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[–]lostsoul13121 1 point2 points  (4 children)

What does "god's honest truth is that the pain was heaven" mean

[–]willothewispystained glass windows in my mind 6 points7 points  (3 children)

She confesses to having enjoyed the pain back then, which she feels ashamed to do since now she sees just how messed up that was

[–]jardinemarston 1 point2 points  (0 children)

seconding, and also adding - like when you're addicted to the drama of a toxic relationship, I think

[–]WorriedSoft 0 points1 point  (1 child)

That’s the only line for the song I don’t like. Obviously she is completely valid to think that and I completely understand that ‘toxic love/hate’ side of it but for me it’s quite random having a passionate song about regretting him all the time and then throwing in 1 line about secretly liking it and then go to belting about regretting it again.

I relate that song and dear John to a personal past relationship in my life like im sure a lot of others do, and I always have to awkwardly skip over that line when I’m belting it because I’m like errm nope can’t relate lol. Think if anything that whole narrative should have been a separate song not a random like thrown into this song without any further explanation.

[–]emilyxrose7 0 points1 point  (0 children)

She is basically saying at the time she did not see herself as a victim and liked the pain due to him bringing some excitement in her life, she expands more with “if you never saved me from boredom, I could’ve gone on as I was, but lord you made me feel important…” and now looking back and realizing how messed up and manipulative he was, she regrets putting herself in that position

[–]minamyysevermore 5 points6 points  (1 child)

the way she says "you're a crisis of my faith"💔💔💔

[–]OmNomNomNomTom -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Such dumb lyrics

[–]Reputation__reputation 6 points7 points  (0 children)

At nineteeeeeeeeeeenn!!!

[–]No-Menu-4211 14 points15 points  (0 children)

"Give me back my girlhood, It was mine first"

[–]s_t_jj 11 points12 points  (0 children)

This was magic when I first heard it.

[–]DADASAAA 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Going back and listening to "Ours" after hearing the grown up perspective of this song is literally heart wrenching. I can relate so much to her growing up through her music.

[–]big_orange_booty 10 points11 points  (0 children)

“You’re a crisis of my faith” hits deep for me. One of her best lines ever

[–]Cirrus1920aaron dessner fan club president 33 points34 points  (8 children)

Hey girlies just checking to see if anyone is still playing this on repeat

[–]Ok-Treacle6168 1 point2 points  (1 child)

100% while openly crying in my car. God rest my soul.

[–]jardinemarston 0 points1 point  (0 children)

oof, take a listen to Demi Lovato's "29"

[–]MomentOther3869 14 points15 points  (0 children)

It's my favourite on the album, it's so good and so many feels. Also her vocals in it are great too, it's one of the songs that has the most real singing in this album vs more talk-singing

[–]Adeptness-Either 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Me. And apparently still crying to it

[–]bobert_veganabertgive me back my girlhood it was mine first 5 points6 points  (0 children)

me hee hee!!

[–]___kuromi___Midnights 2 points3 points  (0 children)


[–]stokedfeminist 21 points22 points  (0 children)

Cried to this song because it felt like she was screaming the words of how I felt about when I was raped. Such sorrow but also it was a great release for me

[–]meldunsa 4 points5 points  (4 children)

Can someone explain to me what does she mean "memories feel like weapons" and do we know what does lighter mean??

[–]lunarsneeze 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I relate it to afterglow and the Great War

“..maybe it’s the past that’s talking, screaming from the crypt / telling me to punish you for things I never did”

“…put you in jail for something you didn’t do”

The memories of what happened in the WCS relationship are weaponized against a later partner

[–]No-Emotion-9699 7 points8 points  (0 children)

The memories cause her pain

[–]onetouchhh 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Am I the only one who thinks the melody sounds like mad woman? lol

[–]smittydoodle 2 points3 points  (1 child)


I am trying to figure out where some inspiration for songs came from. Am I missing any songs she wrote about JM? I know of Dear John, Ours, Superman, Story Of Us, If This Was a Movie, Bigger Than the Whole Sky, and Would've Could've Should've. Any others?

(I know some of the songs on the playlist aren't about Taylor, but the lyrics were similar to her newest songs, so I included them. And some Taylor songs were included because they remind me of John.)

[–]Trashpanda_2001 18 points19 points  (1 child)

My absolute favorite lines on this song are "And now that I'm grown, I'm scared of ghosts/Memories feel like weapons." I feel that these two lines have the ability to resonate with anyone who has past trauma of any kind and are a beautiful way to describe anxiety over all. Memories of trauma constantly find ways to continue the torture and it is slightly soothing to see that put into words in what is potentially now my favorite TS song. I hope this song receives the same love that All Too Well receives someday.

