Song of the Day #4,266: ‘All Too Well’ – Taylor Swift

Continuing my ranking of Taylor Swift’s albums…

#5 – Red – 2012

Red was a transitional album for Taylor Swift, marking her first steps into more muscular pop territory (and her first collaborations with Swedish hitmakers Max Martin and Shellback). It was also her longest album to that point, at 16 tracks.

You can feel the strain on both of those fronts, as Red feels way too long and way too unsure of itself.

I ended up keeping eight of Red‘s 16 songs on my playlist — not a great percentage — but those include some of the best work of her career.

Today’s SOTD, ‘All Too Well,’ is a mournful epic that many consider her best song yet. Pitchfork called it her ‘Tangled Up in Blue,’ a breakup told in snapshots of memory through the hazy gauze of time.

Other standouts include ‘State of Grace,’ ‘Higher Ground,’ ‘The Lucky One’ and ‘Begin Again.’ And in ‘I Knew You Were Trouble,’ Swift cracked the code by twisting her earnest singer-songwriter style into a radio-friendly dubstep bop. It’s one of my favorite Swift tracks because it is so fun and so unlikely.

I walked through the door with you
The air was cold
But something ’bout it felt like home somehow, and I
Left my scarf there at your sister’s house
And you’ve still got it
In your drawer, even now

[Verse 1]
Oh, your sweet disposition
And my wide-eyed gaze
We’re singing in the car getting lost upstate
Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place
And I can picture it after all these days

[Pre-Chorus 1]
And I know it’s long gone and
That magic’s not here no more
And I might be okay, but I’m not fine at all
Oh, oh, oh

[Chorus 1]
‘Cause there we are again on that little town street
You almost ran the red ’cause you were looking over at me
Wind in my hair, I was there, I remember it all too well

[Verse 2]
Photo album on the counter
Your cheeks were turning red
You used to be a little kid with glasses in a twin-sized bed
And your mother’s telling stories ’bout you on the tee ball team
You told me about your past, thinking your future was me

[Pre-Chorus 2]
And I know it’s long gone and
There was nothing else I could do
And I forget about you long enough
To forget why I needed to

[Chorus 2]
‘Cause there we are again in the middle of the night
We’re dancing round the kitchen in the refrigerator light
Down the stairs, I was there, I remember it all too well, yeah

Maybe we got lost in translation
Maybe I asked for too much
But maybe this thing was a masterpiece
‘Til you tore it all up
Running scared, I was there, I remember it all too well
And you call me up again just to break me like a promise
So casually cruel in the name of being honest
I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here
‘Cause I remember it all, all, all
Too well

[Verse 3]
Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it
I’d like to be my old self again
But I’m still trying to find it
After plaid shirt days and nights when you made me your own
Now you mail back my things and I walk home alone
But you keep my old scarf
From that very first week
‘Cause it reminds you of innocence
And it smells like me
You can’t get rid of it
‘Cause you remember it all too well, yeah

[Chorus 3]
‘Cause there we are again when I loved you so
Back before you lost the one real thing you’ve ever known
It was rare, I was there, I remember it all too well

Wind in my hair, you were there, you remember it all
Down the stairs, you were there, you remember it all
It was rare, I was there, I remember it all too well

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,266: ‘All Too Well’ – Taylor Swift

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I know that, in my immediate family circles, Red is considered top or near top notch, so I expect you may be getting some pushback on your ranking here.

  2. Amy says:

    Your methodology – and your analysis of it – has me wondering where this ALBUM would be on my list, as it remains so dear to my heart largely due to two songs, today’s SOTD, which, as you mention in your post, is a song considered her very best by many – including me, and “Begin Again,” which may actually be my personal favorite of all of her songs. Additionally, I love “Red,” “22,” “Stay, Stay, Stay,” “Treacherous,” and “Sad, Beautiful, Tragic.” Without listening to the whole album again right now, I can’t immediately put the songs to the remaining titles, so not sure how the album would/will fare in my final list.
    Still, when one album contains two songs you consider among the very best an artist has ever produced, it does typically catapult that album to a top spot on any list.

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