cardigan is the second track and the lead single of Taylor Swift's eight album folklore. It was released on July 24, 2020, along with the music video.
Meaning and Background
Taylor said the following about the song: “The song is about a lost romance and why young love is often fixed so permanently within our memories. Why it leaves such an indelible mark.”
Cardigan is a follow-up for the song betty. Cardigan is Betty's perspective from 20-30 years later, looking back at her relationship with James. They end up together, but James really put her through it.
- This song is part of the teenage love triangle.
Taylor wrote and directed the music video herself. She also did her own hair, styling and make-up and wore her own nightgown. She wanted the video to have a clever plot device to also serve as a metaphor. When filming, extensive safety measures where taken because of the pandemic.
The video starts out with Taylor playing piano in a cabin. When she stops playing and opens the piano, she finds golden sparkles. She climbs it and ends up in a beautiful forest. This scene represents the beginning of a relationship where everything is seems beautiful. Here, she starts playing piano again. Now, golden sparkles come from the piano seat, which she also opens and enters it. She ends up in rough waters, and clings to a piano for safety. This scene represents the isolation and fear involved while a relationship is breaking down. She opens the piano, enters it and ends up back in the cabin. It represents returning to a sense of self after experiencing love lost. Here, she finds a cardigan and puts it on.
- In the cabin, there's a photo of Taylor's grandfather, Archie Dean Swift, who Taylor also sings about in epiphany.
- The clock in the cabin point to the number's one and three, indicating Taylor's lucky number 13.
- Taylor painted the painting of a white house, seen next to the piano in the cabin, herself. It's possibly the Holiday House on Rhode Island Taylor owns, as it looks similar.
- In the video, Taylor clings to a piano as she's in rough waters. This likely references Taylor making music as they only way to survive the public turning are, something she told Vogue in a 2019 interview.
- Taylor was inspired by period pieces and fantasy films she was watching when planning the video.
- The song and album were top secret, so Taylor wore an earpiece instead of letting the song play out loud en the album name "folklore" was added to the piano on the day of release.
- The cardigan Taylor wears in the video is released as merch.
Awards & Nominations
|2020||American Music Awards||Favorite Music Video||Won|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Song of the Summer||Nominated|
|MVPA Awards||Best Visual Effects in a Video||Pending|
|UK Music Video Awards||Best Visual Effects in a Video||Nominated|
|2021||Grammy Awards||Song of the Year||Pending|
|Best Pop Solo Performance||Pending|
- YouTube Q&A - cardigan premiere - Taylor Swift
- folklore: the long pond studio sessions - Taylor talks about the teenage love triangle