Red (Taylor's Version) Decoded: Every Taylor Swift Easter Egg You Might've Missed

Taylor Swift's updated version of Red is out now—featuring previously unreleased tracks and the 10-minute version of "All Too Well." E! News breaks down all the heartbreaking lyrics below.

By Jess Cohen Nov 12, 2021 12:52 PMTags
Watch: Taylor Swift Teases New Short Film for "All Too Well"

Swifties, grab your scarves: Red (Taylor's Version) is here!

That's right, Taylor Swift has officially dropped the updated version of her beloved 2012 record. The album, which Swift re-recorded amid her ongoing music battle, now features 30 tracks—including previously unreleased vault songs and the highly anticipated 10-minute version of "All Too Well."

The 31-year-old Grammy winner first announced Red (Taylor's Version) in June. "Musically and lyrically, Red resembled a heartbroken person. It was all over the place, a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow all fit together in the end," she shared in a letter to fans at the time. "Happy, free, confused, lonely, devastated, euphoric, wild and tortured by memories past. Like trying on pieces of a new life, I went into the studio and experimented with different sounds and collaborators."

"And I'm not sure if it was pouring my thoughts into this album," she added, "hearing thousands of your voices sing the lyrics back to me in a passionate solidarity, or if it was simple time, but something was healed along the way."

Fascinating Facts About Taylor Swift

During this chapter of her life, Swift noted, she couldn't stop writing, resulting in a long list of songs to choose from for Red. While some initially didn't make the cut, Swift is now opening the vault. As she explained in her message, "This will be the first time you hear all 30 songs that were meant to go on Red."

So, in celebration of Red (Taylor's Version), let's break down the vault songs below!

"Message in a Bottle": Many of Swift's songs on Red (Taylor's Version) appear to connect to each other, hinting that they might be about the same relationship. Take, for instance, songs "Message in a Bottle" and "Come Back...Be Here," which are both about missing someone while they're away. In "Come Back...Be Here," Swift sings, "I guess you're in London today and I don't wanna need you this way." And in "Message in a Bottle," the lyrics also refence London as Swift asks, "How is it in London? Where are you while I'm wondering if I'll ever see you again."

"I Bet You Think About Me" Featuring Chris Stapleton: Another set of lyrics that seemingly connect are from vault song "I Bet You Think About Me" and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." In "WANEGBT," Swift sings about an ex-boyfriend—rumored to be Jake Gyllenhaal—finding his "peace of mind" with an "indie record that's much cooler than mine." And in "I Bet You Think About Me," Swift belts, "I bet you think about me when you're out at your cool indie music concerts every week."

Another hint that "I Bet You Think About Me" might be about Gyllenhaal? Swift sings, "You grew up in a silver spoon gated community / Glamourous, shiny bright, Beverly Hills." As it turns out, the Donnie Darko actor grew up Los Angeles.

"Forever Winter": The lyrics to this vault track appear to reference a line from Swift's song "ME!" off of her Lover album. In "Forever Winter," Swift sings to a partner, "Too young to know it gets better / I'll be summer sun for you forever / Forever winter if you go." Swift references the same seasons in "ME!" with the lyrics, "'Cause one of these things is not like the others / Livin' in winter, I am your summer."

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"Run" Featuring Ed Sheeran: Swift and pal Ed Sheeran actually wrote this song the first day they met. While "Run" didn't make the 2012 album, the duo's beloved duet "Everything Has Changed" did. "Run is the first song me and @taylorswift ever wrote together, and Everything Has Changed was the second," Ed wrote on Instagram. "We re-recorded both of them for Red (Taylor's Version) which is out today and they are just great."

"The Very First Night": In the lyrics to this upbeat track, Swift wishes she could go "back in time" to the start of a relationship. The song has a similar theme to "All Too Well," especially when Swift references "riding in the car," like the power ballad's lyrics, "We're singing in the car, getting lost upstate."

"All Too Well" (10-Minute Version): After teasing an extended version of the track, Swift finally released the 10-minute edition of "All Too Well." And yes, it was worth the wait! The lyrics even offer more insight into her and Gyllenhaal's romance and subsequent breakup. "They say all's well that ends well, but I'm in a new hell every time you double-cross my mind," Swift sings. "You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine / And that made me want to die."

Swift later references her age gap with the 40-year-old actor, singing, "And I was never good at telling jokes but the punchline goes, 'I'll get older, but your lovers stay my age.'" 

The singer reportedly dated Gyllenhaal back in 2010, when she was 20 and he was 29. In the extended version of "All Too Well" and Swift's song "The Moment I Knew," she reflects on her 21st birthday and the "one who didn't show." According to the songs, the two went their separate ways soon after the party.

"Nothing New" Featuring Phoebe Bridgers: A dream collab! For "Nothing New," Swift was joined by fellow artist Phoebe Bridgers, who admitted she got "teary" while recording the song. "It's just been a dream," Bridgers told Billboard. "I just am so excited to have people take it at face value the day that it comes out, because I got teary recording it. I just couldn't be more excited."

In a diary entry released to Swift's fans during her Lover era, she explained the meaning behind the song, writing that it's "about being scared of aging and things changing and losing what you have. It says, 'I'm getting older and less sure of what you like about me anyway.'"

Jason Merritt/LP5/Getty Images for TAS

"Better Man": Fans might've heard "Better Man" before, but probably not with Swift singing. That's because after she originally wrote the song, she ended up sending it to Little Big Town. "One day she e-mailed us and said, 'Hey, are you guys in the studio making a record? I have a song in my back pocket that I've loved for a long time and I hear your harmonies on it,'" Karen Fairchild recalled to E! News in 2018. "So she sent it to us and we were like 'Holy cow, this is a big song.'"

Big song is right! After releasing the track, LBT went on to win Best Country Duo/Group Performance for the song at the 2018 Grammys.

Now, Swift has released the track—about leaving a troubled romance behind—with her own vocals. "I know, I'm probably better off on my own, than lovin' a man who didn't know what he had when he had it," Swift sings. "And I see, the permanent damage you did to me, never again, I just wish I could forget when it was magic."

"Babe": After "Babe," written by Swift and Train singer Pat Monahan, didn't make the 2012 edition of Red, Swift later pitched it to Sugarland. "This collaboration is the perfect combination of mutual admiration for each other and mutual admiration for great songs," Jennifer Nettles said of the collab in 2018. "As artists, we really see the world through a similar lens."

Swift, who provided vocals for Sugarland's version, even co-starred in the track's June 2018 music video. Now, we get to hear Swift take the lead on vocals. 

Red (Taylor's Version) is out now.

Swift's short film for "All Too Well" is set to drop at 7 p.m. EST/4 p.m. PST.