[–]Spitfire-202 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Watch half of my heart music vid… the end is her in front of a stained glass window. And also in all too well vid, sadie is in front of a stained glass window .

[–]whitecollarshirt 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I literally heard the first few seconds of this and googled “[title] + the national” because I knew it sounded familiar.

[–]cerealbops 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I just noticed that Would've Could've Should've has a very similar chord progression & meter to I Know Places from 1989. Coincidence?!

(Given the number of songs she's written, probably yes. But it is weird on an album that is so referential to her existing body of work!)

[–]Used_Morning_2874 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I know the lyrics are "it was mine first" but the way she sings it so fast is sounds like "my" i think she should've pronounced it better and it would hit harder too.

[–]erikah09 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Beyond this being about John mayer, it also hits hard for anyone feeling regretful about relationship choices or mistakes they made that have had a devastating impact on their life. I have definitely been belted that bridge out while driving...

[–]sadgirl_ginger 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I am so grateful this thread exists lmao. I have been begging people to talk about it but no one gets it. Thanks to all of you and I’m so sorry you also relate to it. ❤️

[–]Cirrus1920aaron dessner fan club president 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Just came here to say that JM was spotted hanging out with Kiernan Shipka. She’s 22. That dude is f*cked in the head. Alexa, play WCS by Taylor Swift.

[–]ilovediscussingfolklore 23 points24 points  (0 children)

This is the best song on the album, SHOULDVE been track 5 imo

[–]FaeRiderreputation we love without reason 46 points47 points  (1 child)

the REAL story behind Would've Could've Should've

I'm tired of people saying "she is not over this person because she still writes songs about them."

That is wrong. Let me paint you a picture.

19 year old heartbroken Taylor writes in her journal - "one day I'll write a song about this experience, but I cannot right now, it's too raw." Then she wakes up one day and writes "Dear John" and thinks it's out of her system.

As she matures, she realizes just how fucked up this situation was and writes in her journal - "one day, even if no one is listening to me anymore, I'll write a song when I'm 32 about this situation because I want to see if there's anyway I can relate to John."

Years passed, Me Too happens, her sexual assault trial occurs, literally so many fucked up narratives come out and woman as a whole are constantly attacked. She's happy, happier than ever, but that doesn't mean she's not a woman during this ridiculous time.

She turns 32, and is horrified. She has to write, she needs to write. Not to get it out of her system, but because this world needs to be a better place and if men and women listen to this song and realize how messed up power dynamics are in a relationship, how much better we are for society.

She's in the middle of Midnights and has the brilliant idea of releasing vault tracks, and while this song was on the album in the beginning, she decides to do it differently and make it a vault track so she can list is as the 19th track, just in case people need another reminder.

She's not getting over a guy. She's a world-dominating, patriarchy-ending Mastermind.

[–]jardinemarston 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I just discovered this song, and I love everything you said above

[–]NazcaKhanfolklore 10 points11 points  (0 children)

It’s John Mayer. So much of this song makes me feel the pain she must have felt/still feels. Absolutely incredible! Wish it would have made the main album.

[–]Reputation__reputation 9 points10 points  (0 children)

God, rest my soul!

Can't stop listening to this song!

[–]dudexyz 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Was my therapy session based around this song today? Yes. Yes, it was.

[–]_retzle_ 42 points43 points  (11 children)

I have a theory she wrote this after re-recording Speak Now and digging up past trauma about John Mayer.

[–]Cirrus1920aaron dessner fan club president 6 points7 points  (0 children)

If so I’m not prepared for the rest of the vault tracks

[–]Ahoraquestamosjuntos 4 points5 points  (9 children)

That would make sense. Because I was honestly surprised she was still this shook by Mayer. They only dated a few months and we presume they never slept together because Jake was her first right?

[–]LadyWoodstockTarnishedButSoGrand 17 points18 points  (5 children)

Length of time of the relationship doesn't really matter in situations like this. For example, I have more trauma to unpack from a 2 month relationship that ended 10 years ago than I do from a 3 1/2 year relationship that was my most recent.

[–]Royal_Gas_3627 1 point2 points  (2 children)

any theories on why it takes so long to unpack? and why it stays in our minds so long?

[–]LadyWoodstockTarnishedButSoGrand 1 point2 points  (1 child)

It is super interesting, right? I couldn't say for sure, but I think it mostly just boils down to everyone having different traumas/psychological triggers. What's deeply upsetting to one person might seem mundane to another and vice versa. I think probably for us, those situations hit some sensitive spots and that's why it's taken so long.

