19 Nov 2021

What are the Swifties up to now? (Taylor's Version)

From Afternoons, 2:20 pm on 19 November 2021

Since American pop star Taylor Swift released a new recording of her 2012 album Red last week, memes about red scarves, bad break-ups and the Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal have been all over the internet.

Not sure what any of this means? Afternoons producer and 'Swiftie' (Taylor Swift superfan) Alix Higby gives us an explainer.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift Photo: Taylor Swift / Facebook

Red (Taylor's Version) includes a new ten-minute version of Swift's favourite song from the original album - 'All Too Well'. 

'All Too Well' is an autobiographical song about a break-up in which a man holds on to a scarf a woman left at his sister's house.

Although it wasn't released as a single, the song became a cult hit, Alix says. 

"'All Too Well' became this song that people would listen to over and over again just to deal with a breakup. Because it was so personal… it became this meme that if you were going through something you'd play 'All Too Well' on repeat. That's how you told people what your mental state was."

Swift's real-life exes include several celebrities and although she has never outright confirmed who any of her songs is about, fans have deduced 'All Too Well' is about Jake Gyllenhaal, she says.

"Everyone listened to it and was like 'oh my god, this is about Jake Gyllenhaal."

Swift and Gyllenhaal had a "very intense, short-lived, emotional relationship" at the end of 2010 when she was 20 and he was 29, Alix says. 

While the original version of 'All Too Well' was quite sad, in this new one Swift seems mad.

"Ten years ago everybody was mad about [her mistreatment]. We're mad about it again because in this new version she's added more lyrics and she's made it ten minutes long."

In the newly released version of 'All Too Well', Swift refers to her ex's hypocrisy in questioning their age difference: 'I'll get older, but your lovers stay my age'.

According to The New York Times, the new version of the song "corrects a power imbalance in the relationship it describes".

Since the re-release of 'All Too Well', celebrities such as 80-year-old American singer Dionne Warwick have weighed in on the missing scarf, which one of Gyllenhaal's friends claims to have:

Red (Taylor's Version) is the second of six albums Taylor Swift is re-recording in order to regain ownership of her masters after they were sold by her former record label. The first Fearless (Taylor's Version) - a re-recording of her 2008 album Fearless - was released in April 2021.