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    Here’s An “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” Explainer For Everyone Confused By All The Taylor Swift Content On Their Timeline

    “The song’s primary mode of spreading is not the song — it’s gossip.”

    On today's episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we broke down the top pop culture headlines AND discussed Taylor Swift. You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!

    Listen to BuzzFeed Daily on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever else you might listen to your favorite podcasts!

    So let's dive right into it! Recently we talked to Buzzfeed’s Elamin Abdelmahmoud about all things Taylor Swift. Here's some of what we learned:

    BuzzFeed Daily: So, we needed a legit expert like yourself to help explain what exactly has been happening because so far I've just been relying on TikTok, but you know the music itself. But first, can you give us a little background on the album Red and this current rerelease?

    Photo of Taylor Swift performing on SNL in a black jumpsuit
    Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

    Elamin Abdelmahmoud: Absolutely. Taylor Swift was born in Pennsylvania on December 13th — [just kidding]. I mean, look, we are in an extended Taylor Swift season, and by extended I mean that for the past 15 months or so, Taylor has been inescapable. She's given us two albums, Folklore and Evermore, and now she's begun on her quest to rerecord her old material. This is a quest that she's undertaking because she wants to regain both the financial and legal control of the first few records that she put out. And it's a big deal because the masters were sold, supposedly from under her. She wanted to buy them. She didn't get the chance to. And she's like, "Fuck it, I am going to rerecord my own old material" and she's calling all the new ones "Taylor's version."

    So she put out Fearless in the spring, and now we've arrived at Red, which is her fourth album. It's a big deal of an album just altogether, because it comes at this interesting point in her career where she's escaping country and sort of delving into pop is an album that has a foot in both, and so it's a very transitional album of her trying to say, "You know what? I have pop ambitions." And so it's like a very beloved album for a lot of people. It's like a her big breakout album in terms of like entering the pop universe. And we're getting Red, baby. We're getting Red (Taylor's Version), and I love it for us.

    BuzzFeed Daily: OK, so the track that's been getting the most attention so far is the 10-minute version of "All Too Well," which is allegedly about her ex-boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal. So what is it about this new version that has become such a flashpoint?

    Photo of Jake Gyllenhaal in a pink shirt and navy blazer looking at the camera
    Robert Smith / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

    EA: I love when people use "allegedly." OK, but here's the thing — if you're a non-Swiftie, then you're maybe not familiar with her habit of Easter egg-dropping. For example, when when Red came out, in the liner notes, I think the big hint that she put out about "All Too Well" was the words "maple latte," because she was photographed holding a maple latte with Jake Gyllenhaal as they were walking. So, it's not alleged.

    But I think more importantly, "All Too Well" is a song that Taylor has always believed in and the fandom took it and picked it up in a way that they haven't done with ther songs. I think the fans were very protective of "All Too Well." It's this legendary song. It's the Track Five for Red, which, again, if you're not familiar with the Swift lore, Track Five is where she puts the emotional core of each of her albums. And it's a song where, the minute that it came out, people were like, "Oh my god, this is one of the most heartbreaking songs that she's ever recorded." Critics love that song. It's widely sort of considered to be her best song of all time, and its original runtime is like five minutes. 

    So it's already this epic journey, but because it's so beloved, there's always been all this lore and information around it. And one of the pieces of information that has been floating around out there in the Swiftverse is that it was 10 minutes by the time she was done writing it. There were a few additional verses and she cut it down for the version that we know and love, for the one that became sort of legendary. So it was always a question in the Swift fandom like, "Oh, what could possibly be in this 10-minute version? And what does that actually look like?" And with the Red rerelease, we got to hear it, and it goes into a lot more detail than we could have possibly asked for or imagined.

    BuzzFeed Daily: So there's also this debate about whether this relationship deserves this much attention. There's that one hand of like, "OK, maybe this could have been a private thing that not all the world needs to know, because if it does go into so much detail." But on the other hand, I've seen tweets that are like, "If I dated Jake Gyllenhaal, we'd have a musical there." I think both seem like sound arguments, but what do you think about this debate?

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    EA: Listen, I'm not in the business of telling people that relationship pain has an expiration date. I don't think that's my personal business to sort of police.

    T-Swift put out this music video for "All Too Well," the 10-minute version, and it stars Dylan O'Brien, who does not not look like Jake Gyllenhaal in this music video. You know, she's obviously been very intentional about sort of trying to telegraph what this is about, but also at the same time, I think the fact that she's put this out nine years later and is so removed from it — she's found love with Joe Alwyn, and things seem to be going pretty well — I think it was meant to be sort of taken in the context of, "I'm a different person now. I have distance from this pain now. And so I can sort of capture and play with it in these ways."

