Why Taylor Swift’s ‘Bigger Than the Whole Sky’ Song Resonates with Fans Grieving a Loved One
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Why Taylor Swift’s ‘Bigger Than the Whole Sky’ Song Resonates with Fans Grieving a Loved One

Taylor Swift had a way with words on her 2022 album Midnights, but one song, in particular, really resonated with fans.

Marking her first autobiographical album since 2019’s Lover, the singer detailed “13 sleepless nights scattered throughout” her life on her 10th studio album. On track No. 15, “Bigger Than the Whole Sky,” from the deluxe version of the album Midnights (3am Edition), the singer-songwriter seemingly opened up about the tragic loss of a loved one.

“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye / You were bigger than the whole sky / You were more than just a short time,” Swift sings in the chorus of the emotional ballad.

Since its release on Oct. 21, 2022, the song has resonated with many fans who’ve faced grief. Read below to see the potential meanings behind the lyrics of “Bigger Than the Whole Sky” and the various interpretations they’ve inspired.

Some fans who experienced pregnancy loss relate to the song

Certain lyrics struck a chord with fans who have undergone pregnancy loss with lyrics such as: “I’m never gonna meet / What could’ve been, would’ve been / What should’ve been you / What could’ve been, would’ve been you.”

Many fans shared that the song carried special weight for them. User @annemillsMD expressed that sentiment on X (formerly Twitter) in 2022.

“If you ever have a loved one suffer a miscarriage & want to understand how they feel, listen to Taylor Swift’s ‘Bigger Than the Whole Sky.’ Cannot speak to whether this was her intention, but her lyrics crystallize what I & many others have experienced so eloquently … Mine was many years ago, but this song took me right back,” the user wrote.

It reminded fans of her Red (Taylor’s Version) vault track “Ronan”


Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift during the Australian leg of her Red tour in December 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.


Though Swift hasn’t confirmed the inspiration behind the track, many fans noted that it feels like an extension of the song “Ronan (Taylor’s Version).” The singer wrote about Ronan Thompson, a young boy who died of cancer at 4 years old, from Red (Taylor’s Version).

Along with the re-recorded version of the song in November 2021, Swift also shared an emotional lyric video, including family photos and videos provided by Ronan’s mother, Maya Thompson (who said she still talks to Swift during a TikTok Q&A in March 2024).

“@taylorswift13 You are one of the greatest loves of my life. TY for loving him,” Maya wrote on X in response to the lyric video.

Some fans have speculated the song honors Swift’s late friend Jeff Lang


Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift performs onstage in Glendale, Ariz., on March 17, 2023.


Fans have also suggested that “Bigger Than the Whole Sky” could be a tribute to Swift’s friend Jeff Lang, who died at age 21 on Nov. 10, 2010, per a memorial database.

A day after his funeral, Swift paid tribute to Lang as she accepted the country songwriter of the year honor at the 2010 BMI Country Awards.

“It’s been a really emotional week for me,” she said in the speech, opening up about Lang’s death. “He was 21, and I used to play my songs for him first. So I would like to thank Jeff Lang.”

Following the release of Red (Taylor’s Version), fans believed that her vault track “Forever Winter (Taylor’s Version)” was written about him. The lyrics seem to detail a close friend going through a life crisis as she sings, “All this time I didn’t know / You were breakin’ down / I’d fall to pieces on the floor / If you weren’t around / Too young to know it gets better.”

Regardless of the inspiration behind the song, Swift once again proved her songwriting is universal as the track relates to each of her fans in a significant way.

Swift performed it as a tribute to a late fan in 2023


Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift performs in Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 17, 2023.


On Nov. 17, 2023 — during the first stop of the Eras Tour at Estádio Nilton Santos in Rio de Janeiro — 23-year-old fan Ana Clara Benevides Machado had to leave Swift’s concert early due to feeling unwell. Machado was transferred to Salgado Filho Hospital, where she died.

Swift later expressed her sorrow with a handwritten note on her Instagram Story, which stated: “I can’t believe I’m writing these words, but it’s with a shattered heart that I say we lost a fan earlier tonight before my show. I can’t even tell you how devastated I am by this. There’s very little information I have other than the fact she was so incredibly beautiful and far too young.”

Two days later, Swift performed “Bigger Than the Whole Sky” as one of her nightly surprise songs, leading fans to believe it was a tribute to Machado.

“I know Taylor is a professional but the amount of strength it must’ve taken to sing ‘Bigger Than The Whole Sky’ without completely breaking down is unfathomable,” one fan wrote on X. “I think she knew she needed to do it for Ana, the Brazilian Swifties and herself.”

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