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All Too Well (10 Minute Version)

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

This article is about the 10 Minute Version. For the standard version, see “All Too Well”. For the short film, see All Too Well (The Short Film).
Taylor re-recorded two versions of “All Too Well” for her 2021 re-recorded album RED (Taylor’s Version). The first, “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)“, is a re-recording of the 2012 track; the second, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)”, is the unabridged version of the song, containing its original verses and melodies before they were trimmed off.
Taylor calls this version the full or complete version of the song, as it adds impeccably written verses throughout to an already damn near flawless song. Anyone who loves the original version of “All Too Well” can advocate for its lyrics and the poignancy of Taylor’s delivery, and would likely cite both as key factors in the song’s success. It’s not a flashy pop song or an endearingly rural slice of country, but merely her laying it all on the line emotionally for five (now ten) absolutely devastating minutes. On this fully fleshed out variation, listeners are presented with additional verses to add to that atmosphere of longing and heartache, culminating in the knockout blow “You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath.” Taylor said:

«This is the original song I wrote. 'All Too Well' was never a single, never had a video, and the fans just turned it into The Song from this album. I used to get so sad when I’d sing it that I could barely get through the song and over time I realized the fans were just screaming the words back to me so loudly that it was very joyful for me to sing. So this song was originally ten minutes long. I just kept writing, I couldn’t stop, but it had to fit on an album. So I had to cut out certain verses, parts of the bridge, lots of things I really loved. I left some of my favorite lines on the cutting room floor. I’m really happy people get to hear it, and I'm so proud of it. I think this was the version of the song that was meant to be heard.»

Taylor Swift

Background and Release

After a public dispute over the ownership of Taylor’s back catalog under her previous label Big Machine, Taylor began re-recording her entire back catalog in November 2020 to claim the rights to her master recordings. After her first re-recorded album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) — the re-recording of her 2008 album, Taylor followed with RED (Taylor’s Version).

“All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” was released as a digital promotional single on Taylor’s webstore on November 15, 2021, exclusively to U.S. customers. The live version from All Too Well (The Short Film) premiere was released to the iTunes Store the same day. The acoustic “Sad Girl Autumn” version, recorded at frequent collaborator Aaron Dessner’s Long Pond Studio in Hudson Valley, was released on November 17.

On June 11, 2022, the same day she made an appearance at the Tribeca Film Festival to talk about the short film, Taylor released the “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) [The Short Film]” EP, which features “All Too Well (10 Minute Version” with the instrumentals used in the short film.

Lyrical Theme and Composition

Before “All Too Well” was cut down to a 10-minute version and then more to a final five minute and twenty-eight second version, American songwriter Liz Rose, who Taylor wrote the song with, believed it was “probably a 20-minute song”. Taylor had conceived the song in early 2011 while at a band rehearsal for the “Speak Now World Tour.” Nine years later, she reflected on the songwriting process in an interview with Rolling Stone:

«It was a day when I was a broken human, walking into rehearsal, just feeling terrible about what was going on in my personal life. I remember we had just hired David Cook, who is now my band leader. I think it was his first day meeting me and I ended up just playing four chords over and over again. The band started kicking in, like Amos Heller on bass. People just started playing along with me. I think they could tell I was really going through it. And I just started singing, and riffing, and sort of ad-libbing this song that, basically, was ‘All Too Well.’ It started with, ‘I walked through the door with you, the air was cold.’ It literally just was that song, but it had probably seven extra verses. It included the f-word. I remember my sound guy was like, ‘Hey, I burned a CD of that thing that you were doing, in case you want it.’ And I was like, ‘Sure, yeah.’ I ended up taking it home and listening to it. I was like, ‘I actually really like this. But it definitely is like ten minutes long and I need to tear it down.’ So I called Liz Rose, and she came over, and I played it for her. She was like, ‘Whoa, I love this!’ So we kind of edited and teared it down to what it is now. But that was a very serendipitous creation of ten stories.»

