Taylor Swift’s ‘Forever Winter’ Lyrics Aren’t About Who You Expect—Here’s the Song’s Inspiration

Taylor Swift "Red" Tour
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She’s done it again. Taylor Swift’s “Forever Winter” lyrics are sure to make fans cry, but the song may not be about who they expect.

“Forever Winter,” which was co-written with Mark Foster, is the 27th song on Swift’s new album, Red (Taylor’s Version), which was released on November 12, 2021. Red (Taylor’s Version) is a re-recording of Swift’s 2012 album, Red, which was nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year. In June 2021, Swift In June 2021, Swift announced that she would be releasing a re-recorded version of Red after her former record label, Big Machine Records, and manager, Scott Borschetta, sold the ownership of her first six albums—including Red—to Scooter Braun (who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande) and his company, Ithaca Holdings.

“Forever Winter” is one of Red (Taylor’s Version)‘s nine “From the Vault” songs, which were tracks that Swift wrote for the original Red but never recorded or released. “Like your friend who calls you in the middle of the night going on and on about their ex, I just couldn’t stop writing. This will be the first time you hear all 30 songs that were meant to go on Red,” Swift wrote in an Instagram post in June 2021.

Red (Taylor’s Version)

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Who is “Forever Winter” by Taylor Swift about?

Who is “Forever Winter” by Taylor Swift about? In an interview Rolling Stone in 2021, Swift called Red her only “true” heartbreak album, and it’s believed that “heartbreak” was caused by Jake Gyllenhaal, whom she dated from October 2010 to January 2011. “I look back on this [Red] as my true breakup album, every other album has flickers of different things. But this was an album that I wrote specifically about pure, absolute, to the core, heartbreak,” Swift said at the time.

In an interview with New York magazine in 2013, Swift revealed how the subject of Red reacted to the album. (She claimed that the reaction was better than the “crazy emails” she received from another ex-boyfriend, who is believed to be John Mayer.) “He was like, ‘I just listened to the album, and that was a really bittersweet experience for me. It was like going through a photo album.’ That was nice,” Swift said at the time. “Nicer than, like, the ranting, crazy e-mails I got from this one dude.”

While most of Red is about Gyllenhaal, fans believe that “Forever Winter” isn’t about any of Swift’s ex-boyfriends and instead is about her brother, Austin Swift, and his struggle with mental health. “100% believe this being about her brother,” one user wrote on Reddit. Another added, “I could see it being about a family member or friend.”

One clue that “Forever Winter” could be about Swift’s brother is the lyric, “Too young to know it gets better,” which confirms that the subject of the song is younger than Swift. (Gyllenhaal was nine years older than Swift.) Austin, who is Swift’s younger brother, is two years younger than her. 

In “Forever Winter,” which touches on themes of mental health and suicide, Swift sings about how she worries about the subject of the song and wants to “disarm” the “bomb” in their head.  “If I was standing there in your apartment /  I’d take that bomb in your head and disarm it / I’d say I love you even at your darkest and / Please don’t go,” she sings.

In the song, Swift also sings about how her life will be “forever winter” if the subject of the track leaves. “I’ll be summer sun for you forever / Forever winter if you go,” she sings. In a 2009 interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Swift explained that one of her favorite memories with her brother was when they would spent summers at Stone Harbor in New Jersey. “I spent my summers at the Jersey Shore from the time I was 2 until we sold the house in Stone Harbor when I was 14,” Swift told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2009. “It was a pretty magical place to grow up.”

Read the lyrics to Taylor Swift’s “Forever Winter”, via Genius, below. Red (Taylor’s Version) is available on Amazon.

Taylor Swift “Forever Winter” Lyrics

[Verse 1]

He says he doesn’t believe anything much he hears these days

He says, “Why fall in love, just so you can watch it go away?”

He spends most of his nights wishing it was how it used to be

He spends most of his flights getting pulled down by gravity

I call, just checking up on him

He’s up, 3 AM, pacing

He says, “It’s not just a phase I’m in”

My voice comes out begging

[Chorus]

All this time I didn’t know

You were breaking down

I’d fall to pieces on the floor

If you weren’t around

Too young to know it gets better

I’ll be summer sun for you forever

Forever winter if you go

[Verse 2]

He seems fine most of the time

Forcing smiles

 and never minds

His laugh is a symphony

When the lights go out, it’s hard to breathe

I pull at every thread trying to solve the puzzles in his head

Live my life scared to death he’ll decide to leave instead

I call, just checking up on him

He’s up, 5 AM, wasted

Long gone, not even listening

My voice comes out screaming

[Chorus]

All this time I didn’t know

You were breaking down

I’d fall to pieces on the floor

If you weren’t around

Too young to know it gets better

I’ll be summer sun for you forever

Forever winter if you go

[Bridge]

If I was standing there in your apartment

I’d take that bomb in your head and disarm it

I’d say I love you even at your darkest and

Please don’t go

[Chorus]

I didn’t know

You were breaking down

I’d fall to pieces on the floor

If you weren’t around

Too young to know it gets better

I’ll be summer sun for you forever

Forever winter if you go

[Post-Chorus]

I’ll be your summer sun forever

At 3 AM, pacing

All this time I didn’t know

At 5 AM, wasted

I’d be in pieces on the floor

Forever winter if you go

[Outro]

He says he doesn’t believe anything much he hears these days

I say, “Believe in one thing, I won’t go away”

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