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Safe & Sound (song)

Official Cover Art

Safe & Sound is a song by American recording artist Taylor Swift and alternative country duo The Civil Wars, taken from The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond, the official soundtrack for the 2012 film The Hunger Games. The track was written by Swift and T-Bone Burnett along with the duo members, Joy Williams and John Paul White, at Burnett's house within two hours.

The song was released to iTunes in the US December 26, 2011, and was later added to the BBC Radio 1 playlist. The song was critically lauded, with critics praising Swift's breathy vocals, the simplicity of the music, and its lyrics, some citing it as a welcome return to form for Swift.

Chart performance

During the first week of release, "Safe & Sound" entered the Billboard Hot Digital Songs at number 19 with 136,000 digital units sold. On the Billboard Hot 100, the single debuted and peaked at number 30. Following the release of the song's music video, it re-entered the Hot 100 at number 56. In its eleventh week on chart, the song rose number 71 to number 35, prior to the release of The Hunger Games soundtrack. The track was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). As of November 2014, the song has sold 1.8 million copies in the United States. The track also peaked at number 31 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. Internationally, "Safe & Sound" attained moderate commercial success. The single peaked at number 38 on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart and stayed on the chart for three weeks. It was more successful in New Zealand, peaking at number 11 on the New Zealand Singles Chart and remained for five weeks. "Safe & Sound" also charted on the UK Singles Chart at number 67.

Critical reception

"Safe & Sound" received mainly positive reviews from music critics. Jody Rosen from Rolling Stone gave the song four out of five stars, calling it Swift's "prettiest ballad." In a review of The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond, AllMusic's Heather Phares picked it as one of the highlights on the soundtrack, calling it "the most crucial" track. Idolator praised Swift's "breathiness that sounds more eerie than sweet", while Jason Lipshutz writing for Billboard commended the "non-Swiftian anthem that embraces the folksiness of the soundtrack" and favored the guest appearance contributed by The Civil Wars. In a less favorable feedback, Darren Franich, and editor from Entertainment Weekly, was not impressed towards the track's lyrics and Swift's vocals, writing that "there’s no sense of triumph". He further added that "Safe & Sound" "sounds more like a funeral dirge than a victory chant, especially as the song continues with light percussion that sounds like soldiers marching to their doom." The Wall Street Journal‍ '​s Christopher John Farley agreed, opining that the song "has a rural feel, but doesn’t sound like a commercial country song."

At the 2012 Country Music Association Awards, "Safe & Sound" was nominated for Musical Event of the Year. It also garnered a CMT Music Award nomination for Collaborative of the Year in that year. The song was nominated for Best Original Song at the 70th Golden Globe Awards in 2013, but lost to Adele's "Skyfall". At the 2013 Grammy Awards, "Safe & Sound" received a nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, but lost to "Pontoon" by Little Big Town, and won the Best Song Written for Visual Media.