In a recent performance, Taylor Swift surprised her fans by singing “Dear John,” a track widely speculated to be about John Mayer, marking the first time she’s performed the song in many years. This performance came ahead of the forthcoming release of her reimagined album which includes the notable breakup tune.
Swift, performing in Minneapolis on June 24, sent a clear message to fans who are quick to disparage Mayer: Cool your jets. She played “Dear John,” the song allegedly about her fellow artist, for the first time in over a decade. In anticipation of her “Taylor’s Version” of the 2010 album Speak Now – due out on July 7 – which includes the aforementioned track, Swift requested something from her fans.
In a TikTok video captured from the concert, Swift can be heard imploring her fans, as they anticipate the album release, to carry the warmth and camaraderie they’ve established during her Eras tour into their online interactions. Isn’t that right?
Swift, who has spent the past few years re-recording new versions of her initial six albums after her previous label, Big Machine, sold the master recordings of her discography, elucidated her reasons behind releasing Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). She stated, “My ambition is to possess my music, and I am of the view that those who wish to own their music should be given that opportunity.”
She continued, “At the age of 33, I’m not hung up on anything from my 19-year-old self except for the songs I wrote and the memories we created together.”
The pop icon emphasized that she isn’t releasing this album so fans feel compelled to defend her on the internet against someone they presume she might have written about many moons ago. “I couldn’t care less. We’ve all matured. We’re in a good place,” she explained.
Swift and Mayer, whose rumored romance spanned from 2009 to early 2010, have a 13-year age difference. Over the years, Mayer has been subjected to significant online trolling because of “Dear John,” which includes the lyrics, “Don’t you think nineteen’s too young / To be played by your dark, twisted games when I loved you so? I should’ve known.”
However, even after Swift’s appeal during her concert, Mayer continues to face harsh criticisms on his Instagram posts. One user wrote, “Sorry mom said we can’t bully you anymore,” with an added remark, “(she was 19…)”
Swift and Mayer, despite never officially acknowledging their relationship, have both addressed “Dear John”. Mayer confessed in a 2012 Rolling Stone interview that he felt “really humiliated” by the song. Swift, in a retort to Glamour magazine, said, “How presumptuous! I never disclose who my songs are about.”
Mayer released the song “Paper Doll” in 2013, which many believe is a rebuttal to “Dear John.” Interestingly, on the same day news broke that Swift and actor Joe Alwyn ended their six-year relationship, Mayer performed “Paper Doll” at a Sacramento, Calif., concert, the first time in a year he’d sung it live. He also offered a fresh perspective on the song.
As seen in a TikTok video, he remarked, “I wonder if people don’t like it because it sounds a little pissed off. I’m not really into ‘pissed off’ as a song vibe. I think it was more ‘hurt.’ I think there’s something about it that’s a little ‘bitchy.’ I try not to incorporate bitchiness into the song, and sometimes it happens.”
He added, “I guess I don’t do it very well—’sarcastic bitch.’ But I didn’t really see it. I suppose it does seem a bit like, ugh.”
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