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Most Heart-Wrenching Break-Up Lyrics From Red (Taylor’s Version)

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Red (Taylor’s Version)” is here, and we are all reliving our worst break-ups with Taylor. “Red” is the ultimate heartbreak album, and it is filled to the brim with simultaneously heart-wrenching and genius lyrics. When trying to compile a list of the best break-up lyrics from “Red,” it was almost impossible to narrow it down because every song has such unique and meaningful lyrics. So, while this list only shows a fraction of the brilliant, heart-shattering masterpiece that is “Red (Taylor’s Version),” here are the top thirteen (of course) most heart-wrenching lyrics from the album. And, yes, almost half of them are from “All Too Well.”

13. “I’ve been spending the last eight months / Thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end” – “Begin Again”

“Begin Again” is one of my favorite songs on “Red (Taylor’s Version).” It is a beautiful detailing of what it feels like to finally move on from a break-up and believe in love again. This line perfectly sums up the feeling of despair and hopelessness regarding love that is so commonly felt for a while after a difficult break-up.

12. “You push my love away like it’s some kind of loaded gun” – “Better Man”

I was so happy that Taylor included “Better Man” on “Red (Taylor’s Version)” because I was obsessed with her live performance of the song. The lyrics of this song are all so brutally honest and describe the feeling of wishing things could have been different in a relationship. I love the raw frustration embodied in the song, and think this lyric, in particular, holds so much emotion, showcasing how the relationship became one-sided.

11. “We learn to live with the pain, mosaic broken hearts” – “State of Grace”

“State of Grace” is the first track on the album, and I think it is a perfect opener because it hits all the main themes explored further in the rest of the songs. This lyric uses mosaics to visualize how people’s hearts are made up of broken pieces. I think this represents how everyone is constantly trying to pick up the pieces, and despite going through heartbreak, we can still find beauty and meaning in our past relationships.

10. “Words, how little they mean, when you’re a little too late” – ” Sad Beautiful Tragic”

As the title implies, this song tells the story of a sad, beautiful, and tragic relationship. This line, which comes in the first verse of the song, is such a beautifully crafted way to express how time changes everything. The lyric describes how sometimes, after a break-up, nothing you can say will change the other person’s mind. In some cases, it’s impossible to change the outcome, for better or worse.

9. “And I gave to you my best and we both know you can’t say that” – “Better Man”

The bridge of “Better Man” is one of my favorites. Swift powerfully exclaims how she poured her all into this relationship, and she knows that is not true for her partner. The anger and regret are practically tangible when listening to this lyric.

8. “You taught me ‘bout your past, thinking your future was me” – “All Too Well”

One of the most devastating parts of a break-up is coming to terms with the fact that the person you imagined your entire future with is no longer a part of your life. The second verse of “All Too Well” walks you through the moments of a relationship where you discuss your childhood, and then this lyric painfully snaps you out of that memory. When we’re consumed in a relationship, we frequently confide in our partner because we believe we will be with them throughout our lives, which sadly isn’t always the case.

7. “And what do you do when the one who means the most to you is the one who didn’t show?” – “The Moment I Knew”

“The Moment I Knew” recounts Swift’s 21st birthday and how the one person who she cared about most didn’t show up. This lyric has a sense of helplessness and defeat, and the song explains how this was the moment she realized he wasn’t right for her. I think this lyric is extremely relatable because, in a lot of relationships, there are turning points and moments when you realize that it won’t last, and that can sometimes feel just as heartbreaking as the break-up itself.

6. “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” – “All Too Well”

This is one of my favorite lyrics from the ten-minute version of “All Too Well,” and I think it encapsulates the critical theme of gaslighting in the song and short film. It first gives off a sense of hope but then expresses how despite that hope, her partner fails to communicate his feelings about the relationship. I think this is very relatable because many of us have been in situations where others trivialize our feelings.

5. “Well, maybe we got lost in translation / Maybe I asked for too much / But maybe this thing was a masterpiece / Till you tore it all up” – “All Too Well”

I love this lyric because Taylor shifts the blame from herself to her partner, admitting that their relationship was a “masterpiece” that he ruined. I think it’s common to believe that we asked for too much in a relationship when that really isn’t the case. It’s so painful to think about how beautiful something was and how someone else destroyed it, and there was nothing you could do about it.

4. “I pull at every thread trying to solve the puzzles in his head / Live my life scared to death he’ll decide to leave instead” – “Forever Winter”

While “Forever Winter” isn’t thought to be a break-up song, I think this lyric can be interpreted in that way. In relationships, it’s impossible to know what your significant other is thinking, and that can be terrifying. You will never truly know what’s going on in their head and if they will decide to leave, which can cause a lot of anxiety and distress, especially in unhealthy relationships.

3. “How can a person know everything at eighteen / But nothing at twenty-two / And will you still want me when I’m nothing new?” – “Nothing New”

“Nothing New” is an emotional experience that describes the feeling of pressure society puts on women to constantly be new and exciting and is beautifully sung by Swift and Phoebe Bridgers. This lyric is so relatable for me personally as I am growing into adulthood and feeling like I have much less of an understanding of who I am and what I want to do with my life now than I did at eighteen. The lyric is also applicable to relationships and the fear of your partner becoming tired of you after spending so much time together. Overall, this song is equal parts relatable and heart-wrenching, which makes for a tearful experience every time I listen.

2. “You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath” – “All Too Well”

When I asked my friends which lyric they found most heartbreaking from the album, they all said this one first. I think this is the best newly added lyric to “All Too Well (10 Minute Version).” It is a clever comparison of how the two lovers thought of their relationship. I think relationships in which one person loves the other more are the most heartbreaking, and this line definitely hits hard. In my opinion, this ranks among the greatest Taylor Swift lyrics of all time. Despite being such a short lyric, it holds so much pain and depth.

1. “And you call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest” – “All Too Well”

Coming in the top spot has to be this classic lyric from “All Too Well.” It’s impossible not to feel Swift’s pain as you sing along to the bridge of “All Too Well” at the top of your lungs. Using honesty as an excuse to be cruel is so common, especially once a relationship is falling apart. The metaphor of breaking her like a promise is so clever and symbolic of all the broken promises throughout the failed relationship. This lyric pulls on the heartstrings so intensely and will always be my favorite and most heart-wrenching lyric from “Red (Taylor’s Version).”

Go grab a box of tissues, think about your Jake Gyllenhaal, and stream “Red (Taylor’s Version)!”

Grace Martorano is a senior at Penn State studying Astrophysics with a passion for writing. In her free time she loves songwriting, and she plans to pursue a career in science writing after graduation.