Taylor Swift’s Best Bridges of the Last Decade, From ‘Speak Now’ To ‘Folklore’

On October 25, 2010, Taylor Swift released her third album, Speak Now. Coming off the success of the Grammy-winning Fearless, which took home the coveted Album of the Year prize, the singer showed off her songwriting skills with Speak Now, writing every track by herself.

Taylor Swift performs on NBC's 'Today Show' on October 26, 2010 in New York City.
Taylor Swift performs on NBC’s ‘Today Show’ on October 26, 2010, in New York City. | James Devaney / Contributor

What shone through was Swift’s immense talent. And though her catchy choruses and memorable verses deserve praise, the most dedicated Swifties know their favorite often shines brightest on the bridge, which she’s proven time after time in the decade since. In honor of Speak Now‘s anniversary, here are a few of the times she took us to Bridge City.

‘Dear John’

Speak Now is full of catchy country-pop tunes like singles “Mine” and “Back to December.” However, one of the most-talked-about songs is “Dear John,” which links to Swift’s brief relationship with musician John Mayer. On the bridge, she details how she’s fled from his womanizing ways.

You are an expert at sorry and keeping lines blurry
Never impressed by me acing your tests
All the girls that you’ve run dry have tired lifeless eyes
‘Cause you burned them out
But I took your matches before fire could catch me
So don’t look now…
I’m shining like fireworks over your sad empty town

‘All Too Well’

Two years later, Swift released Red, her bridge between the country and pop worlds (with a bit of rock thrown in). And while upbeat tracks like “22” got the most radio play, one of the most beloved songs is the softer “All Too Well,” where the singer reflects on her relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

Maybe we got lost in translation
Maybe I asked for too much
But maybe this thing was a masterpiece
‘Til you tore it all up
Running scared, I was there, I remember it all too well
And you call me up again just to break me like a promise
So casually cruel in the name of being honest
I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here
‘Cause I remember it all, all, all too well

‘Out of the Woods’

Swift’s first official pop record, 1989, garnered hits like “Blank Space” and “Style.” Like the latter, her single “Out of the Woods” is thought to be about her relationship with singer Harry Styles, specifically the bridge, in which she recounts a snowmobile accident they experienced together.

Remember when you hit the brakes too soon?
Twenty stitches in a hospital room
When you started crying, baby, I did too
But when the sun came up, I was looking at you
Remember when we couldn’t take the heat?
I walked out and said, “I’m setting you free”
But the monsters turned out to be just trees
When the sun came up, you were looking at me

‘Getaway Car’

Swift’s album Reputation came after a year spent out of the spotlight. Much of that time, including the making of the album, was shown in the documentary Miss Americana. In one scene, viewers see Swift and collaborator Jack Antonoff write the bridge to “Getaway Car,” which describes how she met Tom Hiddleston while dating Calvin Harris.

We were jet-set, Bonnie and Clyde
Until I switched to the other side/To the other si-i-i-i-ide
It’s no surprise I turned you in
‘Cause us traitors never win
I’m in a getaway car
I left you in a motel bar
Put the money in a bag and I stole the keys
That was the last time you ever saw me

‘Cruel Summer’ 

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The singer’s 2019 album, Lover, is full of beloved bridges. Swift herself is fond of that of the title track about her settling into her relationship with actor Joe Alwyn. But “Cruel Summer,” which details the early days of their romance, is such a fan-favorite that Swifties begged her to make it a single.

I’m drunk in the back of the car
And I cried like a baby coming home from the bar
Said, “I’m fine,” but it wasn’t true
I don’t wanna keep secrets just to keep you
And I snuck in through the garden gate
Every night that summer just to seal my fate
And I scream, “For whatever it’s worth
I love you, ain’t that the worst thing you ever heard?”
(He looks up, grinning like a devil)

‘Illicit Affairs’

Swift’s surprise 2020 album, Folklore, shows a more alternative and folk-rock side to the artist. It’s also significantly less autobiographical, with many tracks telling stories she made up. One such song is “Illicit Affairs,” in which the narrator sings to a romantic partner they snuck around with.

And you wanna scream
Don’t call me “kid,” don’t call me “baby”
Look at this godforsaken mess that you made me
You showed me colors you know I can’t see with anyone else
Don’t call me “kid,” don’t call me “baby”
Look at this idiotic fool that you made me
You taught me a secret language I can’t speak with anyone else