“One of the saddest songs I’ve ever written just got sadder 🙃 Drove up to Long Pond Studios to record All Too Well (Sad Girl Autumn Version) with the besties @aarondessner @heyjonlow,” the singer, 31, announced via Instagram on Wednesday, November 17.
The visual video paired with the remix included black-and-white footage of Swift singing the new version of “All Too Well.” Aaron Dessner, who previously worked with the Miss Americana star on her 2020 album Folklore, reflected on teaming up with Swift again.
“It felt very nostalgic when @taylorswift visited Long Pond and we pressed record again. I had never played All Too Well but I’ve listened to it so many times it must have been seered into my musical memory,” Dessner, 45, wrote via Instagram on Wednesday. “Somehow this version felt like it was already in the brisk air. It felt so good to play it on the creaky Cardigan piano and Taylor’s performance is devastatingly beautiful.”
Swift’s musical surprise comes after her 30-track version of her album Red, which included new songs and the highly anticipated 10-minute rendition of “All Too Well.” The Pennsylvania native previously revealed that the original 2012 track, which was inspired by her short-lived romance with Jake Gyllenhaal, grew into something more during the recording process.
“It was a day when I was just, like, a broken human, walking into rehearsal just feeling terrible about what was going on in my personal life,” Swift said during an episode of Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums” podcast in 2020. “I ended up sort of just playing four chords over and over again, and the band started kicking in. … People just started playing along with me. I think they could tell I was really going through it. I just started singing and riffing and sort of ad-libbing this song that basically was ‘All Too Well.'”
The Grammy winner ended up cutting parts of the breakup anthem to make it more suitable for a regular album release.
“Basically, I remember my sound guy was like, ‘Hey, I burned a CD of that thing that you were doing in case you want it,'” she recalled at the time. “I ended up taking it home and listening to it, and I was like, ‘I actually really like this, but it definitely is, like, 10 minutes long and I need to pare it down.'”
After dropping the song in its full glory on Friday, November 12, Swift also directed and appeared in an accompanying short film. The “Begin Again” performer cast Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien in the lead roles and admitted that the final product came together even better than she could have imagined.
“[Sadie and Dylan] were so electric and [improvising] a lot of what they were doing that we couldn’t take the camera off them. We couldn’t cut. We couldn’t edit,” Swift explained on Late Night With Seth Meyers on November 11. “So there was a very long one take one camera shot that lasts for a very long time and when you’re watching that, you don’t know that. You don’t realize that because they are so magnetic. They really are.”
Revisiting her 2012 work gave the CMA award winner a new sense of appreciation for what she created at that point in her career.
“It came out originally about a decade ago, and I was 22, and that release week was so stressful because nobody has heard any of the music,” she added. “There are, like, 14 different genres on this album. It’s a real patchwork quilt of genre. I was really experimenting.”
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