Coney Island (Taylor Swift song)

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"Coney Island"
Single by Taylor Swift featuring the National
from the album Evermore
ReleasedJanuary 18, 2021 (2021-01-18)
Recorded2020
Genre
Length4:35
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Aaron Dessner
  • Bryce Dessner
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"No Body, No Crime"
(2021)
"Coney Island"
(2021)
"Gasoline"
(2021)
The National singles chronology
"Never Tear Us Apart"
(2020)
"Coney Island"
(2021)
"Somebody Desperate"
(2021)
Lyric video
"Coney Island" on YouTube

"Coney Island" (stylized in all lowercase) is a song by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift from her ninth studio album, Evermore (2020), featuring the American band the National. Joe Alwyn co-wrote the song under the pseudonym William Bowery. The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner co-wrote and produced the song, and Matt Berninger contributed guest vocals. Republic Records sent "Coney Island" to US adult album alternative radio as a single on January 18, 2021.

"Coney Island" is an alternative rock and indie folk song set in a waltz tempo and features Swift duetting with Berninger. Lyrically, it depicts a separated couple's memories in Coney Island, New York City. The song peaked at number 45 on the Billboard Global 200 and entered on the charts in Australia, Canada, and the United States. In April 2023, Swift performed "Coney Island" as a "surprise song" for her sixth headlining concert tour, the Eras Tour.[1]

Background[edit]

Taylor Swift had collaborated with The National's Aaron Dessner on her 2020 album Folklore, an indie folk album that departs from the upbeat pop production of her previous releases.[2] She and Dessner worked again on her follow-up album Evermore, a "sister record" to Folklore. This time, they also worked with Bryce Dessner, Aaron Dessner's twin brother.[3]

The Dessner brothers sent Swift some of the instrumentals they made for their band, The National. One of those was what would become "Coney Island". Swift and her then-boyfriend, English actor Joe Alwyn, wrote its lyrics, and recorded it with her vocals. After listening to the demo, the Dessner brothers observed that the song feels very related to The National, and envisioned Matt Berninger (lead vocalist of The National) singing it, and Bryan Devendorf (drummer of The National) playing its drums. Aaron Dessner informed Berninger, who was "excited" for the idea. The band assembled, Devendorf played the drums, while his brother Scott Devendorf played the bass and pocket piano; Bryce Dessner helped produce the song.[3]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Coney Island" centers on a couple who recall their memories together in Coney Island, an entertainment area in New York City.

"Coney Island" is an alternative rock and indie folk song[4] written in the waltz tempo.[5][6] The song features The National, with frontman Matt Berninger on vocals. Berninger said that work experience with Swift was "like dancing with Gene Kelly. She made [him] look good and didn't drop [him] once". The lyrics are about the hollow feelings of losing oneself in a relationship that has gone.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Spin critic Bobby Olivier described "Coney Island" as a "wonderfully dark duet" that feels like "a lonely waltz down a Brooklyn boardwalk", and praised the fusion of Swift's "wispy" head voice with Berninger's bass.[8] Chris Willman of Variety compared the song to "Exile" (2020), another similar duet on Swift's preceding album, where former lovers take turns in blaming each other, with the opposite happening in "Coney Island".[9] Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph wrote that the song "offers an insight into where their aesthetics meet", counterpointing Swift's "lucid, melodious voice" aside "the mumbled intensity" of Berninger's baritone.[10]

Tom Breihan of Stereogum called "Coney Island" the "dourest" moment of evermore, alike "The Last Time" in Swift's fourth studio album, Red (2012).[11] Craig Jenkins of Vulture complimented Berninger's baritone and Swift's delicate vocals: "you hear [the song] and you start to wonder if the low end notes on these albums are another bout of trying out other singer-songwriters' wares".[12] In less favourable reviews, The Guardian's Alexis Petridis welcomed the guest appearance of Berninger, but found the lyrics to be "subpar" without "much substance".[13] Pitchfork's Sam Sodomsky opined that Berninger's vocals felt out of place on the song.[14] It was deemed one of the album's weaker tracks by Slate's Carl Wilson.[15]

Commercial performance[edit]

All of the tracks on Evermore debuted inside the top-75 of the Billboard Global 200 chart simultaneously; "Coney Island" was at number 45. In the US, the song opened at number 63 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 12 on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart.[16] The song reached number 31 on the Canadian Hot 100.[17] It further reached number 15 on the Flemish Ultratop 100, and number 43 in Australia. Upon service to US alternative radio, "Coney Island" reached number 18 on the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart.

