Ten minutes of beauty, pain that will be remembered “All Too Well”


Taylor Swift performs onstage during NSAI 2022 Nashville Songwriter Awards at Ryman Auditorium on Sept. 20, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo courtesy of Terry Wyatt/TNS.)

By Natalie Deville, Guest Writer


Gaslighting, distrust, infidelity and ineffective communication are all words to describe the toxic relationship between Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Taylor Swift is prominently known for writing songs about her past relationships and this relationship with the actor, Jake Gyllenhaal is no exception. In November 2021, Swift released “Red” (Taylor’s Version) and the last track on the heart-wrenching album is “All Too Well” (Taylor’s Version) (10 Minute Version) (From The Vault)”. It is a ten-minute song that describes the ups and the downs of the relationship that she thought was perpetual with the guy she believed was her twin flame (evident in the lyrics: “you told me about your past thinking your future was me): but she was, sadly, mistaken. 

In the first verse, Swift reminisces about the honeymoon phase of the relationship. She sings about how lovely Gyllenhaal’s parents were, and how quickly she bonded with his sister. The next verse produces a whole 180. Gyllenhaal continuously patronizes her and blames their failed relationship on her “immaturity” since they were nine years apart in age. 

Swift was obviously captivated by his ‘sweet’ disposition, and Gyllenhaal used that to his advantage. The lyrics “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 too well,” suggest Gyllenhaal tricked her into thinking that she was useless, and a waste of time. Swift compares herself to a crumpled piece of paper (no longer has a use since it is damaged). She also repeats the lyrics, “I was there / I remember it all too well” an abundance of times, perhaps because Gyllenhaal gaslighted her so badly she was forced to intensely question the whole relationship. For listeners, it seems Swift keeps reminding herself that their relationship was indeed real and not just a daydream she concocted in her head.  

It was not Swift’s fault the relationship ended in 2010; if the song is accurate, the song fell apart because of Gyllenhaal’s selfishness and toxic masculinity. Firstly, Swift is a huge supporter of equal rights, and the fact that right after she and Gyllenhaal got into a heated argument, he screamed, “F*** the patriarchy!” while tossing her the car keys speaks volumes. Fans believe this action indicated that if Swift is an advocate for women’s rights, and Gyllenhaal tossed her keys while talking about the patriarchy, then she should drive them to her house.

Secondly, in the last verse Swift sings, “Just between us, did the love affair maim you too?” This line may show that even though Gyllenhaal was a full-on adult, he immaturely and disrespectfully cheated on Swift, and then allegedly blamed her for the relationship ending.

Though some critics dispute the above interpretation, “All Too Well” should, nonetheless, be in the list of all-time favorite Taylor Swift songs, and earns a solid 5/5 stars because of the brilliant, crestfallen, and beautiful yet heart-aching lyrics that Swift exquisitely delivers.