How to Destroy a Man's Reputation in One Album (Fran's Version)
BY FRANCESCA SERVELLO '22
Ever wanted to beat J*ke G*llenhaal for his crimes?
Do I have the album for you, then! Last November, Taylor Swift made another comeback, releasing a not-so-new album: 2012’s Red. You may recognize its greatest hits like “22” or “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” but as any Taylor Swift gatekeeper will tell you, her musical genius doesn’t end at the lead singles. So get ready for Top 10 Lyrics That Could End a Certain Middle-Aged Man’s Whole Career (TTLTCECMAMWC), ranging from somewhat angsty to absolutely devastating.
Number 10: “He didn't like it when I wore high heels, but I do” – “Begin Again”
This gem from “Begin Again” reveals a very cute trait of the song’s subject: misogyny! J*ke G*yllenhaal, the Certain Middle-Aged Man himself, wasn’t comfortable with his girlfriend being taller than him. Apparently, there’s no point in being the “man of the relationship” if you’re not the taller one.
Number 9: “But reality crept in, you said we're too different / You laughed at my dreams, rolled your eyes at my jokes” – “I Bet You Think About Me”
I’m grateful for the spite in “I Bet You Think About Me.” Where else would we get a break from the emotional turmoil in the rest of the album? And this lyric is truly ironic: a quick comparison in the number of Grammys each has proves it. Get back to me when four of your albums have been nominated for Album of the Year.
Number 8: “Fighting with him was like / Trying to solve a crossword and realizing there's no right answer” – “Red”
As someone who plays crosswords for at least an hour a day, I completely understand the frustration that comes with a challenging clue. Comparing him to a poorly made crossword puzzle feels appropriate. It’s honestly so rough when The Washington Post starts gaslighting me at 9:00 a.m. Taylor gets it.
Number 7: “Distance, timing, breakdown, fighting / Silence, the train runs off its tracks / Kiss me, try to fix it, could you just try to listen?” – “Sad Beautiful Tragic”
Oh, wow. Listening to “Sad Beautiful Tragic” inspires completely different emotions from staring this specific lyric in the eyes. Do you really think kissing someone else after a fight will make everything better, J*ke? Did you even have to audition for the role of Mysterio, or did the CEO of Marvel just listen to Red?
Number 6: “And you call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of bein' honest” – “All Too Well”
Our first lyric from “All Too Well”! Definitely gets the blood pumping. It both suggests that some promise was broken by him and calls him cruel with an excruciatingly lame excuse. Being honest? Sure.
Number 5: “And there we are again when nobody had to know / You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath” – “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”
This one hit me like a truck on first listen. I can’t even articulate the wide array of emotions this line induces. It’s almost like if you had to say that “nobody had to know,” then you shouldn’t have been in the relationship! This song comes for blood. More on it later.
Number 4: “The idea you had of me, who was she? / A never-needy, ever-lovely jewel whose shine reflects on you” – “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”
Another taste of misogyny here. Consensual trophy wife-ism is okay—aspirational, even. But that doesn’t seem like the case here. I agree that Taylor is indeed a gem, but not like this.
Number 3: “I think it's strange that you think I'm funny 'cause he never did / I've been spending the last eight months / Thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end” – “Begin Again”
“Begin Again” strikes… again. If I could pick any Red lyric to cry to, it would be this one (That’s a lie, but bear with me). Taylor is hilarious, and her extremely millennial-core-cat-lady TikTok account proves that comedy begins and ends with Taylor Swift.
Number 2: “And what do you do / When the one who means the most to you / Is the one who didn't show?” – “The Moment I Knew”
Do you want to know where this man was on the day of this birthday party? Why he didn’t show? He was promoting a movie with a 47% Rotten Tomatoes score. At least we got a good album out of it? The ethics here are murky.
Number 1: “And I was never good at tellin' jokes, but the punch line goes / ‘I'll get older, but your lovers stay my age’” – “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”
I’m sure you’ve seen this all over social media; it took the number one spot for a reason. I haven’t heard a lyric with this much vitriol in a while. The music industry in 2012 was not ready for this line, and I’m glad it wasn’t at the disposal of eight-year-old me. Lord knows where I would be now.
There you have it! A totally serious, unsarcastic, and 100% subjective view of the hardest-hitting lyrics from Red (Taylor’s Version). This isn’t to say that the whole album doesn’t hit, but these specifically hit him. Hard.