Grace Students Support Celebrated Message Behind Red (Taylor’s Version)

Media provided by Gazette Media Staff.

In 2019, after a long argument with her record label over gaining the rights to her own music, Taylor Swift decided that she would be re-recording every album she had released with Big Machine Records in order to claim complete control over her art.

On Nov. 12, 2021, Swift re-released her 2012 album Red. The re-recording includes remastered versions of all the original songs on the album as well as nine never-before-heard songs that were originally cut, called “vault songs.” 

The album also features the ten-minute version of the fan-favorite, “All Too Well.” The song is arguably one of the most emotional songs she has ever written and illustrates her short-lived but explosive relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal. The release of “All Too Well (Ten Minute Version)” sparked controversy in the media; many people believe she’s still hung up on her ex and that, 10 years later, she should move on. On the other hand, Swift’s fans argue that “All Too Well” has evolved into an empowering, relatable breakup song. 

When talking about the song’s creation, Swift said, “It was my favorite. It was about something very personal to me. It was very hard to perform it live. Now for me, honestly, this song is 100 percent about us and for you” (Deadline 2021). Her comments speak to the evolution of the song beyond just a simple breakup song and send a powerful message: she is choosing to reclaim control not only by claiming full autonomy of her art but also by voicing her experience in a toxic relationship.

Since the release of Red (Taylor’s Version), fans at Grace Church School have voiced their support for Swift and this message. 

In an interview with the Gazette, Katie K. ‘22 stated that reclaiming her music is akin to “taking back her pride.” Many other students agreed that Swift is re-recording her songs for herself. It was not her intention to put any of her exes on blast in the media as critics claim. 

Many argue that her exes have no right to feel upset about their actions being exposed. In agreement, Ginger M. ‘22 claimed, “I think [Red (Taylor’s Version)] really invokes a discussion about older men taking advantage of young girls in media industries. For her to call him out on his disrespect and condescending comments is important for young girls everywhere.”  

This idea is most evident in the coordinated release of a short film that visualizes the events taking place in the lyrics of “All Too Well.” Actors Sadie Sink, 19, and Dylan O’Brien, 30, reenact Swift’s relationship with Gyllenhal. The age gap intentionally symbolizes the real age gap between Gyllenhaal and Swift during their relationship. The uncomfortable feeling this instills within the audience showcases the innate power dynamics that existed in Swift’s relationship. At the time this article was written, the film boasts more than 56 million views. 

While Taylor has both avid fans and livid critics, most can agree that the masterful reiterations of her past relationships are an effective way to reclaim her voice packaged into catchy, emotion-packed anthems. 

The following sources were used to inform the content of this article:

“Taylor Swift Releases Full Version Of New ‘All Too Well’ Short Film With Dylan O’Brien & Sadie Sink,” Deadline; 11.12.2021.

“Critic’s Notebook: Taylor Swift’s ‘All Too Well’ and the Weaponization of Memory,” The New York Times, 11.15.2021.