As we bask in the glory that is Red (Taylor’s Version), there’s something I need to say. As I sobbed to myself at midnight on November 12 as I listened to “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” I began to realize something; “22” is actually extremely sad. It was revealed in the ten minute version that Jake Gyllenhall – the infamous ex that caused a huge amount of destruction in a short time span – missed Swift’s 21st birthday. Gyllenhaal ruined this birthday for Swift, causing her to be depressed the entire night, which is detailed in the 10 minute version, as well as the All Too Well: The Short Film.
This leads us to “22.” While its lyrics are upbeat, the situation that inspired it is absolutely heartbreaking. Since her 21st was such a sad time, Swift made sure that her 22nd birthday would be the best celebration yet. Yes, we all dance and party to the song, and that’s what it’s meant for – she wants us to jump around and enjoy it. Swift made turning 22 an even bigger milestone than turning 21, all because she wanted to make up for the previous year’s events.
Swift even put “22” right after “All Too Well,” showing her growth from the situation and how she learned to celebrate on her own. “22” is more than just a celebration song – it shows growth from a toxic situation that led Swift into a depression that caused her to question her own self-worth. “22” celebrates growth and promotes a message of celebrating for you rather than allowing someone else to ruin a moment that is supposed to be so special and monumental. Swift created a song that allows everyone to be “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.”
“22” represents more than a birthday – it represents personal and emotional growth, feeling how you feel, and being completely content in experiencing it all. Swift wants listeners to create new memories that make you smile, rather than dwelling on old ones that make you cry. It’s so much more than just aging. The events that lead to the creation of this song are ones that Swifties sob to as they listen to the song that lays it all out on the table, but they gave us a song that makes us all have someone to celebrate turning 22 with – and that’s Swift.