Taylor Swift has officially released Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), her re-recording of her 2010 fan-favorite album, Speak Now. With the 22-song record comes answers to some of the fandom’s long-running questions: Are any of the album’s new songs about John Mayer? At least not explicitly. Would Swift keep in that shaky breath from “Last Kiss”? Unfortunately not. Did Swift decide to change that one particularly problematic lyric from the original “Better Than Revenge”? Oh yes, she did.
For those that missed the 13-year-old drama, when Swift first released Speak Now, it included a song called “Better Than Revenge,” which was widely rumored to be about how Joe Jonas started dating actress Camilla Belle after Swift and Jonas broke up. The song details how a woman essentially stole a guy Swift loved and included these lines in the scathing chorus: “She’s not a saint, and she’s not what you think / She’s an actress, whoa / She’s better known for the things that she does / On the mattress, whoa”
Swift was called out for the lyrics’ obvious slut-shaming, and in 2014, the singer responded to the criticism, telling The Guardian, “I was 18 when I wrote that. That’s the age you are when you think someone can actually take your boyfriend. Then you grow up and realize no one take someone from you if they don’t want to leave.”
Due to the backlash—and Swift’s feminist awakening—many wondered if the pop star would choose to change the lyric when she re-released the song on July 7. Lo and behold, in “Better Than Revenge (Taylor’s Version)”, the chorus has been altered to say: “He was a moth to the flame / She was holding the matches, whoa,” and let’s just say people have had mixed reactions:
Honestly, the change is a rare move for Swift, who has kept her re-recorded albums as close to the originals as possible. Just call it her Growth Era.
Madison is a senior writer/editor at ELLE.com, covering news, politics, and culture. When she’s not on the internet, you can most likely find her taking a nap or eating banana bread.