Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"All You Had to Do Was Stay" Song Meaning

Today's Taylor Swift song is the meaning of the song "All You Had to Do Was Stay" from her 1989 album.

Photo courtesy of Taylor Swift
This song tells a story of a guy who begged to be back in Taylor's life after they had ended their first attempt at romance.  She says in the song, "People like you always want back/The love they gave away/And people like me want to believe you/When you say you've changed." He kept wanting to get back together with her, and she believed him. But he didn't stick around, wasn't fully committed. He "drove [them] off the road", an allusion to "Out of the Woods" where they ended up at the hospital. The guy got stitches because he couldn't drive the snow vehicle on the road. She then says he was the one that changed his mind wanted to end it, "Let me remind you.../This was what you wanted/You ended it/You were all I wanted/But not like this..."  She wanted him, enjoyed being with him, but he ended it.  She says that in the end even though "People like you always want back/The love they pushed aside/But people like me are gone forever/When you say goodbye".  He said goodbye and she is gone forever. She is not getting back together with him. She tells him in the song that If he really had wanted her "all [he] had to do was stay."

Who is this song about?

It's about Harry Styles and how he ended their relationship the second time around after he tried and tried to get back together with her. The relationship was a whirlwind, and he could never fully commit.  He was all she ever wanted, but he just couldn't stay around.

One of the interesting parts of this song is story of the high pitched Stay. Taylor told fans in her ask/reply on Youtube, "I think the oddest scenario that I ran in to when I was writing this album was when I woke up from a dream that I was having.  It was kind of one of those social anxiety dreams, where you get embarrassed in front of a person that you don't really want to be embarrassed in front of.  In this dream I was trying to talk to someone and instead of being able to speak normally the only thing that would come out of my mouth was this very high pitched singing, going, STAY, the word stay, but it was sung really high and that was all that would come out of mouth, instead of just normal talking. So I woke up from the dream, I was really weirded out by it.  I decided to incorporate that sound into a song called 'All You Had to Do Was Stay.' I'm very lucky that I had that very weird dream because it's a great song."  I can totally relate to Taylor, I've had some very weird vivid dreams, where I couldn't fly, or I could fly, couldn't read something, or the dream just unfolded and I had no control, but I remember lots of details.  I even had a dream to a while ago that I'm turning into a novel, look for that later.  I'm glad that she was inspired by her dreams, because I sometimes think I am weird that I have such vivid dreams.

This song is similar to "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", but nicer. You can tell she has grown since writing that song. In WANEGBT she told her suitor that she was never getting back together with him. In this song she is tells her suitor (a different suitor) what they should have done to stay together, why she is gone forever. He just had to stay.

Click here for lyrics to the song, "All You Had to Do Was Stay".


  1. "Taylor told fans in her ask/reply on Youtube"
    can you pls post a link


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