Taylor Swift's 10-Minute Version of 'All Too Well' Was Worth the Wait: Breaking Down the Lyrics

On Friday, Taylor Swift dropped her Red (Taylor's Version) re-release, which includes an extended, 10-minute version of her beloved heartbreak ode "All Too Well"

At long last, Taylor Swift released the fabled 10-minute version of her beloved heartbreak ode "All Too Well" on Friday — and it was worth the wait.

The original track appeared on Swift's acclaimed 2012 album Red, and over the years, it became a favorite of both fans and critics, some of whom have called it the best song she's ever written. Nine years later, Swift has unleashed the album's re-release, Red (Taylor's Version), after a very public squabble over her masters with nemesis Scooter Braun and former label exec Scott Borchetta (more on that here).

Red (Taylor's Version) includes two recordings of "All Too Well": a re-record of the 5-minute-29-second original, as well as the 10-minute extended version, which Swift has teased for years.

RED (Taylor’s Version) Album Ring by Cathy Waterman
Red (Taylor's Version).

The extended remake — interminably titled "All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)" — is, sonically, faithful to the original, with some new flair: It sounds woozier, and the production and instrumentation align more with the alt-rock vibe of her latest albums folklore and evermore. It's also sung with aching conviction, but there's a wisdom in Swift's tone and performance that comes from being 10 years removed from the heartbreak, allegedly caused by ex-lover Jake Gyllenhaal.

Then there are the lyrics.

Swift and Liz Rose, an early frequent collaborator, pared down her first draft of the song, and fans fell for the original "All Too Well" because of her expert storytelling and the intimate details she shared of a love lost: car rides in the countryside, a lost scarf, late-night dancing in the kitchen — and a casually cruel phone call that left her feeling like "a crumpled up piece of paper."

The masterful 10-minute version tells the rest of the story, with new verses, an extended outro and, yes, an F-word.

Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on October 30, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Taylor Swift. Kevin Kane/Getty

The new lyrics begin to appear in the second verse, after she and her beau were visiting his mom: "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 / Check the pulse and come back / Swearing it's the same / After three months in the grave."

Elsewhere, Swift claims the ex blamed their age difference for their split (Gyllenhaal is nine years her senior). She sings: "You said if we had been closer in age / Maybe it would have been fine / And that made me want to die."

Later, Swift gets the last word on the matter, when she drops this scorcher of a line: "And I was never good at telling jokes / But the punchlines goes / 'I'll get older, but your lovers stay my age.'"

There are, of course, new details that will get fans buzzing on the first listen, from the "F--- the patriarchy" keychain, to guessing the identity of the unnamed actress asking Swift, bawling in the bathroom, "what happened?" ("You / That's what happened: you," she wails at the ex.)

Swift has always had a flair for the dramatics and feeling everything, perhaps on Red more than any other album. And it's that flair for dramatics that makes this new 10-minute version of an already perfect song work — all too well.

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