All Too Well (10 Minutes) Review

Kaitlynn Breeden, Editor in Chief

Taylor Swift re-released her fourth studio album “Red (Taylor’s Version)” on Nov. 12. Swift released this album following the re-release of “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” in her journey to reclaim her discography.

The main anticipated song on the album is “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) [Taylor’s Version] [From The Vault].” The track is a 10-minute version of track five, “All Too Well” and it is the original first draft of the song.

During her appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Nov. 12, Swift said she wrote “All Too Well” during a practice on her “Speak Now” tour in 2012. She said she went into practice feeling sad and just grabbed her guitar and started ad-libbing. Her band joined in with her and for 10 minutes they played and created what would be “All Too Well.” Swift had to cut down the 10-minute version to a shorter one that would be more fitting for an album.

“All Too Well” was written in 2012 when Swift was 21 years old. Though Swift has never confirmed it the album, but specifically this song, tells the story of the three-month relationship Swift had with actor Jake Gyllenhall. The song is a fan-favorite and arguably the most heartbreaking and painful song Swift has ever written.

The original version of “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version) is track five on the album and is 5:30. The new version of the song “All Too Well (10 Minutes) [Taylor’s Version]” is track 30 and is 10:13. The 10-minute version starts the same first verse and chorus. In the second verse the first four lines are the same, before switching to new lyrics. “And you were tossing me the car keys, “f*** the patriarchy” / Keychain on the ground, we were always skipping town.” The guy in this situation pretends to be a big supporter of women but has emotionally manipulative tendencies. Tossing her the keys makes it seem like he was giving her some control in the relationship, in a genuine way or as a trick while he held the true power.

The third verse is completely new and shows more of the anger Swift felt during this time. The verse opens with, “They say alls well that ends well but I’m in a new hell / Every time you double cross my mind.” Swift wrote this lyric describing the pain of thinking about an ex or seeing them, and the overwhelming sadness that comes with it. On Swift’s seventh album, Lover, the title single “Lover” uses this lyric to convey a different feeling. Lover conveys true love and admiration for a partner. Swift wrote, “Alls well that ends well to end up with you.” These are the same lyrics being used to describe two different points in her life. Swift’s song writing is so brilliant that she can write a lyric with such a strong emotional, heartbreaking impact, and then use the same words to create a beautiful love song.

Swift was 21 years old when she wrote “All Too Well” and Gyllenhall was 29. Gyllenhall chose to pursue a relationship with a 21-year-old woman yet told her during the breakup that her age was a problem. “You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine / And that made me want to die.” He gave her a reason for breaking up with her that is something she can’t change. The next line is, “The idea you had of me, who was she? / A never-needy, ever lovely jewel whose shine reflects on you.” Her partner wanted all the fun of dating Swift and to revel in her status but didn’t nurture any of her needs.

In the end of the third verse Swift sings, “But then he watched me watch the front door all night willing you to come / And he said, ‘it’s supposed to be fun turning 21.’” This line references “The Moment I Knew,” which is the 17th track on “Red (Taylor’s Version).” “The Moment I Knew” paints the scene of Swift waiting for Gyllenhall to show up to her 21st birthday party. Instead of enjoying her birthday with her family and friends, she waited around for him to show up all evening.

Verse four goes back to the original lyrics, “Time won’t fly it’s like I’m paralyzed by it / I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it.” There’s a sense of nostalgia for the beginning phase of the romance, and a longing to relive it before it changed. The verse paints the battle of wanting it back when it was good and knowing she’s better off without him.

The fifth verse is just a straight warning to any women in Gyllenhall’s life. Swift opens the verse with, “And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punchline goes / ‘I’ll get older, but your lovers will stay my age’ / From when your Brooklyn broke my skin and bones / I’m a soldier who’s returning half her weight.” She dated this man when she was 20 years old, and the statement speaks for itself.

The song ends with a beautiful fade out and takes the emotion the song built up, keeps it rolling, and carries it out until the end. It’s amazing to hear Swift record an old and loved song and deliver it in a new way. Somehow at the age of 21 Swift was able to take her feelings about her heartbreak and create a masterpiece of a song. All Too Well” was listed on the Rolling Stone’s industry-voted list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time, placing at 69.

Swift’s vocals and the vocal layering on “All Too Well (10 Minutes) [Taylor’s Version]” have a similar sound to the layering used on her albums “Folklore” and “Evermore.” Swift beautifully incorporated her newer sound into the recreation of her older work by using the same types of sounds and seamlessly blending them into her old style.

Lyrically this is the version of the song that should have come out first. The original version of “All Too Well” gave fans Swift’s vulnerability and heartbreak. “All Too Well (10 Minutes) [Taylor’s Version]” includes what the edited version was missing. This version of the song shows a little bit of a rebuttal against the person it’s written about. It shows moments of anger and arguing, being able to stand her ground despite how terrible she felt.

The 10-minute version of the song shows the work artists audiences miss out on due to creative people being heavily restricted by record labels and publishers. Having Swift’s full perspective of the story in the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” allows long-time fans of Swift to hear the song as it was originally meant to be released. The original release of the song was fantastic, but the re-release is the complete version of the song.