‘Taylor’s Version’ Is the Version for the Moment

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Drive and cry.

Welcome. Did you see Taylor Swift perform “All Too Well” on “Saturday Night Live” last weekend? Even if you don’t count yourself a “Swiftie,” it’s worth 10 minutes of your time.

On Friday, Swift released “Red (Taylor’s Version),” a rerecording of her 2012 album, “Red,” on which “All Too Well,” an indictment of a relationship in its aftermath (sample lyric: “After plaid shirt days and nights when you made me your own/Now you mail back my things and I walk home alone”), originally appeared.

“The five-and-a-half-minute cut of ‘All Too Well’ that appeared on ‘Red’ was an achievement of taut, streamlined storytelling and vividly spot-lit details,” writes Lindsay Zoladz. “The new version knows no such restraint. It is gloriously unruly and viciously seething. With its release, the millennial ‘You’re So Vain’ has suddenly become the millennial ‘Idiot Wind.’”

“All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” is a weepie — a belt-the-lyrics, crying-while-driving tune. It’s a song for the heartbroken, for the fed-up, for the older and wiser who’ve seen some things they’re not going to forget any time soon. I won’t go so far as to say it’s an anthem for the moment — a pop song about a breakup, even a good one, doesn’t begin to encompass the events of the past two years — but it’s a song for letting it all out, a song of catharsis. As Jason Farago wrote in The Times in January, about the release that art can provide, “Not since 1945 has the United States required catharsis like it does in 2021.” Have a listen.


  • My colleague Shira Ovide, who writes the On Tech newsletter, is talking with Steve Huffman, the co-founder and C.E.O. of Reddit, and others about healthy online communities on Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. E.T. I’ll be there. You can R.S.V.P. for the subscriber-only event here.

  • Check out Google Arts & Culture’s Paint With Music, which lets you create original musical compositions out of your digital doodles. It’s strange and addictive.

  • “Instagram representations of coziness are primarily about safety and comfort, but they are also about order and control.” Don’t miss Kathryn Jezer-Morton’s “Is ‘Cozy Season’ a Cry for Help?”


Do you have a catharsis song? Is there a song that’s providing you a pressure-release valve these days, that’s offering relief from strong emotions? Tell us about it: athome@nytimes.com. Be sure to include your full name and location and we might feature your response in a future newsletter. We’re At Home and Away. We’ll read every letter sent. And of course you’ll find more ideas for passing the time below. I’ll see you on Friday.

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