Taylor Swift Issues Plea to Fans Before Performing "Dear John" Ahead of Speak Now Re-Release

Taylor Swift performed "Dear John," widely believed to be about John Mayer, for the first time in years and before the release of her new version of the album that contains the breakup song.

By Corinne Heller Jun 25, 2023 5:50 PMTags
Watch: Taylor Swift and Matty Healy Break Up After Whirlwind Romance

Taylor Swift has one thing to say to fans eager to diss John Mayer: You need to calm down.

At her concert in Minneapolis June 24, she performed the breakup song "Dear John," widely believed to be about the fellow musician, for the first time in more than a decade and issued a plea ahead of the July 7 release of her re-recorded "Taylor's Version" of her 2010 album Speak Now, which contains the track.

After touting the friendships forged by fans during her Eras tour Swift said to the crowd as seen in a TikTok video, "I was hoping to ask you, that as we lead up to this album, I would love for that kindness and that gentleness to extend onto our internet activities. Right?"

Swift, who has in recent years worked to re-record new versions of her first six albums after her former label Big Machine sold the master recordings of her catalog, clarified the reason she is releasing Speak Now (Taylor's Version), saying, "I want to own my music and I believe that [those] who have the desire to own their music should be able to."

Celebrities Attending Taylor Swift's The Eras Tour

She continued, "I'm 33 years old. I don't care about anything that happened to me when I was 19 except for songs I wrote and the memories that we made together."

The singer concluded, "What I'm trying to tell you, is that I am not putting this album out so that you can go and should feel the need to defend me on the internet against someone you think I might have written a song about 14 million years ago. I do not care. We have all grown up. We're good."

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Swift and Mayer were linked romantically between 2009 and early 2010. For years, the "Daughters" musician has often been trolled online over "Dear John," which contains the lyrics, "Don't you think nineteen's too young / To be played by your dark, twisted games when I loved you so? I should've known."

Despite Swift's plea at her recent concert, many people have continued to bombard Mayer with critical comments on Instagram. "Sorry mom said we can't bully you anymore," one person wrote on one of his recent posts, adding, "(she was 19…)"

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While Swift and Mayer, who have a 13-year age gap, never confirmed a relationship, he has commented about "Dear John." In 2012, he told Rolling Stone in that he felt "really humiliated" by the track. Swift later told Glamour magazine in response, "How presumptuous! I never disclose who my songs are about."

In 2013, Mayer released the song "Paper Doll," which many people believe is a response to "Dear John." On April 8—coincidentally, the day it was reported Swift and actor Joe Alwyn had broken up after six years together—John performed "Paper Doll" at his concert in Sacramento, Calif. It marked the first time he has sung the song at a show in one year. He also offered new commentary on it.

Natasha Moustache/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

"I wonder if people don't like it because it sounds a little pissed off," he said, as seen in a TikTok video. "I don't really like 'pissed off' as a song. I think it was more 'hurt.' I think there's something about it that's a little 'bitchy.' I try not to give bitchiness in the song, and that happens sometimes."

He continued, "I guess I don't do it very well—'sarcastic bitch.' But I didn't really see it. I guess it is sort of a little bit like, bleh."

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