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'All Too Well': Behind Taylor Swift's Ten Minute Long Heartbreak Anthem

Taylor Swift's "All Too Well" from her 2012 album, Red, may be the most popular of her songs that was never released as a single. The tune, which fans especially grasped onto, finds Swift recalling memories of a past relationship that were, at the time, happy memories, but now only bring her pain. The emotion of Swift's voice pours out in the over five-minute song, and it has been said that the tune was written about her relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. "All Too Well" was the first song Swift wrote for her Red album, and she did so with frequent collaborator Liz Rose. Swift says "All Too Well" was one of the hardest songs for her to write, and she also revealed that the song was originally ten minutes long.

"All Too Well" [was difficult to write emotionally] because it took me a really long time to filter through everything I wanted to put in the song without it being a 10 minute song, which you can't put on an album," she once told Good Morning America (quote via Hollywood Life). "I wanted a story that could work in the form of a song and I called my co-writer Liz Rose and said, 'Come over, we've gotta filter this down,' and it took me a really long time to get it."

Swift also told Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums podcast that the original, ten-minute version of the song also featured an f-bomb by the singer.

"It included the F-word and basically 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,'" she explained.

The inspiration for the song was allegedly Swift's relationship with Gyllenhaal, but the words simply poured out of the singer — especially one famous line that came to her during a soundcheck "rant."

"The lyric I'm most proud of is from '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.' That was something I came up with while ranting during a soundcheck," Swift told Popdust. I was just playing these chords over and over onstage and my band joined in and I went on a rant. Those were some of the lines I thought of."

Read More: 'Teardrops on My Guitar': Behind Taylor Swift's High School Heartbreak Song

The song features vivid and tangible pictures of her memories from the relationship, such as the cold air, the singer's "wide-eyed gaze," "getting lost upstate," "autumn leaves falling down," driving down a "little town street," dancing in the refrigerator light (in the middle of the night), and "plaid shirt days." However, one of the strongest visuals in the song is the one of her scarf, which she left at her ex-partner's sister's house, and remains there as a sort of artifact of their relationship. Of course, fans surmise that Swift is singing about Gyllenhaal's sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, in this line.

The song's original recording features country-leaning elements, but Swift has performed the song many times using piano, which she showcased at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

Although "All Too Well" was never officially released as a single, it charted at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and No. 80 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has also received overwhelming critical acclaim, with Rolling Stone ranking it as the best song in her catalog and one of the best songs of the 2010s.

Swift's original vision for "All Too Well" was recently shared with fans. Swift is re-recording her old albums in an effort to finally own her own masters, which are still legally owned by her old record label, Big Machine. The singer-songwriter released a re-recording of "All Too Well" and a ten-minute version of the song on Red (Taylor's Version).

Swift also released All Too Well: The Short Film, which she wrote and directed.

The new version of Red features the other songs from the album, including "State of Grace," "Red," "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," "The Last Time," "Sad Beautiful Tragic," and more.

The singer previously released a new version of her sophomore album, Fearless, which she calls Fearless (Taylor's Version).  Swift will also be re-recording her self-titled debut album, Speak Now, 1989, and likely, Reputation.

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'All Too Well' Lyrics:

I walked through the door with you
The air was cold
But something about 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
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
'Cause there we are 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
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 told me 'bout your past thinking your future was me
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
'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, yeah
And 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
Too well
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
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