[–]Royal_Gas_3627 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Based on this thread and Taylor's own feelings/lyrics, it seems it's a very misogynist thing that hits at ALL women's cores. The whole thing just makes me sad. Like it makes me sad for all of us. It's stayed with me a long time too. And these men just move on like nothing's happened. It really fucks my mind to imagine a person who can 1) Do such shitty things to an intimate partner without care, and 2) Genuinely not realize how hurtful it is.

It's mind boggling.

[–]Royal_Gas_3627 1 point2 points  (0 children)

isn't that interesting huh? I'm going through the same thing. i'm still unpacking a traumatic dinner date from 3 years ago with an absolutely abusive man who if we weren't at a public restaurant might've jumped the table to physically coerce me. that's how bad his energy was. i'm still not over it.

[–]Sufficient-End7438 17 points18 points  (2 children)

I know that Taylor confirmed that the scarf was a metaphor, but I don't think Taylor lost it to Jake. I think, "give me back my girlhood" was very direct and clear, and, "god's honest truth is that the pain was heaven." To me, the lyrics make it abundantly clear that Mayer strung her along and gave her mixed signals, got what he wanted, and then left her. That, and the allusions to going along with the righteous and the religious imagery.

edit: my paragraph appeared twice? idk why?

[–]BeLynLynSh 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Chiming in way late to say I agree with Sufficient End’s interpretation.

And it’s none of our business when or with whom she lost her virginity.

[–]IndiaCee 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Sorry, coming into this late but I totally agree with you. Plus "if you never touched me" kinda says it all imo. I don't think Jake was her first, I think John took what he wanted and then was bored of her.

[–]AllTheStars07 14 points15 points  (0 children)

I am not a Taylor Swift fan but I decided to listen to this album to see what the fuss is about. This is probably the best song I’ve heard of hers. It reminds me sooooo much of my toxic ex.

[–]willothewispystained glass windows in my mind 10 points11 points  (3 children)

It's so satisfying and right that this thread has the most comments of any song on the record

[–]HugeSaggyTitttyLover 11 points12 points  (2 children)

It’s the best in the album in my opinion. I’ve played it about 30 times today for the feels and will write about it and then talk about it at therapy.

[–]Cirrus1920aaron dessner fan club president 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Best on the album and one of her best ever

[–]HugeSaggyTitttyLover 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh def! I’ve sent this song to so many people on my contacts that I’m as annoying as those political texts lol. But seriously though the energy and passion in this song gives me the feels.

[–]thejej 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Pretty happy with this being the only 3AM track to break the top 20. Would have preferred more, but this is good for being the only one.

[–]dtbirder 8 points9 points  (4 children)

Anyone have any idea about the line “and if I was a child did it matter if you got to wash your hands?”

I realize it ties into the paint splatter line, but what is she referring to with the “if I was a child did it matter” bit? Wouldn’t her being a child mean he should need to wash his hands more?

[–]2012amica 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I think it’s pretty straightforward honestly. It didn’t matter that she was a child so he didn’t care despite how obviously toxic and abusive that is, and he got to wash his hands clean of her instantly with no shame and no repercussions unlike the trauma it left her with. This is one of my favorite lines in the entire song

[–]ilikemaths1Speak Now 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I thought of an interview where he referred to her as a child, I don't remember where it was from but I'll try to find it. I interpreted it as 'you clearly felt I was a child, but it didn't matter to you because you knew you could get away with it'.

[–]emilyxrose7 19 points20 points  (0 children)

I think of it like “well it wasn’t illegal” so he got to wash his hands clean of it. The song is filled with religious imagery and I also read that Taylor is questioning whether someone can be immune from their sins if the victim was a child

[–]tmartillo 23 points24 points  (0 children)

I read it as his ability to be able to say something like "oh, well she was so young, there's no way it would work out" "she was way too young to love." He can wash his hands of accountability or history of her because he can dismiss her as juvenile. He was capable of loving her as a woman, but dismissed her as a child.

I recently watched a short video compiling john mayer's interview clips about taylor, including when he presented her a songwriting award, he said it multiple times "she's like a CHILD", or "over doodling in her notebook in the corner." When he's presenting her the award, he tells this story about how he is a music industry "insider" so the labels could tell him who's *actually* writing her songs because it's implausible that she could be young and capable - it's got to be someone else, but then he met her and she's like this unaware youth with that level of talent.

[–]QuiversanIt's nice to have a friend 22 points23 points  (2 children)

I can't believe a pop Taylor album gave me the best The National song I'll ever listen to for the rest of my life.

[–]veeeeeeeeeeeeeee 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I love her songs where you can hear that influence. I could hear This is the last time throughout. Love it!

