Death by a Thousand Cuts: Song Meaning, Lyrics, & Easter Eggs

Taylor Swift Taylor Swift - 'Lover' album cover

Death by a Thousand Cuts is the tenth track on Taylor Swift’s Lover album. The song is about the challenge of getting over a lover, and references a form of torture in ancient China where a prisoner would slowly bleed to death from thousands of small cuts.

Even before the song released to the public, it was a fan favorite in Secret Sessions. One fan wrote, “I read something from a secret sessioner that Taylor had to leave the room when they played track 10 because it was so emotional for her. This is ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’. I am so curious to hear this track.”

Even though Death by a Thousand Cuts covers relatively dark subject matter, the music itself follows in the vein of the rest of the album: light, catchy, almost whimsical.

Here’s what you need to know:


Death by a Thousand Cuts Full Lyrics: ‘I get Drunk, but it’s not Enough’

Here are the full lyrics to Death by a Thousand Cuts, per Genius:

[Intro]
My, my, my, my
My, my, my, my
My, my, my, my
My, my, my, my
My, my, my, my
My, my, my, my
My, my, my, my
My, my, my, my

[Chorus]
Saying goodbye is death by a thousand cuts
Flashbacks waking me up
I get drunk, but it’s not enough
’Cause the morning comes and you’re not my baby
I look through the windows of this love
Even though we boarded them up
Chandelier still flickering here
‘Cause I can’t pretend it’s okay when it’s not
It’s death by a thousand cuts

[Verse 1]
I dress to kill my time, I take the long way home
I ask the traffic lights if it’ll be alright
They say, “I don’t know”
And what once was ours is no one’s now
I see you everywhere, the only thing we share
Is this small town

You said it was a great love, one for the ages
But if the story’s over, why am I still writing pages?

[Chorus]
Saying goodbye is death by a thousand cuts
Flashbacks waking me up
I get drunk, but it’s not enough
’Cause the morning comes and you’re not my baby
I look through the windows of this love
Even though we boarded them up
Chandelier still flickering here
’Cause I can’t pretend it’s okay when it’s not
It’s death by a thousand cuts

[Verse 2]
My heart, my hips, my body, my love
Tryna find a part of me that you didn’t touch
Gave up on me like I was a bad drug
Now I’m searching for signs in a haunted club
Our songs, our films, united, we stand
Our country, guess it was a lawless land
Why are my fears at the touch of your hands?
Paper cut stains from my paper-thin plans
My time, my wine, my spirit, my trust
Tryna find a part of me you didn’t take up
Gave you so much, but it wasn’t enough
But I’ll be alright, it’s just a thousand cuts

[Chorus]
I get drunk, but it’s not enough
‘Cause you’re not my baby
I look through the windows of this love
Even though we boarded them up
Chandelier still flickering here
‘Cause I can’t pretend it’s okay when it’s not
No, it’s not
It’s death by a thousand cuts (You didn’t touch)

[Post-Chorus]
Tryna find a part of me that you didn’t touch
My body, my love, my trust (It’s death by a thousand cuts)
But it wasn’t enough, it wasn’t enough, no, no

[Outro]
I take the long way home
I ask the traffic lights if it’ll be alright
They say, “I don’t know”

 


Death by a Thousand Cuts: Song Meaning & Easter Eggs

Death by a Thousand Cuts seems to be about the challenge of being apart from or breaking up with a lover. However, it also offers several callbacks to an older song of Swift’s called Mary’s Song. Between the repeated “my my my” lyrics, and the references to a small town, fans have spotted the connection.

This song definitely doesn’t seem to be about Alwyn, who Swift is still dating — but it does make reference to certain images Swift has used in songs for Alwyn in the past. For example, Swift talks about a lover helping to board up a house before a storm with her in the song Call it What You Want, from the Reputation album.

One fan wrote, “@taylorswift13 writing ‘Death By a Thousand Cuts’ about getting paper cuts writing pages of a love story that’s ended… Holy shit.”

Another wrote, “ok death by a thousand cuts has me all the way f*cked up”

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