"All Too Well" is the fifth track from Taylor Swift's fourth studio album, Red. It was written by Swift and Liz Rose. The song has received acclaim from music critics so far. Taylor also played the song on the Red Tour and at the 2014 Grammy Awards after requests from fans.
Background and release
While collaborating with different writers on Red, Swift wrote the song along with Liz Rose. The song has been inspired from Swift's ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal according to some blogs. The song has been produced by Swift and Nathan Chapman.
It was the first song that Swift wrote for Red. The heart-wrenching break-up tune came after a six-month writing block that followed a particularly painful ending of a relationship. "There's a kind of bad that gets so overpowering you can't even write about it," she told USA Today of that time.
Swift has a said that the song was "the hardest to write on the album", saying; "“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. 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."
The song has received acclaim from music critics, who praised her song writing skills, and her ability to tell a story through a song, with many highlighting it as a standout on the album. Billboard gave a positive review to the song saying "Just like that, Swift snaps back to her core demographic: "All Too Well" is sumptuous country, with Swift "dancing 'round the kitchen in the refrigerator light" in the memory of a romance that has seemingly been buried in time. The tune would have fit snugly on Speak Now, and even touches upon some of the same themes as "Mine," but on Red it serves as a reminder that these songs will always remain in Swift's wheelhouse." About.com gave the song 4 out of 5 stars, saying that the song is "A mincing guitar figure."
The week her album Red was released, all of the songs charted in different countries due to its strong digital sale downloads. With this, the song debuted at number 80 on Billboard Hot 100, at number 59 on the Canadian Hot 100 and number 17 on the Hot Country Songs.
The 10 Minute-Version of this song, debuted at number 1 on Billboard Hot 100, number 1 on Billboard Global 200, number 1 on Billboard Global excluding U.S, and number 1 on Billboard Hot Country Songs.
Taylor performed this song at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2014 acoustically, using her piano and had her band play to add more depth.
She also performed this track as a part of the set list of The Red Tour, with a speech before she played it on the piano.
The ten minute version of this song was performed by Taylor on Saturday Night Live on November 13, 2021.
Hidden message: Maple latte
10 Minute Version
Main page: All Too Well (10 Minute Version)
Following the re-release of Red on November 12, 2021, she added the 10 minute version as a vault track and served as the thirtieth and final track on the album. It included all of the originally intended lyrics, which were cut down due to label concerns of it being "too long".
It was accompanied by a short film, starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O'Brien.
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
The 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 about you on a tee ball team
You tell me about 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
Well 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
Running scared, I was there, I remember it all too well
Hey you called 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
'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