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Let’s start from the beginning…

Taylor Swift recently began re-recording her music, calling it “Taylor’s Version,” to regain control over it after her first six albums were sold to investors. From Miss Americana, it’s certainly a canny business move. As reported from The Wall Street Journal, her re-recorded songs are outperforming the originals

The extended version of “All Too Well” is arguably Swift’s most talked about re-recorded original work yet. Just when the world thinks her story-telling abilities couldn’t get anymore enchanting through her lyrics, Swift breaks through the glass ceiling with the power of cinema. Not only did  she re-record “All Too Well,” but she  also created an entire short film for the world to embrace and see the story of her lyrics. 

Swift highlighted a relationship with an age gap between an older man and younger woman. This was important for Swift to emphasize because of her past relationship experiences. Something that viewers may not realize is that the actors, Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien in the short film, are also more than a decade apart in age, indicating the exact ages Swift and her past partner were indicated in the song. This was Swift’s way of portraying a young woman trying to correct the imbalances felt within a relationship that has an unequal proportion of power. 

“You kept me like a secret

But I kept you like an oath”

Swift was rumored to have a romantic relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Fans speculate that this re-recording was to exploit the type of relationship they both partook in, and the pain he left her with. Swift inserts her newly matured view as she is now the same age that Gyllenhaal was when they first entered their whirlwind romance. 

“I’m a soldier whose returning

half her weight”

Miss Swift was portraying the message not only through her lyrics, but through strong cinematography. An overt message about patriarchy duplicating within relationships and the bravery to love and be loved. By watching the short film, there are visuals guiding the viewers to what this song is about, with no room to interpret anything different.  

Critics have always liked to make fun of Taylor Swift for her love and break-up songs. “All Too Well” broke the barrier of cheesy music videos with the power of not only creative storytelling, but being relatable to the common person.It’s as if Swift was writing a creative nonfiction piece through a musical, lyrical lense. 

The center of gravity of this re-recording is to bring viewers to the feeling of remembering. Not only by the meaning of the song itself, but with the fans remembering the old version compared to this new version. When remembering the old version of “All Too Well” we remember the old Taylor Swift as well as our old selves and the events that happened in our lives. Listening and watching “All Too Well” in 2021, we embrace Swift in a new form as well as ourselves in the present day with the inevitability of remembering. 

“I’d like to be my old self again

But I’m still trying to find it”

My name is Gabriella (Bella) Bishop. I am a senior undergraduate student at Old Dominion University with a major in English with a double minor in Fashion Merchandising and Gender and Women's Studies. You will most likely find me pondering about the world buried in my journal or reading poetry in a cute coffee shop down the street!
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