Song of the Day #4,561: ‘Long Story Short’ – Taylor Swift

Continuing my countdown of the songs on Taylor Swift’s Evermore

#12. ‘Closure’

The song least like everything else on Folklore and Evermore, for better and worse. The track has very interesting production, with percussion closer to Nine Inch Nails territory that anything I’ve ever heard on a Taylor Swift record. A little of that goes a long way on this song, though, and it overstays its welcome and becomes a distraction.

#11. ‘Tolerate’

This one loses me in the verses but redeems itself in the chorus when Taylor hits those sweet high notes. I’m not really buying the storytelling here, with the whole May-December power imbalance narrative ringing false.

#10. ‘Long Story Short’

Musically, this is a nice change-up. ‘Long Story Short’ is the one song on either album that could have appeared on Reputation. And that’s fitting, because the subject matter is the whole Kanye drama. It comes from an older and wiser place, but I didn’t need another of these songs from the post-Lover/Folklore Taylor.

OK, no more Mr. Grumpy Pants. I’ve knocked out the weaker tracks, and everything from here on out is good-to-great.

[Verse 1]
Fatefully
I tried to pick my battles ’til the battle picked me
Misery
Like the war of words I shouted in my sleep
And you passed right by
I was in the alley, surrounded on all sides
The knife cuts both ways
If the shoe fits, walk in it ’til your high heels break

[Chorus]
And I fell from the pedestal
Right down the rabbit hole
Long story short, it was a bad time
Pushed from the precipice
Clung to the nearest lips
Long story short, it was the wrong guy

[Post-Chorus]
Now I’m all about you
I’m all about you, ah
Yeah, yeah
I’m all about you, ah
Yeah, yeah

[Verse 2]
Actually
I always felt I must look better in the rear view
Missing me
At the golden gates they once held the keys to
When I dropped my sword
I threw it in the bushes and knocked on your door
And we live in peace
But if someone comes at us, this time, I’m ready

[Chorus]
‘Cause I fell from the pedestal
Right down the rabbit hole
Long story short, it was a bad time
Pushed from the precipice
Clung to the nearest lips
Long story short, it was the wrong guy

[Post-Chorus]
Now I’m all about you
I’m all about you, ah
Yeah, yeah
I’m all about you

[Bridge]
No more keepin’ score
Now I just keep you warm (Keep you warm)
No more tug of war
Now I just know there’s more (Know there’s more)
No more keepin’ score
Now I just keep you warm (Keep you warm)
And my waves meet your shore
Ever and evermore

[Verse 3]
Past me
I wanna tell you not to get lost in these petty things
Your nemeses
Will defeat themselves before you get the chance to swing
And he’s passing by
Rare as the glimmer of a comet in the sky
And he feels like home
If the shoe fits, walk in it everywhere you go

[Chorus]
And I fell from the pedestal
Right down the rabbit hole
Long story short, it was a bad time
Pushed from the precipice
Climbed right back up the cliff
Long story short, I survived

[Post-Chorus]
Now I’m all about you
(And now) I’m all about you, ah
(And now) I’m all about you
(And now) I’m all about you, ah
Yeah, yeah
I’m all about you
(And now) Yeah, yeah
I’m all about you

[Outro]
Long story short, it was a bad time
Long story short, I survived

12 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,561: ‘Long Story Short’ – Taylor Swift

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I don’t feel there is really a weak or bad song on this album (or on Folklore). I find”Tolerate It” and, even more so, “Long Story Short” to be catchy with ear worms in a good way.

  2. Maddie says:

    Agreed with Dad. No weak songs!! “long story short” would sit very close to the top of my own list (again I have no clue how I’d begin to rank these. Almost like Pixar tiers I guess). Curious to see your strong ones though, I had made an early guess that you would have “closure” high and I’ve already lost there lol.

  3. Maddie says:

    Oh and I don’t think any one of these songs is easily able to be reduced to be about just one event or person in Taylor’s life. Other than the bridge which powerfully states that her nemesis will vanquish themselves before she gets the chance to swing in “long story short,” the rest of the song seems focused on leaving Calvin Harris for Hiddleston and then shortly after finding her way to the real love of her life. And I’m here for it!

