Surely, many readers scrolled here first, to see which track came in at number one, and they’re probably not shocked to see “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” here at the top. “All Too Well” — the original five-minute version from 2012’s “Red” — was already one of Swift’s best. In the shortened version, Swift pulled away the specifics of her doomed relationship to make a song of heartbreak and pain that felt universally relatable. In the 10-minute version (which she wrote first, though we had to wait years to hear it), she puts those specifics back in, reveals more about herself, and turns the song into undoubtedly her greatest masterpiece.
The 10-minute version is infused with the passage of time. “I remember it all too well,” Swift sings on the choruses, and it becomes clear that the song is about reclaiming the memories, recounting the truth of her experiences. But the end is what always kills me, when she turns her focus solely on her ex. “Just between us did the love affair maim you too?” she asks. There’s no answer, of course; there never is. But she still gets to say what happened to her and reclaim her pain and heartbreak and anguish and turn it into something greater than a failed relationship and the person who left her bruised.