Taylor Swift – All Too Well (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)

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Taylor Swift’s 2012 album ‘Red’ was probably one of the best she’s ever produced so far, and it’s the third best-selling album of her career with 6 million sales worldwide after ‘1989’ (10mn) and ‘Fearless’ (9mn). However, the “Red” album produced some of the most beautiful and profound albums of his career. The album also marks the end of Taylor Swift’s country music era and transition to pop music.

The ‘Red’ album produced incredible songs such as ‘State of Grace’, ‘Treacherous’, ‘Red’, ‘IKYWT’, ’22’, ‘The Last Time’, ‘Holy Ground’ and the list goes on. However, out of the 16 tracks, one song really stands out. The five-and-a-half-minute long song is often considered Taylor Swift’s best song to date. And there are mysteries surrounding the song, that there is even an 11-15 minute version of the song. The song is none other than “All Too Well”. This song was the first written for the album by Taylor Swift and Liz Rose.

taylor%2Bswift%2Ball%2Btoo%2Bwell%2B4 - Taylor Swift – All Too Well (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)
Cover “Too good”
Performance graph

Surprisingly, “All Too Well” didn’t perform very well on the charts. It peaked at number 80 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 17 on the US Hot Country Songs chart.

In the 2021 edition of Rolling Stone magazine’s “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list, “All Too Well” was ranked at #69.

What is “Too good” about?

“All Too Well” isn’t just a beautifully written song, it’s a ballad of heartbreaking reminiscence of a love she held dear. Shortly before writing “All Too Well,” Taylor Swift broke off a relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal.

too good taylor swift jake gyllenhaal
Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal dated for three months in 2010

I left my scarf there at your sister’s
And you still got it in your drawer, even now

Taylor Swift talks about a scarf she left at her boyfriend’s sister’s house in “All Too Well.”

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The same “scarf” worn by Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal

Somewhere down the line, Jake Gyllenhaal is pictured wearing a scarf similar to the one Taylor Swift wore in the photo above. By connecting these little dots, we can assume that “All Too Well” was inspired by the relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal.

But you keep my old scarf from that very first week
‘Cause it reminds you of innocence and it smells like me

Watch Taylor Swift Perform “All Too Well” Live at the 2014 Grammy Awards

Download “All Too Well” on iTunes and Amazon

Taylor Swift had this to say about “All Too Well”:

“Very good” [was difficult to write emotionally] because it took me a long time to filter everything I wanted to put in the song without it being a 10-minute song, which you can’t put on an album.

Review of the lyrics and meaning of the song “All Too Well”

Needless to say, “All Too Well” is a heartbreaking anthem and we have to watch it from Taylor’s perspective. The verses run from the beginning to the end of the relationship.

Verse 1

In the first verse, Taylor Swift paints a beautiful picture of how everyone would dream their life would be with that special someone. It’s the beginning of a relationship, hope is the key word and everything seems dynamic.

Taylor Swift says being with this person made her feel like home. She was comfortable and he was warm. It was as if all the pieces fell into perfect fit, like falling autumn leaves. But little did she know, fall leaf fall signifies a seasonal change where trees hibernate for the winter season. Trees basically die. Taylor was naïve and full of love and hope enough to achieve this.


“All Too Well” is a walk in the past, bitter in addition. She looks back on that time when everything looked colorful. Time has long passed and she is struggling to untie it from the ropes.


The chorus of “All Too Well” blurs the line between reality and its imagination. She obviously remembers something from the past, but in doing so, it becomes her reality.

You almost ran red because you were looking at me

This guy was so enamored with the look of Taylor Swift, he almost ran a red light while he was driving.

“The wind in my hair” usually refers to freedom or lack of responsibility. So Taylor thinks back to those days when she had nothing to worry about.

The chorus begins in the present “we are still there” and ends in the past “I was there, I remember it too well”. So it’s obvious that all this time she was imagining the past.

Watch Taylor Swift Deliver Stunning ‘Too Good’ Performance on ‘Reputation’ Tour

Verse 2

The second verse of “All Too Well” recalls the time Taylor Swift visited Jake Gyllenhaal’s house and met his parents. She remembers looking at childhood photos of Jake wearing glasses.

