“Safe and Sound,” Taylor Swift’s Hunger Games single with country group The Civil Wars (yes, another Nashville group with a Civil War-related name, a trend that hopefully won’t trend much farther), doesn’t sound much like a Taylor Swift song. It’s more ethereal, more floaty–both the instrumentation and Taylor’s voice, airier than usual. The track’s both a soundtrack single (i.e., a one-off) and a lullaby (i.e. not really conducive to crunchy guitars and big percussion), so you really can’t speculate much on Swift’s solo direction based on it. It’s still an interesting change of pace. We like it.
That said, Swift’s first live performance of the track with the antebellum-named duo at the Ryman in Nashville was very much like her performances go: Taylor in sunbeam yellow to The Civil Wars’ basic black; her permasmile; her shocked, post-peering reaction to the crowd at the Ryman–”this is so sold-out right now! Do you know that?” So now we know that solo direction’s not changing anytime soon. Listen below.