Taylor Swift
The 10 Minute Version is a towering breakup ballad and feels like the ultimate Taylor Swift song: it’s representative of everything she’s ever made a career out of doing, expressing these commonplace emotions in uniquely uncommon ways. It’s the ideal way to close out Taylor’s Version of RED, taking her best song and truly making it her own again, right on-theme with the entire mission of the newly re-recorded albums.

The Short Film

On November 5, 2021, Taylor posted a teaser of a self-directed short film for the 10-minute version, titled All Too Well (The Short Film), based on the premise of the song, and stars Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien as a couple in a romantic relationship that ultimately falls apart; Taylor also makes a brief appearance. It was released at 7pm ET on November 12, 2021.

Live Performances

Taylor first performed the song’s 10 Minute Version after the screening of All Too Well (The Short Film) at its film premiere. The following night, she performed it on Saturday Night Live, marking the longest performance ever aired on the show.

Taylor once again performed the song acoustically during her panel discussion at the Tribeca Film Festival at Beacon Theatre in New York City on June 11, 2022.

Critical Reception

“All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” was hailed as the highlight of RED (Taylor’s Version) in nearly all of its reviews. Rolling Stone music critic Rob Sheffield lauded the 10-minute version for evoking even more intense emotional conflict compared to the already sentimental original one: “[It] sums up Swift at her absolute best.” Helen Brown of The Independent stated the song is a more feminist proposition with its new lyrics. NME‘s Hannah Mylrea wrote, at its full intended length, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” confirms its place as an “epic”, exhibiting proficient storytelling, vocal performance and instrumentation. Beth Kirkbride, writing for Clash, said the “epic” song “will go down in history as one of the best breakup songs ever written.” Variety‘s Chris Willman dubbed the song as Taylor’s “holy grail”, and felt glad the singer did not discard the original lyrics, which turn the song into “a stream-of-consciousness epic ballad”, filled with more references and specifics of the song’s storyline.

Commercial Performance

In Australia, Taylor achieved a Chart Double by topping both the ARIA Singles and Albums charts in the same week; RED (Taylor’s Version) topped the latter while “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” debuted atop the former as her eighth Australian number-one song. It marked the fourth time Taylor achieved a Chart Double in the country, following 1989 and “Blank Space” in 2014, folklore and “cardigan” in August 2020, and evermore and “willow” in December 2020. The song debuted at No. 1 on the Irish Singles Chart becoming Taylor’s second chart topper in the country.

In the US. “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, scoring Taylor her eighth number-one single in the region, and making her the first artist in history to debut an album and a single at No. 1 simultaneously at three occasions, previously achieving it with folklore and “cardigan” (2020) and evermore and “willow” (2020). It is Taylor’s fourth No. 1 debut on the Hot 100 after “Shake It Off” (2014), “cardigan” and “willow”. “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” is also officially the longest No. 1 hit in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, at 10 minutes, 13 seconds. Don McLean’s “American Pie (Parts I & II),” at 8 minutes, 37 seconds, held the mark for nearly a half-century, beginning in January 1972.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
I walked through the door with you, the air was cold
But something ’bout it felt like home somehow
And I left my scarf there at your sister’s house
And you’ve still got it in your drawer, even now
Oh, your sweet disposition and my wide-eyed gaze
We’re singing in the car, getting lost upstate
Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place
And I can picture it after all these days

[Pre-Chorus]
And I know it’s long gone and
That magic’s not here no more
And I might be okay, but I’m not fine at all
Oh, oh, oh

[Chorus]
‘Causе there we arе again on that little town street
You almost ran the red ’cause you were lookin’ over at me
Wind in my hair, I was there
I remember it all too well

[Verse 2]
Photo album on the counter, your cheeks were turning red
You used to be a little kid with glasses in a twin-sized bed
And your mother’s telling stories ’bout you on the tee-ball team
You tell me ’bout your past, thinking your future was me
And you were tossing me the car keys, fuck the patriarchy
Key chain on the ground, we were always skipping town
And I was thinking on the drive down, any time now
He’s gonna say it’s love, you never called it what it was
Till we were dead and gone and buried
Check the pulse and come back swearing it’s the same
After three months in the grave
And then you wondered where it went to as I reached for you
But all I felt was shame and you held my lifeless frame

