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Taylor Swift Swaps Out Controversial ‘Better Than Revenge’ Lyrics on ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’

Taylor Swift’s announcement of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) in May revived discussion surrounding the album’s most controversial song, “Better Than Revenge.” As the anticipated album finally arrived, fans were quick to notice that the problematic lyrics had been replaced.

The original song featured the lyrics, “She’s not a saint, and she’s not what you think/She’s an actress, whoa /She’s better known for the things that she does /On the mattress, whoa.” In Swift’s newest release, the last lines were edited to, “He was a moth to the flame/She was holding the matches, whoa.”

Recorded in 2010, “Better Than Revenge,” has not aged well, but at the time, neither the media or fans gave it second thought. Over the years, the album’s deep cut has gained notoriety for its out-of-character slut-shaming.

In 2014, the singer-songwriter spoke to the The Guardian, addressing the infamous lines that she wrote when she was 18-year-old. “As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities,” Swift said. “What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men.” 


Swifties remain divided on whether the original should be kept intact or updated for today’s sentiments. In a previous Rolling Stone article, writer Larisha Paul argued that “Changing the past now, or using it to make some grand feminist statement, would not only feel dishonest, but it would also compromise her goal of draining all of the value from her original recordings after they were tossed around and sold without her permission.”

As Paul notes, sometimes what we perceive as the “‘wrong’ emotions take hold of the pen before the ‘right’ ones do.” Luckily, “there’s always more to write.”

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