Lyrically, the song finds the narrator reminiscing about the good times in a former relationship. An upbeat and uptempo song, "Holy Ground" blends a strong drum line and soft rock production style with Swift's country pop sound.
The song was generally well-received, with some critics highlighting it as a stand-out track. Chris Willman of The Hollywood Reporter cited "Holy Ground" as "one of the two or three finest tracks" of the album, and remarked that the "driving drum and rhythm guitar ... grab your attention from [the] first verse to [the] last". In Idolator's review of Red, Sam Lansky called "Holy Ground" "the most startling song on the album" due to strong lyricism and dynamic production: "A storming drum beat brings a sense of urgency that Swift’s sprawling soft-rock productions have rarely had. But the lyrics are classic Swift, with a couplet that’s brilliantly tight and so obvious it seems like it should have been the hook in a thousand pop songs already: “Tonight I’m gonna dance for all that we’ve been through/But I don’t wanna dance if I’m not dancing with you.” "Slant Magazine praised that "the driving rhythm section on "Holy Ground" reflects Swift's reminiscence of a lover who "took off faster than a green light, go."" and noted before that that "the tracks that work best are those on which the production is creative and contemporary in ways that are in service to Swift's songwriting."