Reliving a past love. After months of anticipation, Taylor Swift has gifted fans with Red (Taylor’s Version) — and instantly brought listeners back to her whirlwind romance (and eventual breakup) with Jake Gyllenhaal.
Swift, now 31, dated Gyllenhaal, now 40, for three months in late 2010. While brief, the relationship was formative for the “Begin Again” songstress, who channeled her emotions into 2012’s Red. Upon releasing the new-and-improved version of the record on Friday, November 12, fans lost it over the details uncovered in Swift’s 10-minute breakup anthem “All Too Well.”
One day before the album’s debut, the Grammy winner reflected on how much has changed since 2012.
“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 said on the Thursday, November 11, episode of Late Night With Seth Meyers. “There are like 14 different genres on this album. It’s a real patchwork quilt of genre. I was really experimenting.”
Swift was “really sad” during the promotional tour for the original record, she recalled. “But this time, I’ve got sunglasses on and a mojito, and it’s chill this time. It’s really nice to be able to put this album out and not be sad. Not be taking breaks in between interviews to cry. I’m telling you, it’s much better this way. You get some time passing. You’re reliving your experience from your 20s when you’re in your 30s. It’s really the way to do it.”
The Pennsylvania native announced her plans to rerecord all of her previous hits, beginning with Fearless (Taylor’s Version), amid her dispute with Big Machine Records. Fresh off the April reimagined version of Fearless, Swift announced that she was focused on the heartbreak-inspired Red next.
“Imagining your future might always take you on a detour back to the past. And this is all to say, that the next album I’ll be releasing is my version of Red,” the Cats actress explained in a June Instagram post.
She continued in her post, ”Musically and lyrically, Red resembled a heartbroken person. It was all over the place, a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow all fit together in the end. Happy, free, confused, lonely, devastated, euphoric, wild, and tortured by memories past. Like trying on pieces of a new life, I went into the studio and experimented with different sounds and collaborators. And I’m not sure if it was pouring my thoughts into this album, hearing thousands of your voices sing the lyrics back to me in passionate solidarity, or if it was simply time, but something was healed along the way.”
The album features 30 songs, including nine “from the vault” unreleased tracks that consist of duets with Chris Stapleton, Phoebe Bridgers and Ed Sheeran. The record also features a 10-minute version of “All Too Well” and an accompanying short film, starring Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink.
“I can’t express my gratitude enough to these artists for helping me bring these songs to life,” the Valentine’s Day actress gushed about the recording process in an August Instagram post. “I can’t wait til we can dust off our highest hopes and relive these memories together. We’ll also be making a bunch of new ones too, since Red (Taylor’s Version) includes so many songs you haven’t heard yet. Til then, I’ll be counting down and picturing it all in my head. In burning red.”
While the songwriter initially chose not to reveal the identity of the man who left her heartbroken when Red first came out, eagle-eyed Swifties picked up on several clues in the lyrics of “All Too Well” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” This time around, she’s not too concerned about the response from the man behind the music.
“I haven’t thought about their experience, to be honest,” she told Seth Meyers on Thursday when asked about her exes.
Scroll down for a full breakdown of how 2021’s “All Too Well” compares to the original: