Music

Taylor Swift’s ‘The Archer’ Lyrics Are a Raw Look at Her Struggles With Friends and Relationships

@ELLE
@Alyssa Bailey

Taylor Swift announced the release of a surprise new song during her livestream this afternoon: “The Archer”—one that really explores how her own vulnerability and difficulty trusting people. (“All the king’s horses, all the king’s men / Couldn’t put me together again / ‘Cause all of my enemies started out friends / Help me hold on to you.”)

Swift explained during her livestream that “‘The Archer’ is not the next single. It’s just a song I love on the album. I haven’t made a video for it or anything. This is just sort of a glimpse into another side of the album I wanted to show you.”

Swift and Jack Antonoff worked on the song together.

As Swift explained during her livestream, on Lover generally, “there’s a lot that’s covered emotionally, and I really wanted to give you track 5 before the album came out. So track 5 is kind of a tradition that really started with you guys because I didn’t realize I was doing this but…instinctually I was putting a very vulnerable, honest, emotional song as track 5. So because you noticed this, I started to put the songs that were honest, emotional, vulnerable, and personal as track 5.”

“The Archer” (which could be a nod to the fact that Swift is a Sagittarius, and the archer is literally part of her zodiac) goes there on Lover.Listen to it below and take in the lyrics, via Genius:

Verse 1:

Combat, I’m ready for combat

I say I don’t want that, but what if I do?

‘Cause cruelty wins in the movies

I’ve got a hundred thrown-out speeches I almost said to you

Pre-Chorus:

Easy they come, easy they go

I jump from the train, I ride off alone

I never grew up, it’s getting so old

Help me hold on to you

Chorus:

I’ve been the archer, I’ve been the prey

Who could ever leave me, darling

But who could stay?

Verse 2:

Dark side, I search for your dark side

But what if I’m alright, right, right, right here?

And I cut off my nose just to spite my face

Then I hate my reflection for years and years

Pre-Chorus:

I wake in the night, I pace like a ghost

The room is on fire, invisible smoke

And all of my heroes die all alone

Help me hold on to you

Chorus:

I’ve been the archer, I’ve been the prey

Screaming, who could ever leave me, darling

But who could stay?

(I see right through me, I see right through me)

Bridge:

‘Cause they see right through me

They see right through me

They see right through

Can you see right through me?

They see right through

They see right through me

I see right through me

I see right through me

Pre-Chorus:

All the king’s horses, all the king’s men

Couldn’t put me together again

‘Cause all of my enemies started out friends

Help me hold on to you

Chorus:

I’ve been the archer, I’ve been the prey

Who could ever leave me, darling

But who could stay?

(I see right through me, I see right through me)

Who could stay?

Who could stay?

Who could stay?

You could stay

You could stay

Outro:

Combat, I’m ready for combat

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