State of Grace (Taylor Swift song)

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"State of Grace"
Taylor Swift - State of Grace.png
Promotional single by Taylor Swift
from the album Red
ReleasedOctober 16, 2012 (2012-10-16)
StudioBlackbird Studios (Nashville, Tennessee)
LabelBig Machine
Songwriter(s)Taylor Swift

"State of Grace" is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift from her fourth studio album Red (2012). It was released to the iTunes Store on October 16, 2012, in the United States by Big Machine Records as the fourth and final promotional single from the album. It was the only promotional single from the album that was not re-issued as an official single, as "Begin Again", "Red", and "I Knew You Were Trouble", were all later re-issued as official singles. The song was written by Swift and produced by Nathan Chapman and Swift. Musically, the song incorporates rock subgenres including alternative rock and arena rock. Contemporary critics have compared the production to the music of rock bands such as U2, Muse and The Cranberries.[5] The song has received widespread acclaim from music critics, who have complimented its broader sound in comparison with Swift's previous material.


During her preview of the song on ABC's Good Morning America, 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."[6]

Critical reception[edit]

The song was lauded by critics upon its release, with many citing it as one of her best songs to date.[7] Entertainment Weekly noted the song's "Brit rock" sound and U2 influence, writing, "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.”"[8] 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."[9] 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."[10]

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."[11] 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."[12]

In 2017, Billboard named "State of Grace" as one of 100 greatest deep cuts of the 21st century, by adding that "the instrumental and emotional swell of "Grace" gives it a wallop quite unlike anything in Swift's catalog, particularly on the chorus".[13] In 2020, NME writer Hannah Mylrea placed "State of Grace" at number eight on her list ranking all 161 Swift songs, praising the song as a stadium anthem.[4]

Live performances[edit]

Swift performed the song live for the first time on November 15, 2012, during the second season of The X Factor (U.S.).[14] Swift also performed the song at Z100 Jingle Ball on Madison Square Garden.[15] The song also serves as the opening track from her Red Tour.[16] She played the song as the surprise song on her Reputation Stadium Tour during the first show in Landover.[17]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[18]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, producer
  • Nathan Chapman – producer, guitar
  • Justin Niebank – mixer
  • Brian David Willis – engineer
  • Chad Carlson – engineer
  • Matt Rausch – engineer
  • Hank Williams – mastering engineer
  • Drew Bollman – assistant mixer
  • Leland Elliott – assistant recording engineer
  • Nick Buda – drums
  • Eric Darken – percussion

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[19]
  1. "State of Grace" – 4:55


Chart (2012) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[20] 44
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[21] 9
Ireland (IRMA)[22] 43
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[23] 20
UK Singles (OCC)[24] 36
US Billboard Hot 100[25] 13


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[26] Gold 500,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Carson, Sarah (October 24, 2016). "The Story of Taylor Swift: 10 years at the top in her own lyrics". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on August 22, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  2. ^ Rowley, Glenn (October 22, 2019). "Which Taylor Swift Album Is Your Favorite? Vote!". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 30, 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  3. ^ "All 158 Taylor Swift Songs, ranked". Paste. February 11, 2020. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Mylrea, Hannah (September 8, 2020). "Every Taylor Swift song ranked in order of greatness". NME. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  5. ^ Smith, Grady (October 16, 2012). "Taylor Swift channels U2 on new track 'State of Grace': Hear it here". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 1, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  6. ^ "Taylor Swift New Song 'State of Grace' Preview Off New Album 'Red'". YouTube. October 15, 2012. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  7. ^ Lansky, Sam (October 16, 2012). "Taylor Swift's "State of Grace": Review Revue". Idolator. Hive Media. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  8. ^ Smith, Grady (October 16, 2012). "Taylor Swift channels U2 on new track 'State of Grace': Hear it here". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 1, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  9. ^ Rubenstein, Jenna Hally (October 16, 2012). "New Song: Taylor Swift, 'State of Grace'". MTV News. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  10. ^ Hogan, Marc (October 16, 2012). "Taylor Swift Reaches 'State of Grace' on Feedback-Streaked Rock Anthem". Spin. Archived from the original on December 17, 2015. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  11. ^ Brown, August (October 16, 2012). "Taylor Swift releases 'State of Grace' single". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  12. ^ Graham, Adam (October 16, 2012). "Listen: Taylor Swift swings for the fences with 'State of Grace'". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on September 25, 2013. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  13. ^ "The 100 Best Deep Cuts by 21st Century Pop Stars: Critics' Picks". Billboard. November 21, 2017. Archived from the original on November 23, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  14. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 8, 2012). "Who Was Eliminated On Tonight's X-Factor?". TVByTheNumbers. Zap2It. Archived from the original on August 30, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  15. ^ Hampp, Andrew (December 8, 2012). "Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, One Direction and More Light Up NYC at Z100 Jingle Ball". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  16. ^ Sheffield, Rob (March 28, 2013). "Taylor Swift's 'Red' Tour: Her Amps Go Up to 22". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 26, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  17. ^ Iasimone, Ashley. "All the Surprise Songs Taylor Swift Has Performed On Her Reputation Stadium Tour B-Stage (So Far)". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 8, 2019. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  18. ^ "Try the TIDAL Web Player". Archived from the original on June 24, 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  19. ^ "State of Grace – Single by Taylor Swift". iTunes Store. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  20. ^ " – Taylor Swift – State of Grace". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  21. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  22. ^ "Chart Track: Week 42, 2012". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  23. ^ " – Taylor Swift – State of Grace". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  24. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  25. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  26. ^ "American single certifications – Taylor Swift – State of Grace". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 9, 2017. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]