Get out the tissues.
Taylor Swift‘s seventh album, Lover, is out now and amid all the romantic songs and personal anecdotes one would expect from the singer, there’s one song in particular that could be her saddest yet: “Soon You’ll Get Better.”
The track, which features the Dixie Chicks, is a deeply emotional get-well-soon ode to Swift’s mother, Andrea, who is battling cancer. Despite her penchant for sharing details of her personal life in her music, “Soon You’ll Get Better” is the most the singer has ever said on the topic of her mom’s illness.
The song is so emotional for Swift, in fact, that according to the lucky fans who attended the album’s secret session listening parties held at the singer’s various homes in July, Swift had to leave the room when the song played. Several attendees reported that they cried during the track.
“The buttons of my coat were tangled in my hair. In doctor’s office lighting, I didn’t tell you I was scared,” she sings. “That was the first time we were there. Holy orange bottles, each night, I pray to you. Desperate people find faith, so now I pray to Jesus too.”
Later in the song, she asks, “And I hate to make this all about me, but who am I supposed to talk to? What am I supposed to do, if there’s no you?”
During a YouTube Originals livestream on Thursday to celebrate the release of Lover, Swift revealed that the song was one of the most difficult for her to write. The singer said it was “a family decision” about whether to put it on the album. “We as a family decided to put this on the album, and it’s something that I am so proud of,” she said.
The pop sensation first revealed that her mom’s cancer had returned in a personal essay for Elle back in March. “I’ve had to learn how to handle serious illness in my family. Both of my parents have had cancer, and my mom is now fighting her battle with it again,” she wrote. “It’s taught me that there are real problems and then there’s everything else. My mom’s cancer is a real problem. I used to be so anxious about daily ups and downs. I give all of my worry, stress, and prayers to real problems now.”
And although the subject matter of the song was not known until recently, eagle-eyed Swifties first predicted a Dixie Chicks collaboration when Swift released her music video for her first single, “ME!,” and it showed a framed portrait of the country trio in the background of one of the beginning scenes. The band stoked the fire when they tweeted a cryptic message following the video’s release. And, in her Easter egg-filled cover shoot for EW in May, Swift wore a Dixie Chicks pin on her jacket.
Swift told EW earlier this year that the group served as an inspiration to her. “The Dixie Chicks were making such interesting music and doing it in such an unapologetically feminine, imaginative way. I was very inspired by the album Fly and the aesthetics, because it was very clear they had really put a lot into the artwork,” she said. “And so it got my brain thinking bigger in terms of, you know, you make an album, but then you can choose an entire look and color palette and aesthetic and symbolism and imagery and backstories — that you can really make an album even more of an experience if you so choose.”
This isn’t the first time Swift has released a song about her mother. On her second album, Fearless, the song “The Best Day” tells the story about how her mom has always been there for her. Like “Soon You’ll Get Better” on Lover, “The Best Day” is Fearless‘ 12th track.
- Taylor Swift’s album Lover is officially here — listen now
- Taylor Swift says she’ll re-record her earlier songs in wake of Scooter Braun deal
- How Taylor Swift’s Lover rollout blurred the personal and promotional