Taylor Swift Re-Releases Red: All the Best Lyrics from Her Latest Vault Tracks
Red (Taylor's Version) is finally here, just in time for sad girl fall.
On Friday, Taylor Swift dropped the re-recorded version of her acclaimed 2012 album Red, which includes nine tracks "from the vault." Each of the new songs highlights the superstar's incomparable songwriting craft, would easily have fit on the original track list — and could be hits today.
Below is a breakdown of the best lyrics from each of the Red (Taylor's Version) vault tracks, which were originally written for that album era.
The first vault track should sound familiar to anyone who has listened to country radio in the past four years. Swift wrote "Better Man" and emailed it to Little Big Town, who put it on their 2017 album The Breaker and went on to win the Grammy for best country duo/group performance for it. (Swift won the CMA song of the year for her writing.)
Swift puts her own spin on the ballad, breathing new life into a song about her own heartbreak, particularly on the second verse when she sings: "But your jealousy / Oh, I can hear it now, talking down to me / Like I'd always be around / Push my love away, like it was some kind of loaded gun / Oh, you never thought I'd run."
"Nothing New" (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
Swift recruited alt-rock it-girl Phoebe Bridgers to duet with her on "Nothing New." A contemplative, feminist statement on the sexist, agist double standards female pop stars face, the message was clearly a precursor to her 2019 Lover standout "The Man."
Swift and Bridgers take turns on the verses, their voices gorgeously harmonizing throughout.
"Are we only biding time till I lose your attention? / And someone else lights up the room / People love an ingenue … Will you still want me when I'm nothing new?" they sing. "I know someday I'm gonna meet her / It's a fever dream / The kind of radiance you only have at 17 / She'll know the way, and then she'll say she got the map from me/ I'll say I'm happy for her / Then I'll cry myself asleep."
Okay, this one's not exactly new either. After writing "Babe" years ago, Swift gave it to Sugarland, who released it as a single in 2018 with Swift herself as a featured guest.
Swift switched up the production a bit, but it remains true to the Sugarland version as she scolds an unfaithful ex: "I break down every time you call / We're a wreck, you're the wrecking ball / We said, no one else / How could you do this, babe?"
"Message In a Bottle"
More than on any album before, Swift played with pop propensities on Red — and "Message in a Bottle" is a certified bop. As she so successfully did on reputation's "Delicate" and "Gorgeous" years later, Swift captures the giddy rush and cautious optimism of a new crush.
"These days I'm restless / Workdays are endless / Look how you made me, made me / But time moves faster replaying your laughter, disaster / 'Cause now, you're so far away and I'm down / Feeling like a face in the crowd / I'm reaching for you, terrified," she sings of a prospective new beau over a driving beat on this soaring track. "How is it in London / Where were you while I'm wonderin' / If I'll ever see you again? / You could be the one that I love."
"I Bet You Think About Me" (feat. Chris Stapleton)
Swift enlisted Nashville mainstay Chris Stapleton to harmonize and provide background vocals on "I Bet You Think About Me," which sounds like a countrified "Piano Man," but with tons of deliciously petty zingers. (See: "I don't have to be your shrink to know that you'll never be happy.")
Swift's storytelling is on point here as she skewers a snooty, image-obsessed ex who grew up in Beverly Hills.
"Does it make you feel sad / That the love that you're looking for / Is the love that you had / Now you're out in the world, searching for your soul / Scared not to be hip, scared to get old / Chasing make-believe status / Last time you felt free / Was when none of that s--- mattered / 'Cause you were with me / But now that we're done and it's over / I bet it's hard to believe / But it turned out I'm harder to forget / Than I was to leave," Swift sings.
She closes the song with this savage take-down: "I bet you think about me / When you're out at your cool indie music concerts every week / I bet you think about me / In your house, with your organic shoes and your million-dollar couch / I bet you think about me / When you say, 'Oh my God, she's insane, she wrote a song about me.'"
Over a warm brass section, Swift details a codependent relationship and how exhausting it is to try and be someone else's sunshine, as she admits, she was "Too young to know it gets better / I'll be summer sun for you forever / Forever winter if you go."
The track is indicative of where Swift was at in her life at the time. "I used to believed love was burning red / But it's golden, like daylight," she sang on her 2019 Lover highlight "Daylight," referencing her thoughts on romance from her Red era.
"Run" (feat. Ed Sheeran)
The A-Team is back: Swift reunited once again with longtime pal and frequent collaborator Ed Sheeran, with whom she already shares the Red duet "Everything Has Changed."
On their latest effort together, Swift wishes to run away from it all with her a lover.
"We can go like they're trying to chase us / Go where no one else is / Run / Ooh, we'll run," they sing. "There's been this hole in my heart / This thing was a shot in the dark / Say you'll never let 'em tear us apart / And I'll hold onto you, while we run / Like you'd run from the law."
When Swift wrote "Run," she was still several years away from learning that nothing good starts in a getaway car.
"The Very First Night"
Like another Red standout, "Holy Ground," the glittering, upbeat vault track "The Very First Night" is about remembering the best parts of a relationship.
"We never saw it coming / Not trying to fall in love / But we did like children runnin' / Back then we didn't know / We were built to fall apart / We broke the status quo / Then we broke each other's hearts," she sings. "I wish that we could go back in time / And I'd say to you / I miss you like it was the very first night."
"All Too Well (10 Minute Version)"
After years of teasing the fabled, full-length version of her seminal heartbreak ode "All Too Well," Swift has finally unleashed it — and boy, did she deliver. Her storytelling is as sharp and vivid as ever as she tells the whole story about the man (fans believe it was Jake Gyllenhaal) who kept her mythical scarf after a devastating split.
As she reveals in the extended update of the fan-favorte, age was apparently a factor in their fractured romance: "You said if we had been closer in age / Maybe it would have been fine / And that made me want to die," she seethes. "And I was never good at telling jokes / But the punchline goes: 'I'll get older, but your lovers stay my age.'"