Taylor Swift Wiki

"Mean" is a country song performed by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. The song was solely written by Swift and produced by Nathan Chapman with Swift's aid. It was released on October 19, 2010 by Big Machine Records as a promotional single from Swift's third studio album, Speak Now, on March 13, 2011 it was released as the third single from the album "Mean" is heavy on fiddle and banjo and "the most country-sounding thing" Swift has ever done according to Nathan Chapman.

The song garnered critical acclaim for its lyrical detail and country sounding. "Mean" had successful commercial outcomes in the United States, charting at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Hot Digital Songs Chart with 163,000 downloads. It is unknown who the song is about, although some argue that it is about the Internet group Anonymous.


The song "Mean" is about, well, when you do what I do, which is you put yourself out there for a lot of people to say whatever they want about it, there are a million different opinions from a million different people.

I get it that not everyone is going to like everything that you do, and I get that no matter what, you're going to be criticized for something. But I also get that there are different kinds of ways to criticize someone. There is constructive criticism. There's professional criticism. And then, there's just being mean. There's a line that you cross when you just start to attack everything about a person, and there's one guy who just crossed the line over and over again. Just being mean, and saying things that would ruin my day.

This happens... no matter what you do, no matter how old you are, no matter what your job is, no matter what your place is in life. There's always going to be someone who's just mean to you. Dealing with that is all you can control about that situation, how you handle it. "Mean" is about how I handle it, and sort of my mind set about this whole situation

Hidden message

Hidden message: I thought you got me.

It is rumored that Taylor Swift wrote ‘Mean’ in response to scathing reviews by infamous blogger Bob Lefsetz, who wrote poorly of Swift in the Lefsetz Letter about her performance with Stevie Nicks in the 2010’s Grammy Awards.


[Verse 1]
You, with your words like knives and swords and weapons that you use against me
You have knocked me off my feet again, got me feeling like a nothing
You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard calling me out when I'm wounded
You, picking on the weaker man

Well you can take me down with just one single blow
But you don't know what you don't know

Someday I'll be living in a big ole city
And all you're ever gonna be is mean
Someday I'll be big enough so you can't hit me
And all you're ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean

[Verse 2]
You, with your switching sides and your wildfire lies and your humiliation
You have pointed out my flaws again, as if I don't already see them
I walk with my head down trying to block you out cause I'll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again
I bet you got pushed around
Somebody made you cold
But the cycle ends right now cause you can't lead me down that road
And you don't know what you don't know

[Repeat chorus]

And I can see you years from now in a bar
Talking over a football game
With that same big loud opinion
But nobody's listening
Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things
Drunk and grumbling on about how I can't sing
But all you are is mean
All you are is mean
And a liar and pathetic and alone in life
And mean, and mean, and mean, and mean

But someday I'll be living in a big ole city
And all you're ever gonna be is mean, yeah
Someday I'll be big enough so you can't hit me
And all you're ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean
Someday I'll be living in a big ole city
(Why you gotta be so mean)
And all you're ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean
Someday I'll be big enough so you can't hit me
And all you're ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean

Music video

The video begins with Swift and her band playing a banjo, all dressed in vintage-inspired clothes. The stage is set up like a front yard of a farmhouse. Then, Swift is shown being tied to the tracks by a villain, similar to the song's artwork. The villain and his friend laugh as she sits there helpless. But later in the song she escapes as the two people sleep, drunk and tired. However, Swift and the others are hardly the only victims in the video. A montage of Swift plucking away at her banjo is shown alternately throughout the video with scenes of a boy being bullied while reading a fashion magazine in a locker room by the football team, and a girl, wearing a fast-food uniform, who is being made fun of by her peers with her job promotion. Another cut-scene shows a girl who was not welcomed by the girls to sit with the popular clique at lunch, and had to eat lonely in the girls' washroom. The next scene shows that the stage is transformed into a bright and ritzy stage, with the singer all dazzled up in a sparkly flapper gown performing in the big leagues.

After the bridge of the song, it is revealed that the boy reading the fashion magazine is now a famous fashion designer; the fast food girl saves up for college and is a big-time executive. The final scene shows the other girl sitting as an audience watching and applauding as Swift finishes performing.


Commercial reception

"Mean" debut at number eleven and number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Digital Songs Chart consecutively, with approximately 163,000 downloads.

Critical reception

According to Thomas Conner of Chicago Sun-Times, "Mean" points a matronly finger at her critics.[1] Mandi Bierly of Entertainment Weekly said that it is a nice touch and it brings a sincerity to her pain and lets you focus on the words, which do, near the end, turn cheeky, proving she handles it with a sense of humor.[2]

Cover versions

  • Country singer Danielle Bradbury sang this song at her blind audition for season 4 of The Voice.
  • It was covered on the popular Fox show Glee in the episode "Props".

Awards and nominations

"Mean" has received 5 awards from 10 nominations.

Year Organization Award Result
2011 American Country Awards Female Single of the Year Nominated
Country Music Association Awards Song of the Year Nominated
Music Video of the Year Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Video with a Social Message Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Country Song Won
2012 Academy of Country Music Awards Video of the Year Nominated
BMI Country Awards Publisher of the Year Won
Top 50 Songs Won
Grammy Awards Best Country Solo Performance Won
Best Country Song Won

2020 The Game Awards Best Retro Music SFX award Undecided


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