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The Moment I Knew

Promotional Single | Bonus Track | RED (2012) | RED (Taylor's Version) [2021]

“The Moment I Knew” was released on the deluxe edition of Taylor’s fourth studio album, RED (2012). It is a song that tells the true story of how Taylor’s then-boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal, didn’t show up to her 21st birthday party. The re-recording of the song, “The Moment I Knew (Taylor’s Version)”, was released on November 12, 2021 on the album RED (Taylor’s Version).
The title of “The Moment I Knew” refers to the moment Taylor realized a relationship was over for good.

Lyrical Theme

“The Moment I Knew” was written by Taylor and produced by Nathan Chapman. Former The Agency band member Liz Huett performs background vocals. The song takes place at Taylor’s 21st birthday party. Everyone that’s important to her is in attendance, besides her boyfriend. The entire time she cannot get her mind off of him, waiting for him to burst through the door — which he never did. In an interview with Yahoo Music, Taylor revealed a little about the song:

«‘The Moment I Knew’ was a really difficult song for my friends and family to listen to because it is about my 21st birthday party and it was...not a good party, as you can hear in the song. It was...you know, standing there, waiting for someone to show up who never did. So it was a song that I felt was really important to put out to hear. Because nobody likes that feeling of waiting for somebody who's never going to walk through the door.»

Taylor Swift
The heartbreaking simplicity of the lyrics is reminiscent of other songs on the album. Together with “All Too Well“, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “Babe“, “The Moment I Knew” seems to tell the story of why this particular relationship fell apart. Taylor has never performed the song live.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
You should’ve been there
Should’ve burst through the door
With that “Baby I’m right here” smile
And it would’ve felt like
A million little shining stars had just aligned
And I would’ve been so happy

[Verse 2]
Christmas lights glisten
I’ve got my eye on the door
Just waiting for you to walk in,
But the time is ticking
People ask me how I’ve been
As I comb back through my memory
How you said you’d be here
You said you’d be here

[Chorus]
And it was like slow motion
Standing there in my party dress
In red lipstick
With no one to impress
And they’re all laughing
As I’m looking around the room
But there’s one thing missing
And that was the moment I knew

[Verse 3]
And the hours pass by
Now I just wanna be alone
But your close friends always seem to know
When there’s something really wrong
So they follow me down the hall
And there in the bathroom
I try not to fall apart
And the sinking feeling starts
As I say hopelessly
“He said he’d be here”

[Chorus]
And it was like slow motion
Standing there in my party dress
In red lipstick
With no one to impress
And they’re all laughing
And asking me about you
But there was one thing missing
And that was the moment I knew

[Bridge]
What do you say when tears are streaming down your face
In front of everyone you know?
And what do you do when the one who means the most to you
Is the one who didn’t show?

[Breakdown]
You should’ve been here
And I would’ve been so happy

[Chorus]
And it was like slow motion
Standing there in my party dress
In red lipstick
With no one to impress
And they’re all standing around me singing
“Happy birthday to you”
But there was one thing missing
And that was the moment I knew
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, I knew
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

[Outro]
You called me later
And said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t make it”
And I said, “I’m sorry too”
And that was the moment I knew

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General Information
AlbumsRED
RED (Taylor’s Version)
Backup VocalsLiz Huett
ReleasedOctober 22, 2012
Re-ReleasedNovember 12, 2021
GenreCountry Pop
Length4:45
LabelsBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwriterTaylor Swift
ProducersNathan Chapman (original)
Christopher Rowe
Paul Mirkovich
Taylor Swift
RED CHRONOLOGY
Begin AgainThe Moment I KnewCome Back…Be Here
Song Artwork
Lyric Video
Official Audio
Original Audio