Taylor Swift Revisits Old Heartbreaks On 'Red (Taylor's Version)'

By Emily Lee

November 12, 2021

It's finally Red season.

On Friday (November 12), Taylor Swift released the highly anticipated Red (Taylor's Version). This is the second installment of Swift's Taylor’s Version project, which sees the 31-year-old artist re-recording her first six studio albums.

Since Red was first released back in 2012, the album has become a cult favorite for Swift's fans. Tracks like 'All Too Well,' 'Sad, Beautiful, Tragic' and 'Holy Ground' are widely considered to be some of Swift's best. This left Swift with an interesting task—making something her fans already love so much even better. Unsurprisingly, Swift rose to the challenge by releasing a massive 30-track album. Her version of Red includes the original 16 songs from Red's first era, as well as all the songs from the expanded version and 9 "from the vault songs."

One of those songs from the vault, of course, is the long-mythologized version of 'All Too Well.' After years of wondering about that "first draft" of the searing ballad, fans were not disappointed. The song, which has long been believed to be about Jake Gyllenhaal, goes much deeper into the story of their tumultuous on-again-off-again relationship and their acrimonious split.

Ahead of the album's release, Swift stopped by The Late Show and explained the back story of 'All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault).' Yes, that's the full title of the song.

"I showed up for rehearsals and I just was really upset, and sad, and everybody could tell, it was really, like, not fun to be around me that day," Swift recalled. "So I started playing guitar and just kind of playing the same four chords over and over again. And I just started, kind of, the band sort of joined in, and I started ad-libbing what I was going through, and what I was feeling, and it went on, and the song kept building and building and building in intensity, and the song just went on for about, you know, 10 to 15 minutes of us doing this."

For those who need the tea ASAP, here are all the extended lyrics from 'All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)':

"And you were tossing me the car keys / Fuck the patriarchy / Keychain on the ground / We were always skipping town / And I was thinking on the drive down / Anytime now he’s going to say it’s love / You never called it what it was"
"Till we were gone and dead and buried / Check the pulse and come back swearing / It’s the same / After three months in the grave / And then you wondered where it went to / As I reached for you / But all I felt was shame / And you held my lifeless frame"
"And there we are again / When nobody had to know / You kept me like a secret / But I kept you like an oath / Sacred prayer and we’d swear / To remember it all too well"
"They say “All’s well that ends well” / But I’m in a new hell everytime / You double cross my mind"
"You said if we had been closer in age / Maybe it would’ve been fine / That made me want to die"
"The idea you had of me, who was she? / An ever-needy, ever-lovely jewel whose shine reflects / Now I’m weeping in a party bathroom / Some actress asking me what happened / You, that’s what happened, you…"
"You who charmed my dad with self-effacing jokes / Sipping coffee like you’re on a late-night show / But when he watched me watch the front door all night willing you to come / And he said it’s supposed to be fun turning 21"
"And I was never good at telling jokes but the punchline goes / “I’ll get older but your lovers stay my age” / From when you’re Brooklyn broke, my skin and bones / I’m a soldier who’s returning half her weight"
"And did the twin flame bruise paint you blue? / Just between us, did the love affair maim you too? / Cause in this city’s baring cold, I still remember the first fall of snow / And how it glistened as it fell, I remember it all too well"

Swift's other vault songs include two songs she gave away to other artists—'Better Man' and 'Babe'—and 'I Bet You Think About Me,' a Chris Stapleton duet that brings us back to Swift's country roots. 'I Bet You Think About Me' sees Swift eviscerate a condescending ex who can't forget about her:

"I bet you think about me when you're out / At your cool indie music concerts every week / I bet you think about me in your house / With your organic shoes and your million-dollar couch / I bet you think about me when you say / "Oh my god, she's insane, she wrote a song about me"/ I bet you think about me"

Fans will surely recognize some overlapping themes between 'I Bet You Think About Me' and 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.'

In addition to Stapleton, Swift teams up with Ed Sheeran and Phoebe Bridgers on vault songs. In 'Nothing New,' Swift and Bridgers lament the consequences of being an ingenue in the spotlight:

"How long will it be cute, all this crying in my room? / When you can't blame it on my youth / And roll your eyes with affection / And my cheeks are growing tired / From turning red and faking smiles / Are we only biding time 'til I lose your attention / And someone else lights up the room?/ People love an ingénue"

The second to last song is 'The Very First Night,' an upbeat track with subtly heartbreaking lyrics. Swift looks back on the happy, early days of a relationship that has since soured:

"I drive down different roads / But they all lead back to you / 'Cause they don't know about the night in the hotel / They weren't riding in the car when we both fell / Didn't read the note on the Polaroid picture"

What's your favorite new lyric off Red (Taylor's Version)?

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