Taylor Swift has been known to take aim at her exes in her music, so it’s no surprise that what she calls the “most scathing” song she’s ever written involves one of her former flames.
The superstar singer, 33, released on July 7 “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” the re-recorded version of her 2010 album, and in the prologue included on the vinyl edition, shared on Reddit, she looks back on writing this album as a teenager and opines on some of those songs.
“In my mind, the saddest song I’ve ever written is ‘Last Kiss.’ My most scathing is ‘Dear John’ and my most wistfully romantic is ‘Enchanted,’” she writes.
“Dear John” has long been said to be about singer John Mayer, who was rumored to have dated Swift when she was 19 and he was 32. Swift has never confirmed whether the song is about him, but in any case, the lyrics to “Dear John” seem to be about romantic betrayal.
“You paint me a blue sky/ And go back and turn it to rain/ And I lived in your chess game/ But you changed the rules every day,” she sings in one verse. “Wondering which version of you I might get on the phone tonight/ Well, I stopped picking up, and this song is to let you know why.”
Swift recently gave a surprise performance of “Dear John” during a stop in Minneapolis on her “Eras Tour.” Before performing the ballad, she called for “kindness and gentleness” and asked fans not to harass any (rumored) subjects of her songs.
“I’m not putting this album out so that you can go and feel the need to defend me on the internet against someone you think I might have written a song about 14 billion years ago when I was 19,” she said. “I do not care. We have all grown up. We’re good.”
Mayer addressed “Dear John” in a 2012 Rolling Stone interview, saying he had been “really humiliated” by the song.
“It made me feel terrible,” he said. “Because I didn’t deserve it. I’m pretty good at taking accountability now, and I never did anything to deserve that. It was a really lousy thing for her to do.”
In her prologue to the “Speak Now” re-release, Swift called the album “unfiltered and potent” and said it captured a transformative time in her younger life.
“I made this album, completely self-written, between the ages of 18 and 20,” she writes. “I was encountering the milestones and checkpoints of normal teenage growth. I had cataclysmic crushes and brushes with heartache.”
Another portion of the prologue discusses going through some that teenage growth while in the limelight: “I experienced the weirdness of trying to get to know a boy while a swarm of paparazzi surrounds the car. Media contacting my publicist for an official statement on why two teenagers broke up. These are weird experiences to have at any age, but even more surreal when you’re 19.”
It’s possible she’s discussing actor Taylor Lautner, who was photographed in cars with Swift when they were romantically linked in 2009. Her song “Back to December” is rumored to be about him. Back in May, Lautner told TODAY.com that he “felt safe” amid the upcoming re-release of “Speak Now,” but was “praying for John.”
“Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” also includes six previously unreleased tracks, including one song, “When Emma Falls In Love,” rumored to be about her longtime friend, actor Emma Stone.