OFFSTAGE: Taylor Swift Tells Off Mean, Pathetic Liar

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Taylor Swift wonders why you have to be so mean. Not you, personally, but the person she’s talking to in her latest single, “Mean.” How do I know she’s talking to someone in particular, instead of just kind of asking the question to mean people at large? Because I read liner notes to her Speak Now album very carefully. And here’s what she has to say in the prologue that leads me to believe what I believe: “Each is written with a specific person in mind, telling them what I meant to tell them in person.” Then as an example, she says, “To a mean man I used to be afraid of.” There is all kind of speculation on who that mean man is, but all I know for sure is what I hear in the lyrics. That it’s about a man who uses words like knives, has a voice like nails on a chalkboard, who points out her flaws and is at once a liar and pathetic and alone in life. She paints an ugly picture, but it’s a quietly beautiful song.