“All Too Well (Taylor’s Version) (10 Minute Version) ” is the final track on Taylor Swift’s 2021 re-release and re-recording of her 2012 fourth studio album “Red“, which was originally released through Big Machine Records. Now, in 2021, Swift has released the album once again through Republic Records, with an impressive track listing consisting of 30 tracks (in comparison to the 2012 album’s 19 songs) that see Swift’s 2012 version of “Red” appear to be more bittersweet in tone, while “Red (Taylor’s Version)” sees Swift be more brutally honest and vulnerable in both anger and sadness.
Taylor Swift’s re-release and re-recording of her albums poses the question of ownership rights in creative industries – once your work is out there – and infamous – who is entitled and who owns the pieces and bodies of work? Swift’s reasoning for re-releasing her older albums was due to her dispute with her previous label Big Machine (who Swift had left in 2018), whom American talent manager Scooter Braun bought for $300 million in June 2019. As part of that purchase, Braun had also acquired ownership of the master recordings of Swift’s first six studio albums. In a Tumblr post on the day of Braun’s deal with Big Machine, Swift denounced and condemned the deal.By re-releasing and re-recording her own musical work from her past six albums and ensuring that they sound like the original recordings as much as possible, this ultimately allows Swift to control the licensing of her songs for commercial use – therefore lowering the value of the previous masters that Big Machine own.
The song, which was originally 5 minutes and 29 seconds long, has been extended to 10 minutes and 13 seconds long, making the track a musical story, a romantic narrative accompanied by a swelling array of instruments, perfectly matching the various ebbs and flows of the relationship discussed in the song. “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” sees Swift reminisce on a short-lived but intense relationship, starting with dreamlike emotions and soft moments, ending on sharp and tart realisations as the instruments echo the relationships change. Many fans have theorised that the song is inspired by Swift’s relationship with actor Jae Gyllenhaal, despite the actor claiming not to know that Swift had written a song about him when asked in an interview with Howard Stern in 2015. Speaking to TV personality and host Jimmy Fallon, Swift reflected on the song and it’s creation:
“I showed up for rehearsals for the Speak Now World Tour, and I was really upset and sad, and everybody could tell – it was like really not fun to be around me that day… I started playing guitar and […] playing the same four chords over and over again, and the band sort of joined in, and I started ad-libbing what I was going through and what I was feeling, and it went on. The song kept building and building and building in intensity, and the song just went on for about, you know, 10 to 15 minutes of us doing this…”
In honour of the song’s legendary relationship with Swift’s fans, she announced that she would be releasing a short film for “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)”, which was written and directed by Swift starring actors Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink. The film shows a romantic relationship and its demise, with the occasional break for dialogue between the actors. The short film is broken into seven chapters which represent the character’s most poignant moments in their relationship: “An Upstate Escape“, “The First Crack In The Glass“, “Are You Real?“, “The Breaking Point“, “The Reeling“, “The Remembering” and an epilogue titled “Thirteen Years Gone“. Uploaded to Taylor Swift’s channel on the 13th November 2021, the video was #1 on YouTube’s trending page for over 24 hours, as well as accumulating over 24.7 million views and 2.8 million likes in that time.
Swift performed the 10 minute long track live on SNL, which premiered via YouTube on the 14th November 2021.
Read the lyrics to “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version) (10 Minute Version) (From The Vault)” here.
*All information accurate at the time of publishing.