Taylor Swift really said I’m going to break you like a promise with her 10-minute version and short film of All Too Well. And we’re okay with that.
When Taylor Swift first released Red in 2012, you could say that it was a pop culture moment. Not only was it one of Taylor’s most successful albums sales-wise, but it also marked a notable shift in Taylor’s music journey. At this point in time, she was slowly transitioning from her early country girl image into a more pop star persona. That was personified in Red, which featured pop hits like I Knew You Were Trouble and 22 as well as more grounded fair like State of Grace, Stay Stay Stay, and Everything Has Changed. While this change irked some people, by and large, many people consider Red to be one of Taylor’s best, if not her best, albums of her career.
And when you talk about Red, the conversation isn’t complete without talking about the iconic All Too Well. A fan favorite all the way back since 2012, All Too Well has grown a fanbase of its own and reached and even surpassed the fame of her official singles like We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. And ever since Taylor announced that she was dropping Red (Taylor’s Version), expectations were through the roof as to what she would do for the new version of All Too Well. And now we have our answer, a full 10-minute version that holds no bars and makes an already great song into an exceptional one. The best part is that she finally dropped a music video for it, or more accurately, a short film.
ALL TOO WELL: THE SHORT FILM
Directed and written by Taylor Swift, All Too Well: The Short Film stars Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink simply as him and her. Segmented into chapters, the 15-minute video recreates the narrative that is presented in Taylor’s version of the song, from the beginning of the relationship to its eventual dissolution. The video even recreates some of the iconic lines from the song like leaving the red scarf at his sister’s place and calling her up just to break her like a promise. Taylor herself also appears in the video as Sadie’s character at an older age. The film ends with her now as an author where she wrote a book called All Too Well while her ex watches on from outside the venue.
If All Too Well was already as emotional as it is, the short film visualizes that pain and rollercoaster of feelings Taylor experienced at the time. Dylan did a good job, but Sadie really stole the show with her acting. We get to see her fall in love, get hurt, get scared, but ultimately move on. And at the end of the day, it seems that All Too Well (Taylor’s Version) isn’t so much about raw feelings, but more about reminiscing on what happened in the past.
It’s also not lost the fact that Dylan is 30 years old while Sadie is 19, an age gap that wasn’t too far off from the age gap Taylor and Jake Gyllenhaal had when they were dating. Of course, with this being a Taylor Swift video, there are sure to be easter eggs and references for the fans. Already, one potentially exciting revelation was the fact that the car they are driving, a Mercedes Benz S-Class, was made in 1989. We’ll let you fill in the rest.
ALL TOO WELL: THE 10 MINUTE VERSION
The original version of All Too Well was lauded for its sound, lyricism, and emotion. But in All Too Well (10 Minutes Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) sees Taylor unleash her full potential on the song to make it a truly unforgettable experience. Singing the new version at an older age, Taylor comes at this song with growth and maturity and sounds as if she’s moved on and even reminiscing on the past. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t forgotten. With the help of Jack Antonoff, Taylor digs deeper into the full story and brings out even more emotion. And she also lit Jake Gyllenhaal like the night sky on New Year’s Eve.
We knew that Taylor was hurting when she made the song, but we didn’t know she got hurt that bad. If the original version of All Too Well was a dagger to the chest, Taylor’s version is a whole sword through the heart. The originally scrapped version sees Taylor inject new verses in-between the old ones for a markedly different listening experience. In her new verses, she goes all out on how her relationship collapsed. First, she goes, “And then you wondered where it went to/as I reached for you but all I felt was shame/and you held my lifeless frame.” She then keeps it real with how she saw the relationship in the line, “You kept me like a secret/But I kept you like an oath.”
missed out on taylor swift’s red era before. im not gonna let it happen again.— Maris Racal (@MissMarisRacal) November 12, 2021
brb im gonna listen to the whole album. break na muna tayo @ricoblanco
Later on, Taylor references the age gap between her and Jake at the time and what Jake thought he was to her. In a revealing line, Taylor goes, “Not weeping in a party bathroom/some actress asking me what happened/YOU/That’s what happened/YOU.” She also talks about her 21st birthday, an event Taylor has referenced in her other songs, and how he did not show up, and Taylor’s dad cheering her up by saying, “it’s supposed to be fun turning 21”. This line helps give more context into why Taylor wrote the upbeat 22, possibly as a way for her to forget the heartbreak of her 21st birthday.
And if that’s not enough, Taylor goes for the jugular at the end by singing “And I was never good at telling jokes/ but the punchline goes I’ll get older/but your lovers stay my age.” All in all, Taylor turned what was already an emotional song into a heart-punching one that has us heartbroken all over again. And guess what, we are okay with that.
TURNING RED INTO PURE GOLD
With many already considering Red to be a great album, one would think that it would be hard to improve on it. But never underestimate Taylor Swift because she always understands the assignment. At over 2 hours and 10 minutes long, or 130 minutes (we see you Taylor), Red (Taylor’s Version) is a bigger, better, deeper, and bolder version of the original. The new tweaks to the old songs make it even better while the inclusions of B-sides and deep cuts from the vault make for a more complete listening experience.
While some of the songs on this album won’t reach the heights of some of Taylor’s songs, Red (Taylor’s Version) stands out as the best version of the album ever. Taylor’s adult voice brings a sense of overall growth and maturity to the whole album which makes it extra special for Swifties who’ve been listening to Red since 2012. Taylor Swift has traveled so far and whether she drops a new album or another TV version of her old albums, we cannot wait to see where else she goes.
By the way, if you’re looking to enhance your Red TV listening experience, Starbucks Philippines is currently selling Taylor’s Drink. It’s actually not a new menu item but a Nonfat Caramel Latte and it’s available all year round. Also, throughout the weekend, every store in the country will also be playing only Taylor Swift songs if you’re into that.