Here’s how Taylor Swift changed that controversial ‘actress’ lyric on Speak Now re-recording

Let’s hear the applause, Taylor Swift changed that “Better Than Revenge” lyric faster than you can say “sabotage.”

In the weeks leading up to the release of her re-recorded third album, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), fans wondered if she would rewrite a lyric that courted some controversy when the original album was released in 2010.

The song, “Better Than Revenge” — rumored at the time to be about Swift’s ex Joe Jonas and Camilla Belle, who starred in the Jonas Brothers’ “Lovebug” music video — is a high-tempo rock track in which Swift blames another girl for taking her man. The song acts as a revenge track for the perceived slight, and featured the lyric “she’s an actress, whoa / but she’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress, whoa,” which some critics at the time said was “slut-shaming.”

The new version of the song changes that latter lyric to “He was a moth to the flame / she was holding the matches.” The rest of the song remains unchanged.

Taylor Swift Speak Now


In the aftermath of the rewrite, thinkpieces have already sprouted up debating the merits and downfalls of retroactively changing art. Swift herself has yet to weigh in on her decision to make the change, and the new prologue she wrote to go with the re-recording makes no mention of this particular song. But her change of heart was seemingly alluded to as far back as 2014, when she first publicly talked about being a feminist.

When asked about “Better Than Revenge” at the time, she told The Guardian, “I was 18 when I wrote that. 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.”

It looks like Swift took her own advice from the top of the song: “Now go stand in the corner and think about what you did.”

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