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Unpacking the 10 Minute Version of All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift’s Version of Red is finally out! Like most fans, I was most excited to hear the famed 10-minute version of her hit All Too Well. Swift has been teasing the song for a while- since the original release of Red in 2012 to be exact- and fans eagerly waited for the track to drop. When the album was released, I listened to it first and it exceeded all my expectations and more. 

The song is the same as the original until about 2 minutes in. Swift comes in swinging, adding more details to the story of her harsh breakup with an older ex. The track finds a young Swift enamored by her boyfriend, singing “And I was thinking on the drive down, any time now/He’s gonna say it’s love, you never called it what it was/‘Til we were dead and gone and buried.” What is most poignant of this version is the pain Swift encapsulates- how she felt taken advantage of and alone in this supposed perfect relationship.  

Reeling from the breakup, Swift questions herself and her self-image. She wonders how her ex truly thought of her if he could leave her so easily, asking “The idea you had of me, who was she?/A never-needy, ever-lovely jewel whose shine reflects on you.” Swift specifically acknowledges that she was “never needy,” constantly feeling as if she had to please her older boyfriend for fear of being viewed as petulant and fragile. Her needs weren’t addressed in the relationship because she repressed them in order to be with him. The use of the word “jewel” here is particularly interesting because it implies that he viewed her as a prize to be won and protected. She was a rare find, but he did not realize what he had until it was gone- when her shine had dimmed. 

My favorite part about this version is how Swift’s voice captures the raw emotion of reliving the relationship but also looking back through the lens of her older self. This relationship is 11 years gone, and she no longer hurts, but she can easily remember how it felt to be young, hurt, and naïve. 

The new lyrics add so much more to the story and capture the unbalanced power dynamic of her relationship. Swift felt like she was giving everything and receiving nothing in return. The outro where Swift asks “Just between us, did the love affair maim you all too well?/Just between us, do you remember it all too well?” is a chilling reflection of her ability to remember the pain she felt but also realize she has moved on from it. She went on to win multiple Grammy and sell out stadiums around the world- all on her own volition- and it turns out she never needed him in the first place. 

You can listen to all of Red (Taylor’s Version) if you haven’t already (or for the millionth time!) here:

Claire Blose is currently a junior at Loyola University Maryland majoring in Advertising and Public Relations and minoring in Marketing. When she is not studying, you’ll likely find her listening to music, exploring the great outdoors, or trying new recipes in the kitchen.
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