taylor swift red

Taylor Swift – Red | Stream, Lyrics & Meaning

“Red” is the title track of Taylor Swift’s fourth studio album ‘Red.’ On a soft rock beat, Taylor sings about different emotions representing the different stages of a relationship. ‘Red’ is often considered the color of passion. However, Taylor runs through a color palette to describe the ups and downs she endured.

“Red” was released as the second promotional single from Taylor Swift’s 2012 album of the same name. Taylor Swift penned the entire song and to her credit, the song was well-received among critics and fans alike. The song peaked at #6 on Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US, #5 in Canada, and #26 on UK Singles Chart. It also sold over 2 million copies in the US alone.

During the premiere of the song on Good Morning America, Taylor Swift explained the meaning behind the track;

“I wrote this song about the fact that some things are just hard to forget. Because the emotions involved with them were so intense and, to me, intense emotion is red.”

She further explained;

“They’re all pretty much about the sexy, crazy, insane, intense, semi-toxic relationships that I’ve experienced in the last two years. All those emotions – spanning from intense love, intense frustration, jealousy, confusion – in my mind, all those emotions are red. There’s nothing in between; there is nothing beige about any of those feelings.”

Who is “Red” by Taylor Swift About?

Fans speculate that “Red” is based on Taylor’s short-lived relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. The hidden message to the song reads “SAG.” This is believed to be an acronym for ‘Swift And Gyllenhaal.’ It could also stand for the zodiac sign Sagittarius, which is the sign of both Taylor and Jake. Other theories also suggest ‘SAG’ stands for Screen Actors Guild, to which Jake Gyllenhaal belongs.

Listen to “Red” by Taylor Swift

On June 18, 2021, Taylor Swift announced that the second re-recording of her albums will be ‘Red (Taylor’s Version).’ The album will be out on November 19, 2021, with a brand new recording of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” as well.

“Red” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review

Verse 1

Right off the bat, Taylor Swift compares her relationship to driving a Maserati sportscar down a dead-end road. Maserati luxury cars are known to be some of the fastest cars in the world. But what is the use of all that horsepower when there is no road to drive on? “Faster than the wind” goes the car and comes to a screeching halt at the end of the road. So was her relationship.

Taylor draws another metaphor to describe her relationship with the guy in the song. She compares it to free-falling through the air and trying to change her mind about jumping–you cannot. She took a leap of faith with him and soon realized it was a storm too big for her to handle. But she is now in free-fall and tumbling around in chaos.

Next, Taylor Swift brings in the colors of the Autumn season to describe the tail-end of her relationship. The leaves on trees during Autumn change colors fast–turning from green to red to yellow. Towards the end of Autumn, all the leaves fall leaving only barren branches on the trees. Coincidentally, Taylor’s relationship with this guy changed facades fast and came to an abrupt and cold end.


In the chorus of the song, Taylor Swift paints a picture in blue and grey to describe how she felt after she lost him. ‘Blue’ is often associated with emotions of sorrow, pain, and depression. Taylor uses ‘dark grey’ to resemble the days that followed. Dark grey is necessarily black and shows that the breakup threw her into a low point in her life. Trying to forget him was almost impossible.

Despite it all; “But loving him was red / Burning red.”

Red is a color of passion and lust. However short-lived was their relationship, it was good while it lasted. Their chemistry was explosive and their love was burning hot read. But often, these explosive relationships die out fast.

Watch Taylor Swift Perform “Red” Live from New York City

Verse 2

In the second verse of the song, Taylor Swift takes a stroll through the memory lane into their relationship. She recalls both good and bad times with him. Throughout the entire verse, one thing that is very apparent is that despite the relationship falling apart, Taylor resorts to no hatred towards him.

Taylor found it easy to love him. It certainly helped that he seemed to connect with Taylor on so many levels. Maybe they even met each others’ parents. Maybe Taylor even left her scarf at his sister’s house when they visited her.


In these lyrics, Taylor Swift still struggles to move on from this relationship. We do not know what made them separate from their burning hot relationship. But whatever it was, the reason for the breakup certainly does not outweigh what they had going on.

Every time Taylor gets a flashback into this relationship, she still feels the burning red sensation all over her body. Red was the impression that this relationship left in her memory.

What are your thoughts on this iconic track by Taylor Swift? Let us hear in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.

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