Taylor Swift, known frequently as "Mother" by her adoring Swifties, is re-recording her first six albums and releasing them one by one. Fearless (Taylor's Version) was dropped first, followed by 'Red (Taylor's Version). Now, it's Speak Now (Taylor's Version)'s turn to shine!
Taylor decided to re-record her first six albums after the masters for them got sold. By recreating these songs, she owns the new versions (i.e. "Taylor's Version") and gets to choose how they will be used. Plus, she gets the profits from them.
The plan has been to recreate each song as close to the original as possible, but Speak Now (Taylor's Version) actually has a very noticeable lyric change in "Better Than Revenge." Why? Don't worry! We'll break it down for you!
Why did Taylor Swift change the lyrics in "Better Than Revenge"?
After a couple of fans got their hands on Speak Now (Taylor's Version) early, they noticed one very noticeable change: some lyrics in "Better Than Revenge" had been rewritten. The original chorus is, "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 new lyrics for the chorus now go, "She's not a saint and she's not what you think / She's an actress / He was a moth to the flame / She was holding the matches."
Fans discovered the lyric change before the album was even officially released on July 7, 2023. Due to an unfortunate music leak, the theories started early.
While Taylor has not spoken about this lyric change yet, people speculate it's because the "mattress" line is a bit misogynistic. After all, it does boil another woman down to her activities in the sheets instead of on the streets.
"Better Than Revenge" is believed to be about Camilla Belle, the actress who starred in the Jonas Brothers' music video "Lovebug" who later dated Joe Jonas soon after he and Taylor broke up. The timing was nothing if not suspicious, and Taylor was clearly very much in her feelings about the whole thing, hence the song.
But by the time Speak Now (Taylor's Version) comes out, it will have been almost 13 years since the original was released, and society has (hopefully) shifted to be less sexist. Sexism surely wasn't Taylor's intention at the time; she was just an 18-year-old girl who was mad about a breakup.
Because of that, some fans are actually upset about the lyric change. Yes, we are feminists who support other women now, but there's something to be said about the raw feelings of our teenage years. Changing those lyrics can't change the feelings and negative thoughts that we had at that age. In fact, Rolling Stone journalist Larisha Paul argues that the change even compromises Taylor's goal of "draining all value from her original recordings."
The lyric change is reminiscent of Taylor's touring buddy, Hayley Williams's sentiment with her "Misery Business" lyric, "Once a whore, you're nothing more." Hayley's is a bit more biting and overtly misogynistic though. After she retired the song, nostalgic sentiment from fans encouraged her to bring it back, just without standing by the original lyrics. But she never changed them and now just sees them as a capsule of a different time.
While we totally understand why Taylor changed her lyrics, we're gonna miss the original just a little bit. After all, we do love a petty queen!