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[18]

  • Taylor Swift – lead vocals, songwriting
  • The National – featured artist
  • William Bowery – songwriting
  • Clarice Jensen – cello
  • Justin Treuting – drums, percussion
  • Greg Calbi – mastering engineer
  • Steve Fallone – mastering engineer
  • Jonathan Low – mixer, recording engineer, vocal engineer
  • Robin Baynton – vocal engineer
  • Sean O'Brien – vocal engineer
  • Yuki Numata Resnick – violin

Charts[edit]

Chart performance of "Coney Island"
Chart (2020) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[19] 42
Belgium (Ultratip Bubbling Under Flanders)[20] 8
Global 200 (Billboard)[21] 45
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[22] 31
Portugal (AFP)[23] 150
UK Audio Streaming (OCC)[24] 75
US Billboard Hot 100[25] 63
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[26] 18
US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs (Billboard)[27] 12
US Rolling Stone Top 100[28] 32

Certification[edit]

Certification for "Coney Island"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[29] Gold 35,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Release dates and formats for "Coney Island"
Region Date Format Label Ref.
United States January 18, 2021 Triple A radio Republic [30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Iasimone, Ashley (April 24, 2023). "All the Surprise Songs Taylor Swift Has Performed on The Eras Tour (So Far)". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 19, 2023. Retrieved May 1, 2023.
  2. ^ "Let's Talk About Taylor Swift's 'Folklore'". NPR. July 28, 2020. Archived from the original on July 30, 2020. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Shaffer, Claire (December 18, 2020). "Aaron Dessner on How His Collaborative Chemistry With Taylor Swift Led to 'Evermore'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 22, 2020. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
  4. ^ Annie, Zaleski (December 14, 2020). "Taylor Swift's powerful evermore returns to folklore's rich universe". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on December 14, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  5. ^ Petridis, Alexis (December 11, 2020). "Taylor Swift: Evermore – rich alt-rock and richer character studies". The Guardian. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  6. ^ Olivier, Bobby (December 11, 2020). "Taylor Swift's 'Evermore' Is an Undeniable Folk-Pop Masterpiece". Spin. Archived from the original on December 22, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  7. ^ Rao, Sonia (December 11, 2020). "How Taylor Swift and indie rock band the National became unlikely collaborators". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  8. ^ Olivier, Bobby (December 11, 2020). "Taylor Swift's 'Evermore' Is an Undeniable Folk-Pop Masterpiece". Spin. Archived from the original on December 22, 2020. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  9. ^ Willman, Chris (December 11, 2020). "Taylor Swift Has Her Second Great Album of 2020 With 'Evermore': Album Review". Variety. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  10. ^ McCormick, Neil (December 11, 2020). "Taylor Swift, Evermore review: a dramatic excursion down the musical roads". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  11. ^ Breihan, Tom (December 12, 2020). "Premature Evaluation: Taylor Swift evermore". Stereogum. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  12. ^ Jenkins, Craig (December 14, 2020). "Taylor Swift Is Done Self-Mythologizing". New York. Archived from the original on January 23, 2021. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  13. ^ Petridis, Alexis (December 11, 2020). "Taylor Swift: Evermore – rich alt-rock and richer character studies". The Guardian. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  14. ^ Sodomsky, Sam (December 15, 2020). "Taylor Swift- Evermore". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on December 15, 2020. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  15. ^ Wilson, Carl (December 11, 2020). "Taylor Swift's Evermore: A Track-by-Track Review". Slate. Retrieved December 30, 2023.
  16. ^ "Taylor Swift – Hot Rock & Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  17. ^ "Taylor Swift – Canadian Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  18. ^ Swift, Taylor. "evermore". Tidal. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  19. ^ "Taylor Swift feat. The National – Coney Island". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  20. ^ "Taylor Swift feat. The National – Coney Island" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  21. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Global 200)". Billboard. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  22. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  23. ^ "Portuguese Charts – Singles Top 20 – 51/2020". Associação Fonográfica Portuguesa. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021.
  24. ^ "Official Audio Streaming Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  25. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  26. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  27. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  28. ^ "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone. December 17, 2020. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  29. ^ "Jan 2024 Single Accreds" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved February 14, 2024.
  30. ^ "Future Releases on Triple A (AAA) Radio Stations". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on January 10, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.