As with every one of Taylor Swift’s re-recordings, Red (Taylor’s Version) saw a suite of previously unreleased songs find their way into Swifties’ ears for the first time. Particularly “Nothing New” featuring Phoebe Bridgers, her version of the Little Big Town recorded “Better Man” and a countryfied duet with Chris Stapleton, “I Bet You Think About Me.”
The latter has become a fan favorite since its release with allusions to her relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal and callbacks to her country music roots. If “All Too Well” saw Swift deep in the depression stage of her relationship grief, “I Bet You Think About Me” is her at her angriest.
But what exact beef does Swift have with her ex-lover? We’re going through the meaning of Taylor Swift and Chris Stapleton’s “I Bet You Think About Me,” below.
Meaning Behind the Lyrics
In “I Bet You Think About Me,” Swift calls out her ex, who hasn’t been able to move on from her after leaving her for surface-level issues, like different upbringings. Like much of the album, it’s safe to speculate that this track is about Jake Gyllenhaal, whom Swift dated around this time.
The actor couldn’t be more different from Swift. While she grew up on a family farm in Pennsylvania before moving to Tennessee, Gyllenhaal was born into a family deeply entrenched in the entertainment industry.
You grew up in a silver-spoon gated community
Glamorous, shiny, bright Beverly Hills
I was raised on a farm, no, it wasn’t a mansion
Just livin’ room dancin’ and kitchen table bills
Though Swift handles the verses alone, Stapleton joins in on the chorus, adding a raspy harmony. In the refrain, they sing about the way her ex decided to leave her at the drop of a hat, but is now realizing the decision was a bit more nuanced than he gave it credit for.
But now that we’re done and it’s over
I bet you couldn’t believe
When you realized I’m harder to forget than I was to leave
And I bet you think about me
The end of the song sees the most overt allusions to Gyllenhaal and his “upper-crust” background. Like in “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” she references feeling “lame” compared to her ex’s indie music and his well-to-do idiosyncrasies.
I bet you think about me when you’re out
At your cool indie music concerts every week
I bet you think about me in your house
With your organic shoes and your million-dollar couch
Swift released the original version of Red back in 2012 with 16 tracks. The “Taylor’s Version” of the album nearly doubled the tracklist, taking the final tally up to 30. The “from the vault” tracks were a part of the sweeping list of songs that didn’t make the album the first go around, but Swift always wished she could’ve released them.
During an interview with Seth Myers, Swift said, “Essentially, there are songs on this album that I’ve called ‘from the vault’ tracks, because in my mind, there’s a symbolic vault of songs that I love that I’ve written. I write a lot of songs for an album, and then I pare it down. But these were songs that didn’t make it on the album because I wanted to save them for the next album.”
She continued, “And then, it turned out, the next album was, like, a whole different thing, and so they get left behind. And you always think back on these songs, and you’re like, ‘What would’ve happened? I wish people could hear this.’ But it belongs in that moment in time. So now that I get to go back and revisit my old work, I’ve dug up those songs from the crypt they were in, and I’ve reached out to artists that I love and said, ‘Do you want to sing this with me?'”
In the accompanying music video, Swift attends her ex’s wedding, lingering around like a memory he can’t escape. Miles Teller plays the titular ex opposite his bride-to-be, played by his real-life spouse Keleigh Sperry.
Dressed in all red, Swift plays along with the wedding band, ruins their cake, takes over best-man speech duties, and generally wreaks havoc on the day. Directed by close-friend Blake Lively, the video is one of Swift’s most fun visuals to date.
Check it out below.
Screenshot from Taylor Swift’s “I Bet You Think About Me” music video