoon, Swift wrote the song while working on Folklore but did not reveal that she had written "Carolina" until after she finished the song.[9] Swift stated on Instagram that she enjoyed the original novel by Owens, and as soon as she heard a film adaptation was "in the works", she wanted to be a part of its soundtrack. She said she aimed to create a "haunting and ethereal" song that captured the novel's "mesmerizing" story.[3][4]

"Carolina" plays over the ending credits, and Newman opined that it "reflects the tone of the story's ending".[6] It has been described as a Appalachian folk song[10] with Americana,[11] country folk,[12] and bluegrass elements,[13] on minor chords.[14] It was recorded in one take and only features instruments available before 1953—around the time when Where the Crawdads Sing takes place—acoustic instruments[15] such as mandolin, fiddle,[11] gentlely strummed acoustic guitar and "sweeping" strings.[10] The song begins with the sparse strums of the guitar and eventually expands into a "misty atmosphere" incorporating strings and banjo.[16] The lyrics are heavy with naturalistic imagery, such as creeks, backroads, mist, clouds, mud and pines,[14] inspired by the story's setting in North Carolina.[15] Swift's vocals in the song have been characterized as a "breathy" lower register.[15]

Critical reception[edit]

"Carolina" received acclaim from music critics. People journalist Jack Irvin described "Carolina" as a downtempo, "haunting ballad" with lyrics about "sneakily moving through various locations without being seen".[17] Variety critic Chris Willman felt the song is stylistically reminiscent of the music in Folklore and Evermore "at their most folky and subdued."[11] Emily Zemler and Kat Bouza reviewed the song for Rolling Stone, noting that the "haunting" song evokes the film's backwoods setting and the "elegiac" tone of Appalachian folk ballads and praising Swift's "otherworldly and siren-like" vocals.[10] Will Lavin of NME described Swift's vocals as "eerie".[18] In a glowing review for Clash, Robin Murray called the song a timeless "grand achievement" and the greatest example of Swift's ability to "suggest inner movement, the passing of time and emotion in only a few words." He praised the "innate" instrumentation, Swift's "minimalist yet potent" vocals, and the lyrics "somehow distilling Delia Owens' work—in all its breadth and depth—into a song of real brevity and power."[13]

Collider's Ryan O'Rourke described the song as a "chilling" tune with a haunting melody and "almost a loose re-telling of the events of the book."[12] Sam Sodomsky of Pitchfork said "Carolina" is an understated song, one that stems from the "darker corners" of Folklore and Evermore, abandoning the "language and texture of pop music in favor of old American folk songs". He further complemented the synergy between Swift's musical approaches in the song: the "ghost story-writing" of the lyrics, and the deep and slow vocals.[14] Lindsay Zoladz of The New York Times named "Carolina" one of the "spookiest" tracks in Swift's discography and "the closest [Swift has] come to writing an outright murder ballad" other than "No Body, No Crime" (2020).[16]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[19]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriting, production
  • Aaron Dessner – production, engineering, acoustic guitar, banjo, bass guitar, mandolin, piano, synthesizer
  • Reid Jenkins – fiddle
  • Randy Merrill – mastering
  • Jonathan Low – mixing, engineering

Charts[edit]

Weekly chart performance for "Carolina"
Chart (2022) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[20] 62
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[21] 49
Global 200 (Billboard)[22] 45
Ireland (IRMA)[23] 42
Netherlands (Single Tip)[24] 30
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[25] 5
UK Singles (OCC)[26] 63
US Billboard Hot 100[27] 60
Vietnam (Vietnam Hot 100)[28] 51

Release history[edit]

Release dates and formats for "Carolina"
Region Date Format(s) Label Ref.
Various June 24, 2022 Republic [29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Seth, Radhika (July 27, 2020). "See The New Trailer For Daisy Edgar-Jones's 'Where The Crawdads Sing', Featuring An Original Song By Taylor Swift". British Vogue. Archived from the original on May 21, 2022. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  2. ^ Rearick, Lauren (March 22, 2022). "Taylor Swift Debuts New Song 'Carolina' In 'Where the Crawdads Sing' Trailer". Teen Vogue. Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Kenneally, Cerys (March 17, 2022). "Hear another snippet of Taylor Swift's 'Carolina' song in the latest Where The Crawdads Sing trailer". The Line of Best Fit. Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Richards, Will (May 18, 2022). "Hear more of Taylor Swift's 'Carolina' in new 'Where the Crawdads Sing' trailer". NME. Archived from the original on June 23, 2022. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  5. ^ Hopper, Alex (June 23, 2022). "Taylor Swift is Set to Drop 'Where The Crawdads Sing' Theme Song 'Carolina'". American Songwriter. Archived from the original on June 23, 2022. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Willman, Chris (June 23, 2022). "Taylor Swift to Release 'Carolina,' Theme Song for 'Where the Crawdads Sing' Film, Tonight". Variety. Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  7. ^ Corcoran, Nina (June 24, 2022). "Listen to Taylor Swift's New Song "Carolina"". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  8. ^ Kaufman, Gil (June 23, 2022). "Taylor Swift About to Drop 'Where the Crawdads Sing' Theme Song 'Carolina'". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 23, 2022. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  9. ^ Goggins, Joe (June 23, 2022). "Taylor Swift confirms arrival of new soundtrack single 'Carolina'". Rolling Stone UK. Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  10. ^ a b c Zemler, Emily; Bouza, Kat (June 24, 2022). "Taylor Swift Is Haunted by Loneliness in Ethereal New Song 'Carolina'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  11. ^ a b c Willman, Chris (June 24, 2022). "Taylor Swift Treats 'Carolina' Like 'Folklore' in 'Where the Crawdads Sing' End Credits Theme". Variety. Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  12. ^ a b O'Rourke, Ryan (June 24, 2022). "'Where the Crawdads Sing': Taylor Swift Releases "Carolina" Track and Lyric Video". Collider. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  13. ^ a b Murray, Robin (June 24, 2022). "Taylor Swift's 'Carolina' Yearns Towards The Timeless". Clash Magazine. Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  14. ^ a b c Sodomsky, Sam. "Taylor Swift: "Carolina"". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  15. ^ a b c Dailey, Hannah (June 24, 2022). "Taylor Swift's New Song 'Carolina' for 'Where the Crawdads Sing' Is Finally Here: Stream It Now". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  16. ^ a b Pareles, Jon; Caramanica, Jon; Russonello, Giovanni; Zoladz, Lindsay (June 24, 2022). "Beyoncé's Dance-Floor Salvation, and 12 More New Songs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  17. ^ Irvin, Jack (June 24, 2022). "Taylor Swift Releases Haunting New Song 'Carolina' from Where the Crawdads Sing". People. Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  18. ^ Lavin, Will (June 24, 2022). "Hear Taylor Swift's new song 'Carolina' for 'Where The Crawdads Sing'". NME. Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  19. ^ "Credits / Carolina (From The Motion Picture 'Where The Crawdads Sing') / Taylor Swift". Tidal. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  20. ^ "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 4 July 2022". The ARIA Report. No. 1687. Australian Recording Industry Association. July 4, 2022. p. 4.
  21. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  22. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Global 200)". Billboard. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  23. ^ "Official Irish Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  24. ^ "Dutch Single Tip 02/07/2022". dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved July 2, 2022.
  25. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. July 4, 2022. Retrieved July 2, 2022.
  26. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  27. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  28. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Billboard Vietnam Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  29. ^ Swift, Taylor (June 24, 2022). "Carolina (From The Motion Picture "Where The Crawdads Sing") – Single". Apple Music (US). Archived from the original on June 24, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2022.