Taylor Swift Said She Was A "Broken Human" When She Wrote "All Too Well"

    "I thought it was too dark, too sad, too intense."

    If you're a fan of Taylor Swift, it's likely that you'll have heard the folklore (lol) behind "All Too Well," undeniably one of the standout tracks from her fourth album, Red.

    Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

    The song was released in 2012, and has been a fan favourite ever since, and as a result has been the subject of years of speculation, both over who it's about and how it was written.

    Long story short, the 10-minute version of "All Too Well" has been a fandom in-joke/meme/we're-actually-kinda-serious-about-wanting-to-hear-it-tho ever since.


    Well, during an appearance on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums podcast released on Tuesday, Taylor opened up a little about the creative process of making Red, including an extended version (sorry) of the story behind "All Too Well."

    Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

    "It was a day when I was just, like, a broken human, walking into rehearsal just feeling terrible about what was going on in my personal life," Taylor said of the day she wrote the song.

    Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

    "I just ended up playing four chords over and over again, and the band started kicking in," she explained. "People just started playing along with me... I think they could tell I was really going through it."

    She went on: "I just started singing and riffing and ad-libbing this song that basically was 'All Too Well.'"

    "It literally just was that song, but it had probably seven extra verses and it included the f-word," she laughed.


    "My sound guy was like, 'Hey, I burned a CD of that thing you were doing in case you want it,'" Taylor said.

    "I ended up taking it home and listening to it," she went on. "And I was like, I actually really like this, but it definitely is like 10 minutes long and I need to pare it down, so I'm going to call [cowriter and long time collaborator] Liz Rose."

    Going on to speak about fans' overwhelmingly positive reaction to the song, Taylor said it was completely unexpected, because it was never released as a single.

    Jamie McCarthy / WireImage

    "It wasn't a single, and it didn't have a video — all these ways that I was taught music permeated culture," she said. "I didn't see that happening with that song."

    Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

    She explained that she ended up going on to play it live at the Grammys in 2014, because "the fans wanted to hear it a lot."

    "I can't believe it now when I play it live and everybody in the crowd knows every word. I'm truly astonished by it, and I think that's one of the most beautiful things about this album for me when I look back on it," she went on.

    "I really didn't pick that one," Taylor concluded. "I thought it was too dark, too sad, too intense. It's fun when things surprise you like that."


    You can listen to Taylor talk about Red on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums podcast in full here.

    Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Bate at eleanor.bate@buzzfeed.com.

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