Red (Taylor’s Version) added even more amazing songs and lyrics to the album. Here are our favorite Taylor Swift Red lyrics.
Red is the second album that Taylor Swift has re-released in an effort to reclaim her work from her former record company, Big Machine Records. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was released in April 2021, and she still has four albums left to make her own. These include her debut Taylor Swift album, Speak Now, 1989, and Reputation.
Red (Taylor’s Version) includes new recordings of all 20 songs featured on the deluxe edition of Red, as well as 10 new tracks that weren’t previously on the album. These tracks include “Ronan,” which was previously released as a charity single, “Better Man,” which was a single for Little Big Town, “Babe,” a song Taylor Swift wrote and recorded with Sugarland, and a whopping 10-minute version of fan-favorite song “All Too Well.”
Related: Celebrate Taylor Swift’s Red with a cocktail for every track on the album
The Taylor Swift Red album is a favorite for many fans. It’s impressive in both its lyrical depth and variety of genre. This album marked the beginning of Taylor’s transition to pop music, but it is far from entirely set within that box. Red refuses to be categorized, with each song offering up an entirely new experience and effortlessly blending genres. As always, the unifying factor is Swift’s lyrical prowess.
The new recordings of her old works on Red (Taylor’s Version) are marked by the years of experience she’s gained since the album’s release in 2012. Her voice has a new maturity and strength, but she’s also made slight tweaks to the production that reflect all she’s learned. These changes pay off in spades and hearts and diamonds. The bops bop harder, the ballads cut deeper, and the anthems scream louder.
The seven entirely new songs on Red (Taylor’s Version), including the extra five minutes of “All Too Well,” fit right in on the already stacked album and provide even more amazing lyrics for us to cry and scream over for years to come. They’ve taken the sensation that is Red and have somehow made it even more undeniable. They add a new depth of color (red, obviously) to the singer’s experience at this age, and let us know just what she was up against in that relationship that, at this point, we all remember “all too well.”
Here are 13 of our favorite Taylor Swift lyrics from Red (Taylor’s Version).
13 of the best Taylor Swift ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ lyrics
1. ‘I was never good at telling jokes but the punchline goes, ‘I’ll get older but your lovers stay my age.” – ‘All Too Well (10 Minute Version)’
I must confess, I wasn’t sure that “All Too Well” could get better, but the chills that I get every time I hear this epic intro to the song’s epilogue are a recurrent reminder of just how wrong I was.
This Taylor Swift lyric from Red (Taylor’s Version) calls back to the “Begin Again” line, “I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny, ’cause he never did,” in a beautiful way. It could be less adeptly written as “I may not be funny, but at least I’m not a joke.”
It hits even harder since it’s been released with so much distance between her and the relationship. She’s gotten older and more mature, but this guy is still stuck in the same patterns. She’s over that phase of her life, but maybe he never will be. And isn’t that the best revenge of all?
2. ‘How can a person know everything at 18, and nothing at 22? And will you still want me when I’m nothing new?’ – ‘Nothing New’
When I first heard “Nothing New” on Red (Taylor’s Version) I was shocked by two things. The first was how smart and intuitive it was. The Red and 1989 era was when the media began to turn on Taylor in a big way, and this song makes it clear that she saw it all coming. She knew she couldn’t be the “ingénue” forever, and it’s something she thought about all the time.
The second thing that shocked me was that she managed to pull off yet another song with a near perfect set of lyrics, where it was almost impossible to pick out a favorite because each line is seemingly better than the last. Taylor Swift’s “Nothing New” is as intelligently crafted as it is raw and honest, which is the recipe for all of her best works.
The lyric I chose was the repeated line from the end of the chorus, because it encompassed all of the song’s best sentiments. It showcases that 22-year-old doubt that comes with the realization that life might not be all that you thought it would be at 18, and voices the heart-wrenching fear that she’s only beloved because of her novelty.
Of all the (From the Vault) tracks, I’m most glad this one wasn’t released until Red (Taylor’s Version). The inclusion of Phoebe Bridgers, one of the young talents that a younger version of Swift was scared of, makes the song so much more dynamic and also shows the growth that has taken place between then and now. At one point Taylor would’ve cried herself to sleep at the prospect of being “replaced,” but now she celebrates and elevates young female talent because she’s truly found her place and realizes that there’s room for everyone.
