I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at with questions or ideas!

What does "Daylight" by Taylor Swift mean?

What does "Daylight" by Taylor Swift mean?

“Daylight” Lyrics Meaning

The time for fighting and deception that was present in the Reputation era songs has gone. Now it’s time to learn to trust. Now it’s time to move on from the pain of betrayal and the regret of hurting others, and embrace the light. 

“Threw out our coats and our daggers because it’s morning now”

In “Daylight” she and the person she’s singing to, put down their weapons and walk into the light of the future together. They are both hopeful and know they are healing from their pasts. They have forgiven each other for the places they’ve been, and they are committed to a lasting love with the other. They don’t want anyone else. They understand the pain and the darkness of the other and they both want to embrace the future and leave that baggage behind for something better, for “Daylight.”

While a lot of Taylor Swift’s songs are autobiographical, there’s never a certainty of it until she confirms the meaning. For simplicity’s sake, this analysis will refer to Taylor, but it doesn’t mean that the song is written about her life or from her perspective. Either way, the lyrics are beautifully written and tell a story of love and redemption.

Verse 1

My love was as cruel as the cities I lived in

Everyone looked worse in the light

There are so many lines that I've crossed unforgiven

I'll tell you the truth, but never goodbye

She has had difficulty loving people, and those she’s been around were not much better at it. She admits to her partner that she has done things she regrets and she wants “tell [him] the truth, but never goodbye.”


I don't wanna look at anything else now that I saw you

(I can never look away)

And I don't wanna think of anything else now that I thought of you

(Things will never be the same)

I've been sleeping so long in a 20-year dark night

(Now I'm wide awake)

And now I see daylight , I only see daylight 

(And I can still see it all)

I only see daylight, daylight, daylight, daylight

Now, she only wants to remain in the “daylight.” The daylight that has brought her out of her “20-year dark night” is likely her partner and the love they share, but it could also involve other areas of her life. Either way, the darkness inside is gone and she only sees daylight.

Verse 2

Luck of the draw only draws the unlucky

And so I became the butt of the joke

I wounded the good and I trusted the wicked

Clearing the air, I breathed in the smoke

Maybe you ran with the wolves and refused to settle down

Maybe I've stormed out of every single room in this town

Threw out our cloaks and our daggers because it's morning now

It's brighter now, now

She has been “unlucky” before and been laughed at for gambling in life and losing. Her greatest regret is that she has “wounded the good” and “trusted the wicked.” In her attempts to “[clear] the air” and make things better she “breathed in the smoke” and suffered for it. She tells her partner that he may have been in dark places too. He may have “ran with the wolves and refused to settle down” but she may have “stormed out of every single room in this town.” They have both struggled to trust and commit. They’ve hurt others and been hurt. But now, “it’s brighter.” They have thrown out the tools of war and deception because “it’s morning now” and together they are learning to love and trust.


And I can still see it all (In my mind)

All of you, all of me (Intertwined)

I once believed love would be (Black and white)

But it's golden (Golden)

And I can still see it all (In my head)

Back and forth from New York (Sneaking in your bed)

I once believed love would be (Burning red)

But it's golden

Like daylight, like daylight

Like daylight, daylight

Taylor reflects on her past views of what love would look like. She believed it would be red, or black and white. But now she sees that it’s not about the passion of red, or the clarity of black and white, but about the beauty of the daylight. Love to her is “golden.” It’s hopeful, it invites healing, and it embraces forgiveness of the past. 


Like daylight

It's golden like daylight

You gotta step into the daylight and let it go

Just let it go, let it go

“I wanna be defined by the things that I love

Not the things I hate

Not the things I'm afraid of, I'm afraid of

Or the things that haunt me in the middle of the night

I, I just think that

You are what you love”

She wants the love she has for the “daylight,” the thing that brings out the best in her, to be what defines her. Not the fears or hatreds or burdens that we all struggle with, but the love that makes her see she can let go of all of those things, and be loved with them.

Deeper Meaning of “Daylight” by Taylor Swift

“Daylight” is about leaving a time of darkness and embracing forgiveness for yourself and others. It’s about learning to trust and love in a safe relationship and both people finding healing alongside each other. It could be with a lover, a friend, or a family member. “Daylight” is a song of hope, and that’s a truly beautiful thing. It shows us that we can be healed and forgiven. It shows us that even after a “20-year dark night” or more, we can still step into the daylight and learn to explore the beauty and depth of love.

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