Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well” is a masterpiece. We already knew that. But when she released her 10-minute version of the song on the re-release of Red, she somehow made the song even better. “All Too Well” is a deeply personal, emotional, and relatable song in so many ways. (And if you want even more heartbreak, just watch the video. Seriously, you’ll be in your feelings forever.)
In honor of Swift’s powerhouse songwriting prowess, here are the 10 best lines from “All Too Well”:
1. I might be okay, but I’m not fine at all.
This line is so relatable even though it’s contradictory. We all have moments in our lives where we tell ourselves that everything is okay. “I’m fine” is one of the most-told lies we tell ourselves and those around us. Whether it’s from a breakup or loss or pain of any kind, we all have tried to convince ourselves we’re okay when we’re anything but that.
2. I forget about you long enough to forget why I needed to.
Memories can be so painful that you decide it’s better to forget them altogether. You can’t remember a person, even if you had good times together, because the pain their memory brings to your mind is still too raw, cuts too deep. But when they inevitably show up again in your life—you see them in person or something reminds you of them—memories come flooding back before you can stop them.
3. You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath.
This is one of my favorite lines, because it shows the stark difference between two people who had very different ideas of what their relationship was like. Secrets are often shameful and not something you want to share with others; an oath is the opposite, invoking imagery of wedding vows and other promises you make to yourself and others. When one person celebrates a love and wants to shout it from the rooftops while the other wants to hide it, there’s nothing left to salvage.
4. You told me about your past thinking your future was me.
This just doubles down on the pain of what the relationship could have been: an everlasting love. You have the idea that your relationship would stand the test of time, that it was a love meant to last forever. You bared your soul to the other person, sharing intimate details and hopes and dreams—only for it to all come crashing down.
5. Maybe we got lost in translation, maybe I asked for too much, but maybe this thing was a masterpiece till you tore it all up.
Rumination is never-ending, but we can’t help ourselves from falling into the cycle. Wondering what went wrong, thinking of all the “what-if” scenarios—it’s something we all do. You wonder where things could have gone wrong, when did things go wrong. You wonder when things started to fall apart, and you wonder how you missed the signs. But maybe they’re were no signs, and it was all destined to end in spite of everything you wanted.
6. You call me up again just to break me like a promise, so casually cruel in the name of being honest.
Promises are often interchangeable with oaths. The sacred nature of promises make them a delicate thing. Promises are beautiful but highly fragile, breakable. You enlist them only in the people you trust the most because you know you couldn’t live with promises being broken. And when someone breaks that promise, they break that oath and vow, they shatter your trust in ways you could never imagine.
7. They say all’s well that ends well, but I’m in a new hell every time you double-cross my mind.
There’s a special kind of pain that comes with a breakup like this, a broken trust in a relationship. Your mind always goes back to them and the memories you both held, the good and the bad. The good memories are now tainted with the bad, a simple calm before the storm, and the fact that they were good at a time twist your heart so painfully you want to shut it all down, all the emotions, everything.
8. I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it.
When bad things happen to us, we are never the same. We do our best to heal and move on, but do we ever truly forget? The pain that’s been embedded by that loss is inflicted upon us like a permanent tattoo. They say ignorance is bliss, and maybe they’re right, if only to spare yourself the pain that comes from what you experienced.
9. Did the twin flame bruise paint you blue?
The “twin flame bruise” sounds like a beautiful yet painful imagery, and that’s exactly what it is here. You and the other person may not be together anymore, but you both have the same burn marks, in the same shapes and color, inflicted upon you both at the same time. And painting someone, anything, blue always leads to sadness, the kind of despondency that only comes from the loss of something, someone you had once in your life.
10. Just between us, did the love affair maim you, too?
Unlike relationships, love affairs are usually short-lived and illicit. They’re alluring, passionate, but fleeting. And when they break, you feel it. No matter how much you tried to hold onto the relationship, no matter how many times you tried to make it work, it wasn’t meant to last. And that is perhaps the worst of it all.
And finally, we have the reframe, tying everything together: “I remember it all too well.” We don’t choose what stays in our memory and what leaves, and that can be unbearably painful. While “All Too Well” may apply to a specific relationship Taylor Swift had, its theme is universal, resonating with us all. We all have been in relationships that took turns for the worst, even if they weren’t romantic, and there’s something so uniquely painful about those kinds of breakups that are captured beautifully in this song.
“All Too Well” is more than a song; it’s a story that we have all experienced at some point or another in our lives. And it’s an honor that Swift was able to not only put this in words, but also share it with the world, carrying the burden we all hold together so maybe it’s not so unbearable anymore. Maybe we can finally breathe, knowing that our feelings are valid, and knowing that we’re not alone.