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It's time to go back to December — or, rather, October 2010. Taylor Swift is about to drop the re-recorded version of her third studio album "Speak Now," leading fans to revisit drama from more than a decade ago involving John Mayer, Kanye West, Joe Jonas, and more. For newcomers to Swift's expanded universe, here's your complete guide to the meaning behind the album:
Is "Mine" about Cory Monteith?
Swift told Rolling Stone that "Mine," the first song on the album, was inspired by "reflecting back on a boy I liked at a certain time," and it's "about what it would be like if I actually let my guard down." She also told Yahoo! Music she drew on "a situation where a guy that I just barely knew put his arm around me by the water, and I saw the entire relationship flash before my eyes, almost like a weird science-fiction movie." There has been speculation that this boy was "Glee" star Cory Monteith, though he told Ellen DeGeneres in 2010 that "we're just friends."
"Sparks Fly" may be about Jake Owen
Fans have speculated "Sparks Fly" was inspired by country musician Jake Owen, whom Swift reportedly opened for in 2006 at a bar in Portland, Oregon. She would have been 16 at the time, while he was in his 20s, which fits with her description of the song as being about "falling for someone that you maybe shouldn't fall for." Swift also included various hidden messages in the liner notes of the album, and the message for "Sparks Fly" was "Portland, Oregon."
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"Back to December" is seemingly about Taylor Lautner
In "Back to December," Swift expresses regret over the end of a relationship and apologizes to an ex-boyfriend. This ex is widely believed to be Taylor Lautner, whom Swift dated in 2009 after meeting on the movie "Valentine's Day." They reportedly broke up in December. Lautner himself has said the song is about him.
"Speak Now" may have been inspired by Hayley Williams
Swift has said the title track, "Speak Now," was inspired by a friend of hers after the "guy she had been in love with since childhood was marrying this other girl." Fans think this friend was Paramore's Hayley Williams, whose ex-boyfriend, Josh Farro, married someone else in 2010. Williams is now featured on "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" on the vault track "Castles Crumbling." After the re-recording was announced, Williams said "Speak Now" is "my favorite Taylor Swift album for so many reasons."
"Dear John" seems to be about John Mayer
"Dear John" is quite clearly about John Mayer, whom Swift dated from 2009 to 2010, and not just because his first name is in the title. "Don't you think nineteen's too young / To be played by your dark, twisted games when I loved you so," she sings. Swift was first linked to Mayer when she was 19 and he was 32. In 2012, Mayer told Rolling Stone the song "made me feel terrible," adding, "I didn't deserve it."
"Mean" might be about a music critic
Swift has said "Mean" is about how she handles people being cruel to her as a public person, but fans have speculated it was inspired by a specific music critic: Bob Lefsetz, who wrote after she performed at the 2010 Grammys that "now, everybody knows that Taylor Swift can't sing." In "Mean," Swift sings about a person "grumbling on about how I can't sing." Lefsetz doubled down after "Mean" was released, writing that "she still can't sing" and "if this song is really about me, I wish it were better."
"The Story of Us" was inspired by running into an ex
Swift told USA Today "The Story of Us" is "about running into someone I had been in a relationship with at an awards show, and we were seated a few seats away from each other." She's likely talking about John Mayer and the CMT Awards, as she told USA Today that the song is about the same person as "Dear John," and the hidden message for this track was "CMT Awards."
"Never Grow Up" was written for little girls at Swift's concerts
Swift said "Never Grow Up" is about "the fact that I don't quite know how I feel about growing up" and how "when you're younger, you wish you were older." She added that when she looks into the crowds at her concerts and sees a little girl who is seven or eight years old, "I wish I could tell her all of this. … I wrote this song for those little girls."
"Enchanted" might be about Adam Young
According to Swift, "Enchanted" is about a guy she met up with in New York after talking a few times over email. The subject seems to be Adam Young of Owl City, and the hidden message for this track was "Adam."
"We emailed back and forth for a while and she made some comment that I used the word 'enchanted' and the word 'wonderstruck' in an email and she said how she had never heard anyone really use that word before, so when that word was in the song, I was like this song has to be about me," he told Us Weekly in 2011.
"Better Than Revenge" is believed to be about Camilla Belle
Swift has said "Better Than Revenge" is about "a girl who, a few years ago, stole my boyfriend." This girl is believed to be actress Camilla Belle, whom Joe Jonas dated after he was with Swift. In 2015, when Katy Perry seemed to accuse Swift of capitalizing "on the takedown of a woman," Belle replied, "Couldn't have said it better."
But in 2014, Swift told The Guardian, "I was 18 when I wrote that. That's the age you are when you think someone can actually take your boyfriend. Then you grow up and realize no one [can] take someone from you if they don't want to leave."
"Innocent" seems to be about Kanye West
"Innocent" appears to be about Kanye West after the rapper, now known as Ye, interrupted Swift on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009. "I think a lot of people expected me to write a song about him," she told New York magazine in 2010. "But for me it was important to write a song to him."
"Haunted" is about realizing a partner is "falling out of love"
Swift said "Haunted" is about "the moment that you realize the person you're in love with is drifting, fading, fast," and is "falling out of love." It's hard to pinpoint a specific person the song is about, though it could be another one inspired by John Mayer.
"Last Kiss" may be about Joe Jonas
Fans think "Last Kiss" is about Joe Jonas, whom Swift dated in 2008. One piece of evidence: She sings about running off a plane on July 9, and Swift reportedly went to a Jonas Brothers concert on that day in 2008. The hidden message for the track is also "Forever and Always," the title of another Swift song believed to be about Jonas.
"Long Live" is about Swift's crew and fans
In "Long Live," Swift writes about her crew and fans, reflecting on the memories they've shared since she began her career. She described it as the "first love song that I've written to my team," as it's about "my band, and my producer, and all the people who have helped us build this brick by brick," including her fans, as "all of us are in this together."
"Ours" is about a "guy nobody thought I should be with"
Fans suspect "Ours," which was included on the deluxe edition of "Speak Now," is another song about John Mayer. She told VH1 it was written about "this guy nobody thought I should be with," and she wrote it "specifically just to play it for him."
"Superman" may also be about John Mayer
"Superman," the final track on the original "Speak Now" release, seems to be another song about John Mayer. She reportedly described it as being about a "guy that I was sort of enamored with," recalling that once, when he walked out of the room, "I turned to one of my friends and said, 'It's like watching Superman fly away.'"
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