  4. Amy says:

    I love both “tolerate” and “long story short.” Curious why you find “tolerate” to ring false… she effectively captures an emotion many have felt and one with which many can relate (though my fave observation was from Maddie who suggested it could be a reflection on any relationship between a human and her cat 🐈🤣). It never occurred to me that “long story short” was about Kanye; reading the lyrics now, I feel even more certain that suggesting it is unnecessarily reductive. “Closure” is the one from this trio I can’t begin to bring to mind. Wonder if there will be any more of those in your next several posts.

  5. Clay says:

    I think it’s the monotony of the verses, both musically and vocally, that makes ‘Tolerate It’ ring false for me, and I find the lyrics a little more literal and obvious than the rest of the album.

    ‘Long Story Short’ feels like the revisitation of tabloid drama that’s refreshingly absent in almost all of Folklore and Evermore. She got knocked off her pedestal, etc. It’s a different take on it, but it’s not the Taylor material I like best. That’s why I dropped this one down the list though I really like the sound.

    And to be clear, I don’t think there’s a “bad” song on this album. When you rank, you have to have something on the bottom, and nitpicks make the difference between one tier and another. The bottom six are the only tracks for which I have nitpicks.

    • Amy says:

      I totally get that (the need to differentiate in order to rank), but I still don’t think “long story short” is about Kanye.

      • Clay says:

        I think it’s pretty clearly about the aftermath of the whole “Kanye and Kim” phone call incident, as well as the romantic ups and downs that followed. Ultimately, it’s about how finding Joe Alwyn helped her put all that drama behind her.

        • Maddie says:

          Just to speak to this quickly, I think Taylor’s current struggle is/was far more weighted down in the Scooter ownership drama than anything else. I’m not dismissive about the way Kanye and the ongoing repercussions of that incident hurt her. I think seeing that in her documentary added more weight to the songs that do address her emotions surrounding that. But Long Story Short deals with a timeline that isn’t Kanye centric at all.

          • Clay says:

            I think the timeline is entirely Kanye-centric. If the “wrong guy” is Hiddleston, that happened in the summer of 2016, right as the edited Kanye tape was released. And she found Alwyn later that year. The Scooter drama didn’t blow up until a couple of years later. Also, the Kanye drama is the only thing that makes sense as knocking her off a pedestal.

          • Dana Gallup says:

            Even if these lyrics are making some vague or even overt reference to the Kanye West incident, so what? You used to get down on Taylor when you felt she was playing the “victim,” and now you’re critical when she approaches this traumatic event, along with other emotional events like failed relationships, from a mature “I’m over it and in a better place” perspective.

            I’ve said this before, but I think you hold Swift to a different standard than other artists you like, and I really don’t understand why. Frankly, there are only so many subjects an artist can write about (the seven plots theory). If Swift wants to make some reference back to a traumatic moment in her life for years to come, I think she is entitled to do so. If in the years and decades to come, Ariana Grande wants to reference the Manchester concert tragedy or the Chicks want to reference the backlash over the Bush comments, I’m fine with that…and I would actually be interested to hear the perspective through a more distanced, mature lens. I’m really not sure why Swift doing this, whether about Kanye, a failed relationship or the fight with Scooter over music rights bothers you so much, but I think the problem is yours not hers.

          • Clay says:

            She is certainly entitled to write about whatever she likes, and I’m entitled to rank her songs however I like.

            One of the things I appreciate most about both Folklore and Evermore is the shift toward narrative storytelling, so this song slipped a bit in the rankings for bucking the trend. That’s all. I do appreciate the more mature perspective of this song, but I still like nine songs on Evermore better.

            I believe I ranked Reputation third among all of her albums when I ranked them (pre-2020), so I must not have too big a problem with this aspect of her songwriting.

          • Dana Gallup says:

            Fair enough. It just seems like it bothers you more with Swift than with other artists.

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