3. ‘I just miss you and I just wish you were a better man.’ – ‘Better Man’
We finally got a Taylor Swift version of “Better Man” on Red (Taylor’s Version), and I am so happy to be able to include it in this list. This song includes so many amazing lyrics, but the one that cuts the deepest is the song’s simple anthem.
The line supplements similar lines in “Babe,” including “what a shame, didn’t wanna be the one that got away,” and “I hate that because of you, I can’t love you.” It’s such a pure and painful sentiment. You want to love somebody so badly, but it can never work because of what they’ve done to you. It’s such a powerful lyric because no matter how much you want it, there’s nothing you can do. You just wish they were a better man.
4. ‘You call me up again just to break me like a promise. So casually cruel in the name of being honest.’ – ‘All Too Well’
Although I don’t feel qualified to make this statement because of its incredible boldness, this might be the most poignant lyric in “All Too Well,” a song where every line miraculously seems to cut deeper than the last. These words are just so expertly crafted. “You call me up again.” This has happened before. Broken like a promise that was supposed to be sacredly held. “Casually cruel” paints such a devastating picture and is instantly understood by its audience. “In the name of being honest” denotes an arrogance that only makes the pain sharper.
It’s a perfect lyric that somehow stands out amongst the countless other perfect lyrics surrounding it. This line will always make you feel it, no matter how many times you hit repeat. It will break you like a promise, because the line itself is “casually cruel in the name of being honest.”
5. ‘Too young to know it gets better, I’ll be summer sun for you forever.’ – ‘Forever Winter’
“Forever Winter” is a sneaky heartbreaker on Red (Taylor’s Version). The music is cheery, but the lyrics are some of the album’s heaviest. Taylor speaks of someone who is “breaking down,” who she hopes won’t “go.” It’s speculated that this song is about her friend who died of suicide shortly before the release of Taylor Swift’s Red album.
The “too young to know it gets better” Taylor Swift lyric is another one that’s shockingly mature for the age when she wrote it, and it’s one that cuts so deep given the subject matter. At the same time, the “I’ll be summer sun for you forever” shows a devastating naivety on her part, from a young girl who’s desperate for her friend to be okay.
6. ‘I confess babe, in my dreams you’re touching my face and asking me if I wanna try again with you. And I almost do.’ – ‘I Almost Do’
In “I Almost Do,” Taylor Swift is walking a tightrope, and any misstep could lead to disaster. It’s a song that often gets overlooked on Red (Taylor’s Version) because of the sheer glut of incredible songs, but it is so beautiful and real.
This lyric heartbreakingly details what she wants and can’t reach out for because of how much it will hurt. But she almost does anyway. “Almost” feels so close in this Taylor Swift Red lyric. So close that she had to write this song instead of picking up the phone!
7. ‘I bet you think about me when you say “oh my god, she’s insane. She wrote a song about me.”‘ – ‘I Bet You Think About Me’
It was difficult to choose just one lyric from Taylor Swift’s scathing country jam on Red (Taylor’s Version), but this one seems to sum up the tone while also pointing out how ridiculous it would be for someone to have and voice this thought of “she’s insane.” She’s Taylor Swift, people. You knew what you were getting into, and you probably liked it.
I absolutely love this lyric and the others like it, pointing out this man’s pathetic desire to be “hip” and how much “space” he needs, which is a callback to what he asked for in “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” when they “hadn’t seen each other in a month.” However, it gets even better when you realize that this song takes the morose and longing “I bet” from “I Almost Do” on Taylor Swift’s Red and turns it on its head completely. She’s not sad anymore when she’s wondering if you might be thinking about her; she’s certain that you are, and she’s got a smirk on her face because of it.
8. ‘And there we are again when nobody had to know. You kept me like a secret but I kept you like an oath.’ – ‘All Too Well (10 Minute Version)’
There’s no greater testament to Taylor Swift’s lyrical brilliance than the fact that this masterpiece is a lyric that has sat on the cutting room floor for the past decade.
No other single line in “All Too Well,” even the 10-minute version, does a better job at articulating the power dynamic at play in this relationship. One partner views the other with pride, importance, and even reverence, while the other views them with shame. One partner has the other on a pedestal while the other keeps them hidden away.
This lyric also paints the picture of a couple who thrives in isolation, but falls apart when the realities of life enter the picture. This could just be because the lovers don’t actually fit into each other’s lives that well, but isolation is also a tactic that narcissists and abusers use to keep their conquests under their control.
