Taylor Swift Fans Think This Midnights Bonus Track Is About John Mayer
“I would’ve stayed on my knees and I damn sure never would’ve danced with the devil at 19.”
John Mayer might have to stay off the grid for a bit. Swifties think that Taylor Swift’s bonus track “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” — from the surprise “3 a.m.” version of her new album Midnights — is about the Swift’s romance with Mayer and how much she regrets it. The pair reportedly dated in 2009 and split after a few months, but their brief relationship is rumored to have inspired songs from Swift’s 2010 album Speak Now, most notably the six-minute confessional ballad “Dear John,” in which she asks, “Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with?”
On “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve,” Swift reflects on a past relationship through a new perspective that’s come with age, directly mentioning in the chorus that she was 19, which is how old she was while reportedly dating Mayer. “I would’ve stayed on my knees and I damn sure never would’ve danced with the devil at 19,” Swift sings. “And the God’s honest truth is that the pain was heaven / And now that I’m grown, I’m scared of ghosts / Memories feel like weapons / And now that I know, I wish you’d left me wondering.”
While Swift hasn’t commented on the speculation (and knowing her history, likely never will), fans have noticed additional hints that the song could be about Mayer. Aside from stating her age of 19 in the song, “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” is also Track 19 on the album, and she is currently 32 years old, the same age that Mayer was while reportedly dating her. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that fans are telling him to “sleep with one eye open” while praising the bonus track.
Fans have noticed several callbacks to “Dear John,” including when she sings about splattered paint in the first verse, which may be a parallel to the line “you paint me a blue sky,” and her frequent nods to their age gap, which is also addressed in the 2010 track. But perhaps the most poignant lyrics come in the bridge, when Swift pleads, “Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first.”
Mayer has not responded to the reports, but he has directly addressed hatred and death threats from Swift fans in the past, so only time will tell what he thinks about the backlash from her new song.