Song of the Day #4,267: ‘Dear John’ – Taylor Swift

Continuing my ranking of Taylor Swift’s albums…

#4 – Speak Now – 2010

One of the biggest surprises for me when reassessing Taylor Swift’s catalog was how far 2010’s Speak Now slid in my estimation.

Don’t get me wrong… it’s a great album. But before my deep dive into each of her releases, I would have named it as her best. In fact, I did just that when I recently placed it on my list of the best albums of the decade.

Spending time with the album again for this exercise, I found it a little uneven. Nine of its 14 tracks made the cut, a decent ratio but not one that makes the case for this as Swift’s best work.

That said, Speak Now does contain some of her best songs. I love the grandeur of ‘Sparks Fly,’ the sweet snark of ‘Mean,’ the beautiful melancholy of ‘Never Grow Up,’ and the sad regret of ‘Back to December.’

And in ‘Dear John,’ Swift delivers one of her most blistering and powerful heartbreak songs, skewering John Mayer in his own expertly-imitated musical style. Moments like these showcase Swift as the generation-defining artist she has become.

[Verse 1]
Long were the nights when
My days once revolved around you
Counting my footsteps
Praying the floor won’t fall through… again
My mother accused me of losing my mind
But I swore I was fine
You paint me a blue sky
Then go back and turn it to rain
And I lived in your chess game
But you changed the rules everyday
Wonderin’ which version of you I might get on the phone, tonight
Well I stopped pickin’ up and this song is to let you know why

[Chorus]
Dear John, I see it all now that you’re gone
Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with
The girl in the dress cried the whole way home
I shoulda’ known

[Verse 2]
Well maybe it’s me
And my blind optimism to blame
Or maybe it’s you and your sick need
To give love and take it away
And you’ll add my name to your long list of traitors
Who don’t understand
And I look back in regret how I ignored when they said
“Run as fast as you can”

[Chorus]
Dear John, I see it all now that you’re gone
Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with
The girl in the dress cried the whole way home
Dear John, I see it all now it was wrong
Don’t you think nineteen’s too young
To be played by your dark, twisted games
When I loved you so?
I shoulda’ known

[Bridge]
You are an expert at sorry
And keeping the lines blurry
Never impressed by me acing your tests
All the girls that you’ve run dry have tired lifeless eyes
‘Cause you burned them out
But I took your matches
Before fire could catch me
So don’t look now
I’m shining like fireworks
Over your sad empty town, yeah
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

[Chorus]
Dear John, I see it all now that you’re gone
Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with
The girl in the dress cried the whole way home

[Outro]
I see it all now that you’re gone
Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with
The girl in the dress
Wrote you a song, you shoulda’ known
You shoulda’ known
Don’t you think I was too young
You shoulda’ known

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,267: ‘Dear John’ – Taylor Swift

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    This album would be at or near the top for me. I will be curious to see why you feel others have bested it, particularly Reputation, which I recall you being fairly down on when it came out and which I feel doesn’t really hold a candle to Speak Now.

    • Clay says:

      I would have said the same thing before diving back into all of the albums. I was as surprised as anyone by how this ranking turned out.

  2. Amy says:

    This is a great and consistent album, with fun songs like “Speak Now” and “Better than Revenge” balancing out the gorgeous angst of numbers like today’s SOTD and “Back to December.”

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