What's The Real Meaning Behind Taylor Swift's Carolina? Here's What We Think

Taylor Swift's "Carolina" is finally here, and fans of the singer and "Where The Crawdads Sing" alike couldn't be happier.

Excitement surrounding "Carolina" first began in March. At the time, Swift revealed she'd composed a song for the Reese Witherspoon-produced film adaptation of Delia Owens' mystery novel. Only adding to the buzz was the fact that in her announcement, Swift shared that she was a fan of the book herself. "Where The Crawdads Sing is a book I got absolutely lost in when I read it years ago," she wrote via Instagram. "As soon as I heard there was a film in the works ... I knew I wanted to be a part of it from a musical side." However, the news came without the song itself. Instead, Swift promised, "You'll hear it soon." In lieu of the song or music video, she shared a trailer for the film, featuring the song. For a long time, that was all we got ... that is, until she made a subsequent announcement on June 23.

"About a year and a half ago I wrote a song about an incredible story," her Instagram post began. "I made a wish that one day you would hear it. 'Carolina' is out now." With Swift's wish granted, just two hours after the song's lyric video was posted to YouTube, it received more than 200,000 views. One thing's for sure: This is a major hit in the making. The only question is, what does it mean?

Carolina tells the story of Where The Crawdads Sing

Taylor Swift's first announcement for "Carolina" shared an explanation of the song. "Carolina," she wrote, is "the story of a girl who always lived on the outside, looking in. Figuratively and literally. The juxtaposition of her loneliness and independence. Her longing and her stillness. Her curiosity and her fear, all tangled up. Her persisting gentleness ... and the world's betrayal of it." In essence, the song aims to encapsulate the lead character of "Where The Crawdads Sing," a woman named Kya Clark who raised herself in the North Carolina marshlands (via the author's website).

A story cloaked in mystery, "Carolina" emanates an eerie sound. Even without hearing the lyrics, it's clear that the tale being told is an enigmatic one. Far from the perky vocals used on some of her more upbeat hits, Swift's voice takes on a haunting quality. That's especially noticeable in the song's three verses, each of which begins with the word "Carolina" chillingly chanted as the narrator tells the story.

It's no coincidence that the melancholy melody sounds like something we've heard before. For "Carolina," Swift teamed up with her "Folklore" producer, Aaron Dessner once again. However, even though he's previously gushed over their previous collaboration to both Billboard and Rolling Stone, their newest work is another ballgame for the musician. Via his Instagram, he named the piece "one of my favorite songs Taylor has written." He also described it as "hauntingly beautiful" — a statement we agree with, wholeheartedly!

The song also references the character's ties to nature

Music alone is enough to convey mystery in "Carolina," but the song's lyrics go a long way in fully exploring Kya Clark's character, played in the film by Daisy Edgar-Jones. As Delia Owens' website explains, Clark is inextricably tied to the natural surroundings of the North Carolina marsh. "A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life's lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies."

In "Carolina," the lyrics speak directly to Clark's connection to the wilderness that shaped her. From the song's very first line, the narrator is tied to her settings: "Oh, Carolina creeks running through my veins" (via Genius). In the second verse, Swift goes deeper on that, singing of the "Carolina pines" that have offered Clark a hiding place from the 'real' world. However, on top of more straightforward natural elements, the film's website explains that the marsh where Clark grew up harbors many a secret — and in "Carolina," that's touched on, too. The chorus ends with a chilling reference to that: "There are places I will never, ever go / And things that only Carolina will know."

"Carolina," and the story of "Where The Crawdads Sing" are filled with mystery, no doubt about it. And while those who aren't yet familiar with the story might not know how it all pans out just yet, one thing's for sure: We'll be at the edge of our seats until we do.