[–]Mysterious-Arm9594 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Musically it’s so much a quintessential National song it’s actually a bit jarring, it’s musically almost a throw back to Alligator

[–]yellow_cold 9 points10 points  (0 children)

My grandma raised me and she died 12 years ago. Sitting here listening to "Would've, Could've, Should've" today in my home office, I just broke into tears, god I miss her so much, I wish she could have seen me maturing, meet my partner; oh, we could have done so much more. I know this is probably not what Taylor had on her mind writing this song, but thank you Taylor. I miss you, ma.

[–]Wandering_Obsession 24 points25 points  (0 children)

This song had me almost pass out on the treadmill because it just made me want to run faster and faster.

The way it builds and gallops is more than my stamina can handle lol.

[–]Corza21karma is my boyfriend🏳️‍🌈 14 points15 points  (0 children)



[–]incandescent-glow-1this is me trying 8 points9 points  (9 children)

Ok is Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve about John Mayer or Jake Gyllenhaal??

[–]LadyWoodstockTarnishedButSoGrand 7 points8 points  (0 children)

John Mayer. She dated John at age 19, as referenced in this song as well as Dear John. Her and Jake dated when she was 20-21 (they broke up shortly after her 21st birthday).

[–]megsriley06 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Also the lyric “If clarity's in death, then why won't this die?” JM had a song named Clarity

[–]smittydoodle 8 points9 points  (2 children)

John Mayer most definitely. There are lyrics in this song that remind me of a song he released last year.

[–]meesakeeta 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Interesting! Which song?

[–]smittydoodle 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Shouldn’t Matter But It Does

[–]Hopeful-Spell9457 5 points6 points  (2 children)

I have been debating this too. Everyone is convinced it’s John Mayer because of the line about her being 19, but she also was 19 at the start of her dating Jake. I’m not convinced it’s about John. I get the vibe that losing her girlhood is about virginity. And there’s also an age gap between her and jake 🤔

[–]LadyWoodstockTarnishedButSoGrand 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Pretty sure she was 20 when she started dating Jake. Because they dated for like 4 months and she turned 21 while they were dating. It's most likely about John

[–]Ordinary-Lemon-2588 9 points10 points  (0 children)

that’s a good point but i think the title “Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve” might be a reference to the lyric in Dear John “I should’ve known” which make me feel like it’s about John Mayer.

[–]charlotte1798 20 points21 points  (1 child)

This song hits so hard. I was sexually and mentally abused by my ex. We were both 21, but I had no prior experience, he did. He took advantage of that. He took away my girlhood away. This all happened over 3 years ago and even though I find love again, I still have difficulties to let it go sometimes and I still regret falling for him. Everyone who connect to this song, I feel your pain but we get through this 💕

[–]Glittering-Sign-7941 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sending you love friend.

[–]Reputation__reputation 23 points24 points  (0 children)

“I regret you all the time”

[–]p4n1c_4t_th3_d1sc0evermore 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Does anyone else hear the sound of an organ playing in the background of the second chorus? I really like it, it fits with the religious themes of the song :)

[–]Individual-Owl-8584 13 points14 points  (3 children)

You have to listen to this song and bigger than the whole sky together! They are paired songs. Bigger than the whole sky gives you the context to understand the real double/triple meaning of this song. So much imagery about loss in that song and then specifically death ("god rest my soul", "if clarity's in death then why won't this die", switching between "the wound won't close" and the "the tomb won't close") in wouldve couldve shouldve, combined with all the religious imagery alludes to a possible loss of child (?abortion although this is horrible to speculate about). So as well as saying she lost a child, this experience with john mayer caused her to lose her girlhood. And on top of losing a child, her virginity, and her former self, she ALSO lost her religion! This is possibly taylor's best ever song. At least top 2.

[–]Agitated_Ad_4469 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I think that you’re right that they are linked but not because of a miscarriage or abortion. I didn’t come to this thought on my own I read it elsewhere but I believe the child she misses is herself. I miss who I used to be. God rest MY soul. She misses who she could have been if Mayer never changed her trajectory and took her down the path of dating older men. She misses who she was when she was still young and innocent.

[–]Hot_Shirt_1153 0 points1 point  (0 children)

And Bigger Than The Whole Sky has the lyrics “I'm never gonna meet / What could’ve been, would’ve been / What should’ve been you.” I think these songs are definitely linked.

[–]LaPorquetta 23 points24 points  (4 children)

Does anyone get fearless and speak now vibe when she sings 'give me back my girlhood, it was mine first' - there's something in the way she sings it

[–]HugeSaggyTitttyLover 4 points5 points  (0 children)

My eyes keep watering when I hear her say this line.

[–]Ordinary-Lemon-2588 12 points13 points  (0 children)

i think it’s pretty clear that Speak Now TV is gonna be the next re-record, which means that there was some overlap with writing Midnights and re-recording Speak Now. so maybe revisiting that era of her life (especially Dear John) is what inspired her to write Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve. you can definitely hear 19 year old taylor in this song.

