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Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well”

By Sachin Jhangiani

Taylor Swift’s brilliance has always been in her lyrics. They have a comforting flow to them and they always tell a story. They capture emotions that you know you’ve felt, but may not have been able to articulate. There’s a reason “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” became a breakup anthem.

The 10-minute version of “All Too Well” is no exception. Make no mistake, the original version was superb, but the 10-minute version adds a new dimension. It’s like your favourite book was missing a chapter that you didn’t know it needed, and now that you have it, you’re able to savour its maturity. Lines like “You kept me like a secret/ But I kept you like an oath” express Taylor’s rage with subdued, poetic passion. In other lines, “I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age”, the residual anger is explicit and implacable.

The song was accompanied by the release of a short movie starring Dylan O’Brian as Jake Gyllenhaal, presumably, and Sadie Sink as Taylor Swift. The decision to shoot the film on nostalgic 35mm film was a great way to express how Taylor saw – as many of us have seen – an unhealthy relationship through rose-tinted glasses. Moments like the fight in the kitchen between Taylor and Jake show how she felt emotionally manipulated by him. The final imagery of Taylor turning her heartbreak into a success, through the release of an eponymous book, is one that we, pardon the pun, know all too well.

“All Too Well” is ultimately a song about pain and heartbreak, quintessential Taylor Swift themes. But the reason it works is perhaps best encapsulated by Jake Peralta in Brooklyn Nine-Nine when he’s asked if Taylor Swift is his favourite artist: “She makes me feel things!” And if you’re not a Taylor Swift fan and don’t understand the hype behind the song, if there’s one thing you should take away from this review, it’s this: always return your ex’s scarf!

Hi! My name is Sachin and I’m a general course student from India. I usually write about books, TV shows and film (huge Marvel fan). You can usually find me either binging some trashy reality TV (Temptation Island is a personal favourite) or watching football or F1. I’m always on the lookout for good recommendations so if you have any or just want to chat generally because you hopefully liked what I wrote, feel free to get in touch with me! Instagram – @sachin.jhangiani / Facebook – Sachin Jhangiani / Email- s.jhangiani@lse.ac.uk

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