The Real Meaning Behind Taylor Swift's 'Red'

Taylor Swift has had a whirlwind past few years. Along with two new albums, dropping her first re-release album, and recently releasing "Wildest Dreams (Taylor's Version)" for fans unexpectedly, Swift has also been consistently dropping Easter eggs of what is to come — which is the re-recording of her album "Red."

With Swift's upcoming "Red (Taylor's Version)" dropping on November 19, let's look back at the real meaning behind the song, and album, "Red." The Red era began for Swifties in 2012. It was the fourth studio album for the singer and was an effective crossover between country and pop. The album was a massive success, hitting number one on iTunes following a midnight release, per Good Morning America, and became the singer's fourth number-one album.

But while the release of the album was a happy time for Swift, the meaning behind the album is one of pain, distress, and heartbreak. "Pure, absolute, to the core, heartbreak" is how she described the album to Billboard. "I look back on this as my true breakup album, every other album has flickers of different things," she told Billboard, before continuing, "But this was an album that I wrote specifically about ... heartbreak." Knowing the album and song, respectively titled "Red," are about heartbreak, what else does the track really mean?

Taylor Swift attaches meaning to colors in this track

The song "Red" is undoubtedly about the tropes of heartbreak. Taylor Swift matches colors to the different feelings throughout the song, including blue to showcase missing someone, dark grey to symbolize feeling alone, and burning red to represent the intense emotions felt in an unhealthy relationship.

But one important meaning of the song that isn't as obvious as the others is the line, "Forgetting him was like tryna know somebody you've never met." The lyric might be missed as it is in the middle of the chorus, but taking apart the meaning of the lyric shows Swift's love for symbolization. In this lyric and the song, Swift is showing that moving on from this relationship is impossible. It's impossible to know someone you've never met — meaning it will be impossible for Swift to forget her ex and past relationship.

That is not the only symbolization Swift uses for the same feeling. She sends the same message with the lyrics, "Loving him is like trying to change your mind once you're already flying through the free fall / Like the colors in autumn / so bright, just before they lose it all." While the song contains pop melodies, when picking apart the lyrics, the song is not just pop — it is a song that showcases the hurt of a breakup masked in melodies. 

What to expect from the re-release of 'Red'

On June 18, Taylor Swift announced that the next album she would be re-releasing was her fourth studio album "Red." In the announcement on her Instagram, Swift spoke about what "Red" meant to her, saying, "Musically and lyrically, Red resembled a heartbroken person."

"It was all over the place, a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow all fit together in the end. Happy, free, confused, lonely, devastated, euphoric, wild, and tortured by memories past," she said. But still, with this album, something healed along the way. While the original release of "Red" contained 16 songs, with the reissuing of the album, Swift is adding all 30 original songs meant to be on the album — including a 10-minute version of "All Too Well," which Swift has said was the hardest song on the album to write.

Given "Red" went number one when it was first released, and her first re-release of "Fearless (Taylor's Version)" went number one, only time will tell if the new volume of "Red (Taylor's Version) will too — but if we have to guess, we think it will.