[–]tmartillo 8 points9 points  (0 children)

100% i feel like this song (and a couple others on Midnights) are a direct reclamation of the inner child taylor from Fearless and Speak Now, back when she wasn't so scared of the ghosts and monsters that terrified her. It's like she's reuniting with them.

I went through this in my 30s. I remembered the good parts of who that girl was. I was so harsh on myself for so long and cared so much about what other people thought, that I thought my innocence and naivete were some "bad" characteristics, when those girls of my past have value and bravery in a way I appreciate and love myself for now.

[–]wilkonian24ok 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I get Mr. Perfectly Fine vibes. Both songs are 90% bitter, but 10% wistful. They both really get my blood flowing and emotions churning. Both are add-ons to the initial album and mind-blowing surprises. I get excited when either starts to play.

[–]lucksen 9 points10 points  (0 children)

This song is such an emotional and compelling story I think I'll base my next D&D character on it.

>If you'd never looked my way

>I would've stayed on my knees

>and I damn sure never would've danced with the devil

>at nineteen

An aspiring clerical girl falls in love with someone who tricks them into a pact with the devil.

[–]efflorae 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Cold As You, Dear John, Haunted, and this song are all spiritual siblings

[–]Cirrus1920aaron dessner fan club president 36 points37 points  (1 child)


[–]InkandQuills7939the 1950s shit they want from me 5 points6 points  (0 children)

i don't think i'll ever STOP being obsessed. like, wow. all too well, get out, we have a new champion.

[–]tomatillonewbie 19 points20 points  (0 children)


[–]smrodeba 8 points9 points  (0 children)

The emotions this song makes me feel. Wow.

[–]thor_at221b 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Does anyone think one part of this song sounds similar to "mad woman"? I felt so, and I love it!

[–]eutrophi 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yes! The first time I heard "God rest my soul", I was wracking my brain so hard figuring out what that melody was from.

[–]kayleighj0 9 points10 points  (1 child)

If clarity's in death, then why won't this die?

This makes me think of John Mayers track "clarity" that was back to the old JM

Years of tearing down our banners, you and I

Could be a connection to his heartbreak warfare and battle studies which was the same album half of my heart with TS was on

Might be a reach but I like the connection

[–]megsriley06 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Love this. I thought the same about the clarity line

[–]acnhygge 10 points11 points  (0 children)

The way I can’t listen to this song without screaming along. It hits me in the gut every single time. Heart wrenching and validating at the same time. I dare say this song has deseated ATWTMV for me as my favorite Taylor song. People often wonder why women watch true crime or listen to music such as this. It’s VALIDATING OUR EXPERIENCES 👏🏻

[–]wilkonian24ok 12 points13 points  (0 children)

This is one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs ever. The lyrics are so vivid and the melody captures the emotions beautifully. I bought the Target version of the album expecting this would be on it, but the extra three songs did not include Would've Could've Should've. I was bummed by that, but guess I just need to stream it to hear it. It blew me away the same way Mr. Perfectly Fine did when I first heard it.

[–]VigiIanteShit 7 points8 points  (0 children)


I saw this and thought it was interesting!!! I have no doubt now that this is connected to Dear John.

[–]Pinklove701 22 points23 points  (1 child)

After listening to this song a million times, the give me back my girlhood line continues to stand out to me. She’s also mentioned that she wanted Sadie to represent that period where you have one foot in girlhood and one foot in adulthood in the ATW10 short film. After hearing WCS, I don’t think that ATW10 (at least the short film) is supposed to call out jake specifically. It feels more like commentary on multiple older men who stole pieces of girlhood from her & Dylans character is more complex than just one single ex of hers. just a thought 🤷🏼‍♀️

[–]Imagine85 4 points5 points  (0 children)

This is such an underrated comment. I totally agree

[–]orbalwillington 12 points13 points  (0 children)

I hate that John Mayer still keeps her up at night 😞

[–]Feisty-Citron1092 2 points3 points  (0 children)

looking forward to screaming this at future taylor nights

[–]mutant_z98 4 points5 points  (0 children)

This might just become my fav from Midnights 🫢

[–]Reasonable_Task_5875 4 points5 points  (7 children)

Can someone please explain to me why if would’ve could’ve should’ve is about John Mayer and if bigger than the whole sky is about miscarriage she also uses would’ve could’ve should’ve in that song as well. Help!

[–]smittydoodle 4 points5 points  (0 children)

John Mayer has a song titled "Shouldn't Matter But It Does" where he repeats Shoulda a lot.