You were a little kid with glasses in a twin bed

Jake Gyllenhaal wore glasses too well when he was a kid
Jake Gyllenhaal wearing glasses as a child

Jake and his mother chatted with Taylor Swift telling stories of their childhood thinking she was his future. But the autumn leaves were falling.

Pre-chorus 2

Taylor thinks back to the time and remembers that it was a long time ago and it was time for her to move on. But the more she tries to forget him, the more the memories flood in as to why she needed him in the first place. This is internal war!

Chorus 2

Taylor Swift thinks back to the sweet memories they had of dancing in the middle of the night by the fridge light. She remembers all of this too well to simply erase it from her memory. Hence the struggle.


“Lost in Translation” is a 2000 film and depicts a short-lived relationship between two strangers. The similarities in the movie and Taylor’s relationship are too similar to just ignore this reference as random.

Taylor Swift thinks maybe the two have two different ideas about the relationship. Maybe Taylor Swift wanted the wedding;

I may have asked too much

She also says their short-lived relationship was a “masterpiece” until the guy tore it apart and broke it. So Taylor is pointing the finger directly at the guy.

Jake Gyllenhaal is said to have broken off relationship with Taylor Swift over a phone call or text after standing her up at her own birthday party. If true, Taylor is justified in saying she felt like a crumbled piece of paper lying in the corner of the room.

Verse 3

The third and final verse of “All Too Well” is about recovery. She believes that time is a healer but that time doesn’t even move. She is crumpled by a time when she is stuck.

Matching shirts, wild and intimate nights, dinners, walks and everything in between keep Taylor from moving on. He sends her by post the belongings she had kept at his house. He doesn’t even have the backbone to deliver them. But he gives nothing back. This scarf she wore on their very first date. So is he clinging to something that reminds him of his presence? This thought haunts Taylor Swift.

Chorus 3

Taylor Swift says their relationship was the only real one he had and he most likely regrets giving it up. She was there for him and her type was hard to find, and all those memories she remembers too well to forget and move on.


The song’s outro is Taylor Swift on the fence. She looks back on the carefree times she spent with the guy and all the memories they made together.

But she also remembers the whole story too well to make a mistake again.

This will conclude the long annotation of the lyrics of “All Too Well”. This song is special for another reason that no chorus, pre-chorus or verse is repeated. And if it’s the filtered or simplified version, it would be amazing to get your hands on the full version.

Let us know in the comments below your thoughts on the song.

Updated: 17/11/2020

Taylor Swift confirms the existence of a “Too good” version in seven verses

On a recent episode of Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums” podcast, Taylor Swift opened up about how the “Red” era changed her life and music career for the better. In the same chat, she went into detail about her now infamous “All Too Well” and her writing process.

“It was a day where I was just, like, a broken human, walking into rehearsal, feeling awfully bad about what was going on in my personal life.” She continued; “It was literally just this song, but it probably had seven extra verses and it included the f-word… And I was like, ‘Actually, I really like this, but it’s definitely like 10 minutes and I have to narrow it down, so I’ll call Liz Rose.

So, there is a 10 minute version of “All Too Well”, and it’s already recorded too. After his falling out with his former label Big Machine and its owner Scooter Braun, Taylor re-recorded his first six albums. So, there is a chance that with the re-recording of the “Red” album, we can see the entirety of “All Too Well”.

Taylor Swift announces the release of the 10-minute song “All Too Well”

Taylor Swift has announced her re-recorded second album ‘Red’ will be released on June 18, 2021. Along with the announcement, Taylor tweeted

The next album I’m going to release is my version of Red, which will be released on November 19th. This will be the first time you’ll hear all 30 songs that were set to be released on Red. And hey, one of them is even ten minutes long🧣 https://t.co/FOBLS5aHpS https://t.co/6zWa64Owgp

That red scarf at the end of the Tweet is a dead giveaway. The infamous scarf is a centerpiece of “All Too Well.” So, we’re most definitely getting a 10-minute version of “All Too Well” on November 19, 2021. Stay tuned.

Lyrics of “All Too Well” by Taylor Swift

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