    Having said that, Swift is going to do what Swift is going to do. And the Swifties, I think, are only second to Barbz in terms of being the most mafia-like. And so — and this is not to endorse the behavior of the fandom — but I think the excitement of the version of the song that people have been dreaming of for so long, coupled with the devastating details that we're learning about, has sort of unearthed all of those emotions and made them really fresh. And also at the same time, the song's primary mode of spreading is not the song — it's gossip. People are so interested in the sort of gossipy parts of this whole drama. But also the song as a text is clearly fascinating for a lot of people. And like you said, people are like, "I would also be mining that relationship for a really long time if I was if I was ever dating Jake Gyllenhaal." (Jake, if you're listening, get at me.)

    BuzzFeed Daily: I think we also have to give Taylor a lot of credit for elevating the conversation around age gaps between older men and younger women. She's even instigated a new TikTok trend in which women are reassessing their past relationships with older men. I mean, do you think this was her intention or was she just telling her own story, and all the different facets of it?

    Photo of Taylor Swift in a maroon velvet suit
    Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    EA: I think there's something about Taylor Swift as a vehicle for self-exploration that people are really interested in. It doesn't happen when a lot of other pop stars drop an album. You know, I am really excited for the Adele album, but I'm not going to go into a closet and be like, "Let me look at my life from top to bottom and all the choices that I've ever made." 

    But I think Taylor and her willingness to be diaristic in her songwriting, so that it's very specific and is drawing from very specific experiences, I think invites listeners to do the same thing in a way. It invites you to say, "OK, has that ever happened to me? Have I ever been in a dynamic that's like that? And if so, how do I feel about it now? Do I feel like he was fine, actually? Or do I feel like I actually know these dynamics were really fucked up and I should not have been in that?"

    And the fact that she's willing to do this so publicly and also have those really piercing lines in the "All Too Well" 10-minute version, about the age and about how the person in the relationship made her feel so young, has just sort of invited other people to go there, in a sense. And I honestly don't think that happens with a lot or even most pop stars. But she has a real sort of diarist's through line to a lot of her writing that invites people to sort of join her in that quest.

    BuzzFeed Daily: Okay, so if you were Jake Gyllenhaal, what would you do? Would you make a statement? Because this isn't just Taylor Swift singing about some random person. She's singing about someone who is very famous and is most likely going to be in the new Spider-Man. So it's just weird. Everyone is putting all of this pressure on him and they're looking at his life and we're only getting one side of the story. So would you say that like it would make sense for him to come out and make a statement? Should he stay quiet? Should he go into hiding?

    Discovery Channel / Via tenor.com

    EA: Jake Gyllenhaal is in witness protection — and also my protection, in my home. No, that's an interesting question, because it treats Taylor's airing of her emotions and her grievances as a public event, which is really interesting to me because I actually don't think you can say that about most pop stars. It is a public event, because people are like, "Hey, you made this person feel this way." 

    I'm guessing that somewhere out there, Jake Gyllenhaal's therapist is saying the phrase that all therapists have said, which is "how other people feel about you has nothing to do with you, so maybe you should shut the fuck up and sort of figure it out on your own."

    It would probably behoove Jake Gyllenhaal to say nothing. No one's going to stop casting Jake Gyllenhaal in movies because Taylor Swift wrote "All Too Well" about him. I don't think that's a thing that's going to happen. And it's interesting that you bring up the fact that he's going to be in stuff because as we learned earlier this year, he's in an upcoming movie and the trailer for it used "Wildest Dreams" from Taylor Swift, and it was a new version of hers, so she was clearly aware and giving her blessing to do this for a movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal. And it's like, "Girl. What are you doing to us? What are you trying to communicate?" I think all of that is interesting. 

    And so no, I think if I was Jake, I would be like, "Can we go get some lunch and maybe not post anything on Instagram for like a week or two?" I don't think he needs to issue a public statement that's like, "Folks, I was in a relationship. I may have mishandled it. It was 10 years ago and it lived for three months." I don't think that's what the discourse needs from Jake Gyllenhaal.

    We also discussed the open letter from veteran actor Ada Maris wrote to Netflix that led to the streaming site removing a character from its upcoming series Uncoupled, starring Neil Patrick Harris.

    Photo of Ada Maris sitting in a chair with a microphone
    Dominik Bindl / Getty Images

    Ada was sent the script and asked to read for Carmen, the Latina housekeeper of Neil’s character, but was shocked by how “hurtful and derogatory” the role was, adding that Carmen was at one point “hysterical” and speaking in broken English.

    Following Ada’s letter, Netflix released a statement saying “we’re sorry that Ms. Maris had a negative experience, and this character will not appear in the series."

    Movie on, Kirsten Dunst recently opened up about the pay disparity between her and Tobey Maguire for Spider-Man.

    Photo of Kirsten Dunst sitting in a chair with a microphone
    Rich Polk / Getty Images for Deadline

    She told The Independent that while the difference was “very extreme,” it didn’t even really occur to her to question it at the time.

    Kirsten also mentioned to Variety several years ago that she simply thought, “Oh wow, I'm getting paid a lot of money for the Spider-Man movies.”

    As always, thanks for listening! And if you ever want to suggest stories or just want to say hi, you can reach us at daily@buzzfeed.com.