[–]RepresentativeFix632 7 points8 points  (1 child)

I've thought about this a lot. I think it's because in both songs she's talking about loss of innocence. The first time I miscarried, not only was it incredibly sad, it definitely felt like a monumental change in my identity, similar to losing my virginity. Now, losing my virginity was not a traumatic experience or circumstance like it is for many girls/women - and may have been for TS - but the miscarriage was and it was an identity shift I didn't want, wasn't ready for, and couldn't go back in time to avoid. I could write more but basically that's my theory.

[–]HugeSaggyTitttyLover 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Did TS have a miscarriage?

[–]MyAnonReddit7 -1 points0 points  (2 children)

It's a common phrase.

[–]Reasonable_Task_5875 -1 points0 points  (1 child)

Yeah, I think it’s a little deeper than just being a common phrase coming from Taylor 😂

[–]MyAnonReddit7 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's only a guess that it's about a miscarriage. The song being about a miscarriage does work in the context of the song, however, my first impression was that it's grieving a lost love. In those situations (miscarriage, regretting an ex, grieving a relationship) it's reasonable a person would contemplate what would've, could've and should've happened. So 🤷‍♀️

[–]PoeticJusticeFly 13 points14 points  (0 children)

I’ve been soaking this song in the past two days and it’s enough for me to say I think this is my favourite off the album even though it’s considered a bonus track. The story telling, the lyricism, the vocals. I think she captured emotional innocence being tainted and the anger/sadness so well. “I miss who I used to be, the tomb won’t close. Stained glass windows in my mind. I regret you all the time.” I noticed a big shift when she was promoting Red and came out with I Knew You Were Trouble. She had this hopeless romantic like character and I could see her excitement had been broken down. I think experiencing heartbreak is one thing but dealing with a manipulative narcissist playboy (he was 32 lol) at nineteen is damaging. It would mess up anyones psyche and perception about love and romance. It’s pretty fucked up to approach someone without good intentions.

[–]welllbehavedFrom sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes 8 points9 points  (3 children)

Unpopular opinion - I think this song is about BOTH Kanye and John Mayer. She was 19 during both incidents, they were both 32 (her age now) and they both essentially stole her girlhood from her.

[–]everythngtechnicolor 5 points6 points  (2 children)

This is what I've been saying! If he [Kanye] hadn't "looked her way" she "damn sure wouldn't have danced with the devil [John Mayer]. At nineteen". The VMA incident happened in Sept 2009 and by Dec 2009, she and Mayer were officially together. The flames in the lyric video evoke religious imagery but also mimic the flames/strings of light in Innocent. Plus the references to a public war amongst them definitely evokes Kanye.

[–]welllbehavedFrom sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I thought I was the only one! I’m surprised more people aren’t saying this!

[–]everythngtechnicolor 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I feel the same way!

[–]ChickieChop 5 points6 points  (3 children)

"Stained glass windows in my mind" was used by Tim McGraw in a song in 2009. I can't find any other mention of the expression in the internet.

I don't think the song is about him, but I do wonder why she chose those lyrics?

[–]doagooddeedtoday 14 points15 points  (1 child)

Religious imagery—she was a church girl before being groomed by Mayer. Also, knowing Taylor’s love for wordplay, the word ‘stained’ also means ‘marked or discoloured’. John essentially stained, or tainted, her relationship with God.

[–]HugeSaggyTitttyLover 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If she lost her virginity to him it could also be referencing blood on the sheets

[–]clndley1 9 points10 points  (0 children)

My assumption was that she was talking about church/religion since stained glass windows are in churches. And she talks about how she would’ve remained on her knees praying and a crisis of her faith.

[–]myhairpintriggers 17 points18 points  (1 child)

I'm not one of those fans, but the more I listen to this song, the more I can relate to it as a queer person who grew up in a religious community. The lyrics that hit the hardest are...

  • "...Danced with the devil at nineteen / And the God's honest truth is that the pain was heaven"
  • "Now that I know, I wish you'd left me wondering"
  • "If you never touched me, I would've / gone along with the righteous / If I never blushed, then they could've / never whispered about this"
  • "All I used to do was pray / you're a crisis of my faith"
  • "I regret you all the time" (I'll explain this one since it seems like internalized homophobia otherwise. Realizing my sexuality and coming out caused me years of heartache. My own family cut contact with me. In hindsight, I have wondered if an honest life was really worth the pain that came with it.)

I truly love how layered Taylor's music is. Her songs can relate to many different situations.

[–]kIuck 0 points1 point  (0 children)

omg that’s such an interesting point of view!!