[Pre-Chorus]
And I know it’s long gone and
There was nothing else I could do
And I forget about you long enough
To forget why I needed to

[Chorus]
‘Cause there we are again in the middle of the night
We’re dancing ’round the kitchen in the refrigerator light
Down the stairs, I was there
I remember it all too well
And there we are again when nobody had to know
You kept me like a secret but I kept you like an oath
Sacred prayer, and we’d swear
To remember it all too well, yeah

[Bridge]
Maybe we got lost in translation
Maybe I asked for too much
But maybe this thing was a masterpiece
‘Til you tore it all up
Running scared, I was there
I remember it all too well
And 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, all, all

[Verse 3]
They say all’s well that ends well but I’m in a new hell
Every time you double cross my mind
You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine
And that made me want to die
The idea you had of me, who was she?
A never needing ever lovely jewel whose shine reflects on you
Not weeping in a party bathroom
Some actress asking me what happened, you, that’s what happened, you
You who charmed my dad with self-effacing jokes
Sipping coffee like you’re on a late night show
But then he watched me watch the front door all night, willing you to come
And he said, “It’s supposed to be fun turning twenty-one”

[Chorus]
Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it
I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it
After plaid shirt days and nights when you made me your own
Now you mail back my things and I walk home alone
But you keep my old scarf from that very first week
‘Cause it reminds you of innocence and it smells like me
You can’t get rid of it
‘Cause you remember it all too well, yeah
‘Cause there we are again when I loved you so
Back before you lost the one real thing you’ve ever known

[Post-Chorus]
It was rare, I was there
I remember it all too well
Wind in my hair, you were there
You remember it all
Down the stairs, you were there
You remember it all
It was rare, I was there
I remember it all too well

[Verse 4]
And I was never good at telling jokes but the punch line goes
I’ll get older but your lovers stay my age
From when your Brooklyn broke my skin and bones
I’m a soldier who’s returning half her weight
And did the twin flame bruise paint you blue?
Just between us, did the love affair maim you too?
Cause in this city’s barren cold, I still remember the first fall of snow
And how it glistened as it fell, I remember it all too well

[Outro]
Just between us, did the love affair maim you all too well?
Just between us, do you remember it all too well?
Just between us, I remember it (Just between us) all too well
Wind in my hair, I was there, I was there
Down the stairs, I was there, I was there
Sacred prayer, I was there, I was there
It was rare, you remember it all too well
Wind in my hair, I was there, I was there
Down the stairs, I was there, I was there
Sacred prayer, I was there, I was there
It was rare, you remember it
Wind in my hair, I was there, I was there
Down the stairs, I was there, I was there
Sacred prayer, I was there, I was there
It was rare, you remember it
Wind in my hair, I was there, I was there
Down the stairs, I was there, I was there
Sacred prayer, I was there, I was there
It was rare, you remember it

General Information
AlbumRED (Taylor’s Version)
Associated SongAll Too Well
ReleasedNovember 12, 2021
WrittenFebruary–March, 2011
StudiosConway (Los Angeles)
Electric Lady (New York)
Rough Customer (Brooklyn)
GenreSoft Rock
Length10:13
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Liz Rose
ProducersJack Antonoff
Taylor Swift
Christopher Rowe
RED (TAYLOR’S VERSION) CHRONOLOGY
The Very First NightAll Too Well (Ten Minute Version)A Message From Taylor
Single Certification
Single Artwork
Short Film (Music Video)
Live Performance
Lyric Video
Official Audio
Sad Girl Autumn Version
Sad Girl Autumn Version Lyric Video
Sad Girl Autumn Version Audio
The Short Film Version
Related Content

All Too Well
(The Short Film)