Taylor Swift Confronts “Mean” Listeners

Taylor Swift finally asks the question I’ve wanted to ask forever. In this banjo-rich tune from Speak Now, Swift sings, “You don’t know what you don’t know/Someday I’ll be livin’ in a big old city/And all you’re ever gonna be is mean/Why you gotta be so mean?” She knows what it’s like to have critics and it sounds like she’s cool with that . “When you do what I do, which is you put yourself out there for a lot of people to say whatever they want … there’s a million different opinions. And I get that there are different kinds of ways to criticize someone. There’s constructive criticism, there’s professional criticism — and then there’s just being mean. And there’s a line that you cross when you just start to attack everything about a person,” she tells E! She talks about how one guy crossed the line over and over again. She even guesses the origins of the hater’s cruelty (“I bet you got pushed around”) and how someday he’ll be a nobody and still rant about how she can’t sing. So even though she’s questioning why he’s mean, the overall theme of the song is very “How Do You Like Me Now?!” But, you know, more Swift and less Toby Keith.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.