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July 07, 2023

Taylor Swift changes controversial lyrics to 'Better Than Revenge' on 'Speak Now (Taylor's Version)'

The re-recorded version of the pop star's 2010 album dropped early Friday morning. It includes six previously unreleased tracks

Taylor Swift has released "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)," the much-anticipated, re-recorded version of her 2010 album.

The album includes rerecorded versions of 16 songs that appeared on the original album or its deluxe edition, and six "vault" songs that did not make the cut for the 2010 releases. The cover art, revealed in May, mimics the original, with Swift dressed in all purple but facing to the right instead of the left.

"It's here," Swift posted on Instagram early Friday morning. "It's yours, it's mine, it's ours. It's an album I wrote alone about the whims, fantasies, heartaches, dramas and tragedies I lived out as a young woman between 18 and 20. I remember making tracklist after tracklist, obsessing over the right way to tell the story. 

"I had to be ruthless with my choices, and I left behind some songs I am still unfailingly proud of now. ... I recorded this album when I was 32 (and still growing up, now) and the memories it brought back filled me with nostalgia and appreciation." 

On the re-recorded version of "Better Than Revenge," a song about seeking revenge on a romantic rival, Swift altered some of the lyrics, as many fans speculated she might. The original lyrics have been criticized as being misogynistic. 

On the original version, Swift sang, "She's not a saint, and she's not what you think, she's an actress. She's better known for the things that she does on the mattress." The re-recorded version changed the second line to "He was a moth to the flame, she was holding the matches." 

Fans began posting about the album on social media just moments after it was released. Her are some of the earliest reactions:

Swift teased the album during a show in Minneapolis last month. She prefaced her surprise performance of "Dear John," which appeared on the original album, by asking her fans to act with "kindness and gentleness" in the weeks ahead, noting that she doesn't care about anything that happened to her when she was 19 years old. 

"I'm not putting this album out so that you can go and should feel the need to defend me on the internet against someone you think I might have written a song about 14 billion years ago," Swift said. 

The song is rumored to be about Swift's brief relationship with singer-songwriter John Mayer in 2009 and 2010, when Swift was 19 and Mayer was 32. The two became a couple after they collaborated on some music, but seemingly split up on bad terms. Several songs on "Speak Now" are believed to be about their relationship.

Mayer responded to the song shortly after the original album came out, calling it a "lousy thing to do" and saying he was unaware of the song before it was released. A few of Mayer's songs, including "Paper Dolls," are rumored to have been written about Swift after their breakup. 

It doesn't seem as though Swift's fans honored her request. Mayer's latest Instagram post includes comments like "if you were December we would never go back" and "she was 19."

"Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" marks Swift's third re-recorded album "Fearless (Taylor's Version)" and "Red (Taylor's Version)," which were each released in 2021. Swift decided to re-record her first six albums with new vocals in an effort to reclaim her original music after her label Big Machine Records sold her master recordings to Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings in 2019. 

"Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" was released two days before July 9, a date referenced in "Last Kiss," a song on the album rumored to be about Swift's relationship with Joe Jonas. They dated in 2008. 

Fans speculated that Swift will sing "Last Kiss" as one of her surprise performances during one of her Eras Tour shows in Kansas City this weekend, as her koi fish-decorated guitar was temporarily removed from the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum on Thursday.

"Speak Now (Taylor's Version)," is available to stream or purchase now.