Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) finally hit the airwaves today, but this remake of pop icon Taylor Swift’s 2010 heartbreak record isn’t quite the same as fans remember. The vast majority of the tracks featured on the remastered and expanded track list are untouched, lyrically, with most simply refined with boosted audio and more mature vocals. However, Taylor Swift has changed chorus lyrics on the Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) release of “Better Than Revenge,” the record’s 10th track, to alter its tone.
The original chorus is as follows: “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.” It’s the line regarding the “mattress” that has been changed, surely in an effort to give an otherwise solid song a rework with less dated lyrics. The few words, which appear three times in the original recording, were already dredging up controversy before Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) released, so it isn’t a surprise to see Swift addressing the situation. The updated “Better Than Revenge” 2023 lyrics follow: “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.”
Many fans are taking to the changed “Better Than Revenge” lyrics from Taylor Swift with open arms. As you might have expected, others haven’t been so welcoming.
We just have to bully her into releasing Better Than Revenge (Taylor’s Version) (Slut Shaming Version) like she did with lana and snow on the beach https://t.co/kLuBwT02ar
— ruby (@e_matron) July 6, 2023
Better Than Revenge has the same lyrics if you just scream over her
— Nick (@NickZararis) July 7, 2023
— Zuri (@zurzur28) July 7, 2023
Many fans theorized Taylor Swift would alter the lyrics in the lead-up to the release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) for a few reasons. For more than a decade, “Better Than Revenge” has stirred conversation about lyrics, music, and art, in general, and its content doesn’t quite stand the test of time. Swift’s original mattress line has been looked back on as slut-shaming, sexist, and anti-feminist, with even the country-turned-pop artist herself saying that she isn’t so proud of some of her early work. In 2014, Swift told The Guardian that the then-four-year-old track wasn’t exactly her favorite song anymore.
“I was 18 when I wrote that,” she said at the time. “That’s the age you are when you think someone can actually take your boyfriend. Then you grow up and realize no one [can] take someone from you if they don’t want to leave.”
So, even Swift agrees with the criticisms and has likely been mulling over a change for quite a while. If, for some reason, you just can’t stand the updated “Better Than Revenge” lyrics, the original will always be there.
Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) is the third in a series of re-recordings that has seen Swift reimagining her discography with remastered songs and, as we’ve learned, updated lyrics. The track lists for these refreshed records have also been expanded with previously unreleased songs, with some highlights from the latest outing including “Castles Crumbling,” which features Hayley Williams of Paramore, and “Electric Touch,” which features Fall Out Boy. These celebratory re-releases are expected to continue with records like Reputation, 1989, and her self-titled album. Each will surely prove to offer talking points for Swifties and non-Swifties alike, so stay tuned for updates.