What's The Real Meaning Of Would've, Could've, Should've By Taylor Swift? Here's What We Think

In the early hours of October 21, Taylor Swift opted to surprise fans with several additional songs that hadn't made it onto "Midnights" — and let's just say, one of those new releases has her taking another look back on a past romance that ended ... not great. 

Swift previously shared via Twitter that "Midnights" would tell "the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life." In her more recent Instagram post, announcing the release of the "3am tracks," she shared that a number of other songs had been written "on our journey to find that magic 13." As with her "In the Vault" tracks, Swift wanted fans to get a taste of all the songs that had been written along the way, which also undoubtedly gave her some sleepless nights over the years. Such was clearly the case of case of "Would've, Could've, Should've" – which sees Swift reach deep into her own personal vault to relay one past love story that left an enduring mark on her. 

So, which past relationship does Swift place under a microscope in "Would've, Could've, Should've" — and which of her exes is probably about to have some sleepless nights of his own?

Let's just call this 'Dear John' 2.0 ...

The number "19" ringing any bells? If not, here's a refresher: Back when Taylor Swift was 19-years-old, she had a rather famous love interest by the name of John Mayer. The short-lived romance led to some serious tensions between the exes, and Swift's 2010 song "Dear John" made no secret of the fact that she felt he'd mistreated her during the relationship. More specifically, she pointed out he should have known better ... given that she was just 19. Cathartic though "Dear John" may have been, however, it seems Swift still had some thoughts on the matter. Enter "Would've, Could've, Should've." 

Throughout the song, Swift expresses her regret over the relationship — and even reveals that if she'd never met Mayer's eyes, her entire life — including her faith — would have turned out differently. "I damn sure never would have danced with the devil / At 19," she sings in the chorus, per Genius. However, resentment aside, she acknowledges that even though their relationship is ancient history, she just can't let it go. Sure enough, she's grown accustomed to "living for the thrill of hitting you where it hurts." Perhaps that's to be expected though. After all, she accuses him of stealing her childhood. "Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first," she urges. 

Who knew one of the hardest punches would come from a track no one was expecting in the first place? Someone ... check on John Mayer.