9. ‘They tell you that you’re lucky but you’re so confused because you don’t feel pretty, you just feel used.’ – ‘The Lucky One’
This Red (Taylor’s Version) lyric from “The Lucky One” hits even harder coming out on the day that Britney Spears was officially freed from her conservatorship. Britney and Taylor aren’t the first young women to fall prey to the uglier side of fame, and with “The Lucky One,” Taylor analyzes how that feels from the perspective of a woman who’s been through it, rumored to be Joni Mitchell.
In a similar style to folklore’s “the last great American dynasty,” Taylor brings the song’s perspective around to her own, showing that she’s already beginning to feel like those shiny Hollywood lights are getting pretty hot pointing right at her. This lyric was an early glimpse into the more detailed confessions of “Nothing New” on Red (Taylor’s Version).
10. ‘You should’ve been there. You should’ve burst through the door with that ‘baby I’m right here’ smile. And it would’ve felt like a million little shining stars had just aligned.’ – ‘The Moment I Knew’
“The Moment I Knew” tells the story of one single birthday party that sparked one million tears. Taylor Swift’s storytelling and her ability to perfectly capture a feeling that it didn’t seem possible to articulate is at its best here, as we follow her down every hallway, trying to hold it together while completely falling apart inside.
This song is yet another start-to-finish masterpiece in Swift’s Red repertoire, but the lyric that hits us the most is the very first. Because he should have been there. And she would have been so happy. But he didn’t. And she wasn’t. It sets up the ideal before proceeding to shatter it for the next four minutes, making it all the more painful knowing what could have been.
I love that the “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” called back to this song with the line about her dad. “He watched me watch the front door all night willing you to come. He said ‘it’s supposed to be fun, turning 21.'” If there’s one thing I would change from the “All Too Well” short film, it would be having the birthday party scene in slow motion to mirror the lyrics and the feeling of “The Moment I Knew” to pay tribute to the amazing song that it is.
11. ‘We’re happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way. It’s miserable and magical.’ – ’22’
This lyric will always be a standout on the Taylor Swift Red album because it so wonderfully sums up the feeling of being 22, which in turn does a great job of summing up the entire album. There’s a sense of happiness attached to her youth and success, there’s a freedom in finally emancipating yourself from a tumultuous relationship, there’s confusion in trying to make sense of what you’ve been through and where the hell you need to go from here, and of course there’s loneliness, sometimes even when you’re surrounded by people.
Although lyrics about “red” love and ruthless games also do a great job as descriptors of the Taylor Swift Red album, this one really captures the full scope and is endlessly applicable to life, as all the best Taylor Swift lyrics are.
12. ‘A message in a bottle is all I can do, standing here hoping it gets to you.’ – ‘Message in a Bottle’
While this lyric from the Red (Taylor’s Version) song “Message in a Bottle” might not make the list because of its depth as a lyric on its own, it does make the list because of its many layers. This song isn’t just a fun, welcome addition to an incredible album, it’s also a cool metaphor for Taylor Swift’s music in general.
These songs truly are a message in a bottle for her. She’s writing down her feelings and sending them out, hoping that her words reach the intended recipient and that they’re met with love. In a way she’s also sending them out to her fans and hoping for the same.
The mention of “London” in this song seemingly connects it to “Come Back…Be Here,” which features the lyric, “now that I can put this down, if I had known what I’d known now, I never would’ve played so nonchalant.” This line makes the Taylor Swift Red lyric from “Message in a Bottle” even more special because it is anything but nonchalant! It is bold and brave and in your face, exactly how she wished she had acted.
13. ‘Took a deep breath in the mirror. He didn’t like it when I wore high heels but I do.’ – ‘Begin Again’
This lyric from Red (Taylor’s Version) is the perfect intro to the sweet song that closed out the original album. She’s still experiencing some doubt from the relationship that she remembers “all too well,” but she’s beginning to find that “old self” again, beginning with her signature high heels.
While “Begin Again” is about the prospect of a refreshing new love, I appreciate that the lyric reads “I do,” instead of “he does.” She’s discovering what she likes and desires, and it really doesn’t have much to do with this guy. With this Taylor Swift Red lyric and this deep breath, she exhales the past and begins again, open to whatever’s coming her way. And spoiler alert for 22-year-old Taylor, it’s all going to be okay!