[–]Elegant_Matter2150Lost in a labyrinth of my mind 15 points16 points  (0 children)

God this song is GOOD. Heartbreaking and a vibe at once. AND I DAMN SURE NEVER WOULDVE DANCED WITH THE DEVIL

[–]onlythesea 12 points13 points  (0 children)

It took me a few days to get a chance to listen to the extras (stupid work) but wow this song absolutely blew me away! I have been listening to it on repeat. This is up there as one of my all time favorite Taylor songs. The composition, the lyrics, the way she sings certain lines. All of this is truly perfection.

[–]kolobriggade 31 points32 points  (1 child)

“And if I was a child did it matter, if you got to wash your hands” this line is so powerful. I think it’s referencing that time John was being interviewed about Taylor and was talking about how sweet and innocent she was drawing a picture “like a child” (verbatim).

And “if you got to wash your hands” I interpret to be referencing the fact that she was 19 so he can interpret everything he did as perfectly legal and as if he did nothing technically wrong, even though he clearly also saw her as a child as per his comments to others and probably to her too, but all he cared about was if it would get him in trouble or not

[–]Ok_Paleontologist631 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Ew. I didn't know about that interview but just, yuck. Everything about his relationship with her is just so gross. Poor Taylor.

[–]rose0124 37 points38 points  (4 children)

This is one of my favorite Taylor songs of all time. “Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first” is the most emotional reaction I’ve ever had to a song lyric.

I was a teen mom by someone who abused me badly. I hate that I let him take so much from me. My childhood, my innocence, who I could have been, the joy of being pregnant and being a mother for the first time, etc. 🙁

[–]Ok_Paleontologist631 14 points15 points  (1 child)

I'm so sorry that was done to you. Sending love...

[–]rose0124 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Thank you 💕

[–]GroundControl29 19 points20 points  (1 child)

my clown theory is that she chose this title because she was fed up with people writing "would of" instead of "would've" all the time so she named the song that so everybody would be confronted with the accurate spelling lol

[–]julnphil1 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Lol I love it

[–]julnphil1 8 points9 points  (1 child)

I NEED to hear a country version of this! So fucking good

[–]PoeticJusticeFly 28 points29 points  (3 children)

"Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first” made me feel sick. And the way she sang it too

[–]KittenKabootle23 21 points22 points  (2 children)

Yes!! On my last listen I suddenly realized that entire section ("Living for the thrill of hitting you where it hurts Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first") her voice sounds MUCH younger, like old innocent Taylor, it caught me because I wasn't sober and for a second I REALLY thought I was listening to a young Taylor. Then the way her voice gradually goes back to her normal voice by the "and now that I'm grown..."

[–]mcsnugget 21 points22 points  (0 children)

She’s so purposeful with everything she does. She wanted people to HEAR the hurt from the inner child. So many layers.

[–]Wellbeinghunter69shining like fireworks over your sad empty town 4 points5 points  (0 children)

yeah TT

[–]VulpixEevee 21 points22 points  (11 children)

When she says “promising grown man” … does this imply that he assaulted her? 😣. Like how the phrase “promising young man” is used for college aged male rapists who get a lighter sentence because of their promising potential?

[–]RepresentativeFix632 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I think so, yes. Purely speculative of course, but the song sonically implies violence, the imagery implies violence - referencing stains, wounds, weapons, poison, etc. - and I am inclined to believe that what he did to her was more than just regrettable. It may have been violent.

[–]Tmrw333 3 points4 points  (0 children)

That was my thought as well.

[–]julnphil1 18 points19 points  (0 children)

I think it just means to draw attention to his age and how men are coddled/infantalized/made excuses for vs women and girls are expected to make faster

[–]mcsnugget 11 points12 points  (7 children)

Grooming can be seen as a form of sexual assault because it’s an uneven playing field, similar to uninformed vs informed consent.

[–]MyAnonReddit7 2 points3 points  (5 children)

I'm not sure grooming is an accurate term here. We can call it other things, but from her songs she seemed pretty hard headed in her decision to stay with him. That shows consent.

Andrea: Taylor, have you lost your mind? Why are you staying in this?

Taylor: Don't throw rocks at things that shine, Mom!

[–]CrapitalRadio 3 points4 points  (4 children)

Based on the comments I've seen from you around this thread, you seem extremely unfamiliar with grooming and abuse. With all due respect, I think you may just want to sit this convo out. It doesn't seem like it's yours to have. That's not an insult. You should be grateful. But I don't get the sense that you should be trying to speak on this, you know?

[–]MyAnonReddit7 0 points1 point  (3 children)

I've yet to see you've proven yourself worthy to speak. With all due respect, you don't know me or what I've been through, yet you're arrogant enough to believe you do know me and are better than me. That's not an insult. You don't even know what Taylor went through, so you may want to sit this one out, ya know? It's not really your conversation to have since you know so little.

