Eyes Open (Single Review & Lyrics) – Taylor Swift [The Hunger Games Soundtrack]

Taylor Swift’s second submission to The Hunger Games‘ soundtrack album has just been released, ahead of the movie’s release in theaters next week.

Where Safe & Sound was a reassuring song in the face of distress and fear, Eyes Open is the opposite in theme. Where the former tells a story of safety, the latter, with its prominent guitar, is almost the total opposite. And for a movie & book like The Hunger Games (my review of the book), Eyes Open is way more fitting. It has the energy, thrill and rush of the story all wrapped up in 4 minutes.

The song starts with Taylor reminiscing about the days when things were safe, when the characters were children, playing with wooden swords. But their carefree days have now been replaced with a cruel world – one where they have to keep their eyes open in order to survive: “Playing soldiers, just pretending… In backyards, winning battles with our wooden swords. But now we’ve stepped into a cruel world...”

Meanwhile, everyone’s waiting for them to fail, to breakdown and watch the fallout. So she urges them to keep their eyes open even when they’re asleep: “Everybody’s waiting for you to breakdown. Everybody’s watching to see the fallout. Even when you’re sleeping, sleeping, keep your eyes open

I can imagine the song being played in the movie just before the tributes are taken into the arena because every single lyric uttered by Taylor fits that moment perfectly. “But turn around, they’ve surrounded you. It’s a showdown, and nobody comes to save you now.” According to Taylor, the song is a symbolization of Katniss’ rebellion against the Capitol. The song shows that as well.

The lyrics are so on point, in fact, that you can’t but think of Katniss and the other tributes preparing to run as the countdown to The Hunger Games dies down when you hear Taylor sing: “Keep your feet ready, heartbeat steady. Keep your eyes open. Keep your aim locked. The night goes dark, keep your eyes open.”

The melody is very catchy. It builds up, all to the backdrop of a strong guitar sound, before the song culminates in repetitions of “keep your eyes open” for further emphasis and eventually stops, as it should, right on top. There’s no outro cue. The song stops the way it starts, suddenly, because when the character’s lives are at stake, the only way a song describing the situation would work is by it being sudden and urgent.

When it comes to Taylor Swift’s songs, she might be the only person able to sing them convincingly. Her vocal performance is always not perfect but the little flaws help to add to the song’s overall feel. When it comes to Eyes Open, the cracks here and there in Taylor’s voice contribute to the song’s overall mood of absolute urgency.

Overall, Eyes Open is a great addition to Taylor’s repertoire. She shows her great songwriting abilities by the way she turns phrases and creates scenes in simple words, making it seem effortless in the process. I can’t wait to hear it in the movie.

8/10

The Lyrics:

Everybody’s waiting
Everybody’s watching
Even when you’re sleeping
So keep your eyes open

The tricky thing is yesterday we were just children
Playing soldiers, just pretending
Dreaming dreams with happy endings
In backyards, winning battles with our wooden swords
But now we’ve stepped into a cruel world
Where everybody stands to keep score

Keep your eyes open

Everybody’s waiting for you to breakdown
Everybody’s watching to see the fallout
Even when you’re sleeping, sleeping
Keep your eyes open
Keep your eyes open
Keep your eyes open

So here you are, two steps ahead and staying on guard
Every lesson forms a new scar
They never thought you’d make it this far
But turn around, they’ve surrounded you
It’s a showdown, and nobody comes to save you now
But you’ve got something they don’t
Yeah you’ve got something they don’t
You’ve just gotta keep your eyes open

Everybody’s waiting for you to breakdown
Everybody’s watching to see the fallout
Even when you’re sleeping, sleeping
Keep your eyes open
Keep your eyes open
Keep your eyes open

Keep your feet ready
Heartbeat steady
Keep your eyes open
Keep your aim locked
The night goes dark
Keep your eyes open

Everybody’s waiting for you to breakdown
Everybody’s watching to see the fallout
Even when you’re sleeping, sleeping

Keep your eyes open
Keep your eyes open
Keep your eyes open
Keep your eyes open

You can listen to Eyes Open here. I’ll post a YouTube link the moment Taylor’s label tones down the video-removing frenzy.

5 thoughts on “Eyes Open (Single Review & Lyrics) – Taylor Swift [The Hunger Games Soundtrack]

  1. Pingback: Taylor Swift "Speak Now" era

  2. Pingback: The Hunger Games

  3. Pingback: The Hunger Games Soundtrack – Album Review « A Separate State of Mind

  4. Pingback: game reviews ps3 . The Hunger Games Soundtrack Review

  5. Pingback: We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift [Single Review] « A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

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