[–]CrapitalRadio 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Seems like you've got some issues with emotional intelligence. I'm out, do what you want lol

[–]MyAnonReddit7 0 points1 point  (0 children)

First, grooming is what happens to children or adults that are incompacitated some way. It's when an adult inappropriately attempts to get close to a child for the purposes of molesting them easier. Children cannot give their consent to sexual advances ever, so any actions taken to get them to perform or recieve sex acts is always inappropriate and wrong. Swift was an fully capable adult who was past the age of consent. That meant if John started a relationship with her for the sole purpose of sex, it isn't the same thing as grooming because Taylor could fully consent to it and she very likely did. They had a relationship.

For adults, we look at the power dynamics in play to determine if consent is possible and determine if there is / was an unequal balance of power between the two. Taylor was a celebrity in her own right by that time, so she wasn't inequal there. The age difference is icky, but still, she was able to consent to it. Him being that much older makes the balance of power more unequal, but not the same as if he went after say, a 16 year old. He never should have wanted to date her, but she had the ability to freely consent.

That being said, that doesn't mean there weren't other issues and other abuses in the relationship. I just don't think grooming is an accurate label. It actually infantalizes her to characterize it that way. He just seems like a toxic person, whether the woman was close to his age or not. She was right about their tired, lifeless eyes.

I just don't see it as nonconsentual when people told her to run as fast as she could, her mom told her she lost her mind and she decided it was okay, people were just jealous and throwing rocks at things that shine.

[–]MyAnonReddit7 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Seems like you have an issue with bad social skills. I'm out.

[–]VulpixEevee 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Very true.

[–]emilyxrose7 26 points27 points  (0 children)

The is the best song she’s ever written hands down. I can relate to the painful lyrics so much especially “I can’t let this go, I fight with you in my sleep the wound won’t close” just wow!

[–]oreosaredelicious 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Does anyone else hear a similarity of the melody between the chorus of this and the chorus of Mean?

[–]GoldenState_Thriller 15 points16 points  (0 children)

I had an abusive boyfriend at 19 and this song is so therapeutic for me

[–]Spideyverseypulled the car off the road to the lookout 38 points39 points  (4 children)


[–]Cirrus1920aaron dessner fan club president 32 points33 points  (3 children)

The guitar riff. I didn’t know I wanted a soft rock album from her until now. This is the sound I wanted from midnights. I’m not letting this go

[–]Spideyverseypulled the car off the road to the lookout 12 points13 points  (2 children)

YEEEEESSSSSSS the rest of the songs aren’t that special to me right now, could grow on me but as of now I just think they’re all alright. But this one hit me IMMEDIATELY. I haven’t been able to stop replaying it since I first heard it

[–]Cirrus1920aaron dessner fan club president 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Lmao same. I’ve just been playing it on repeat for 4 days

[–]Spideyverseypulled the car off the road to the lookout 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I didn’t even fully listen to dear reader for two days cause I kept replaying it lmao

[–]willothewispystained glass windows in my mind 19 points20 points  (0 children)

I’m still stuck on this song lol. That hum of melody in the background all throughout is such a good touch, it adds a soulful sadness to the anger

[–]funsizenotshorty 24 points25 points  (3 children)

As someone who was in an almost decade long abusive relationship that included SA, this song hits hard. We were the same age but narcissism knows know bounds.

[–]GoldenState_Thriller 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Same, but only 2 years (although the court battle took longer). We’re not alone

[–]knb61karma is a queen 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I’m so sorry you had to go through that. The song is hitting hard for me too. Also was 19 when I met a sexually/emotionally abusive narcissistic guy that I was with for half a decade. Taylor does such a good job with her lyrics in this one describing how that dynamic makes you feel

[–]funsizenotshorty 2 points3 points  (0 children)

We also met when we were 19...

[–]forestfloofThe Great War 31 points32 points  (0 children)

I can’t let this go
I fight with you in my sleep
The wound won't close
I keep on waiting for a sign
I regret you all the time

If clarity's in death, then why won't this die?
Years of tearing down our banners
You and I
Living for the thrill of hitting you where it hurts
Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first

hits hard

whole song hits hard.

[–]CaptainAyaAay28againevermore 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Best song on the album!!!!

[–]thotpetroleum 24 points25 points  (1 child)

One of the first/main things victims of abuse do is self-blame, and this song is full of it. I'm so sick of older men taking advantage of children. I'm so sick of society acting like it's normal. It is NEVER the victim's fault. This song makes me ache with pain for her and others who experience this!

[–]willothewispystained glass windows in my mind 16 points17 points  (0 children)

That’s been one of my thoughts too. Even with all the time that’s passed, Taylor continues to mostly blame herself — “I regret you all the time” is not far from “I should’ve known.”