The Story Behind ‘Better Than Revenge (Taylor’s Version)’ By Taylor Swift
The new version of “Better Than Revenge” by Taylor Swift is all that anyone can talk about.
On July 7, Swift released the re-recording of her 2010 record, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). One of the biggest updates for fans was a mere few lines of lyric change to the track about being cheated on by her boyfriend with an actress. Thirteen years later, Swift gave a whole new life to the song.
Who is ‘Better Than Revenge’ Written About?
The song has been widely speculated to be about Joe Jonas and actress Camilla Belle. Swift seemingly references the Jonas Brothers’ song, “Much Better,” which was thought to be about moving on from Swift to Belle back in 2008. Jonas broke up with Swift and later began dating his “Lovebug” music video co-star.
“Now I’m done with superstars / And all the teardrops on her guitar/I’m not bitter / Now I see everything I need/Is the girl in front of me / She’s much better,” Jonas sings on their track. Meanwhile, Swift referenced the tune in her song, “C’mon show me how much better you are / See you deserve some applause / ‘Cause you’re so much better.”
Joe Jonas and Taylor Swift Breakup
In 2008, Jonas and Swift broke up over the phone. Swift slammed Jonas and cited a “27-second phone call” on a taping of The Ellen Show. In a statement to PEOPLE, Jonas said that he has “never cheated on a girlfriend.”
“It might make someone feel better to assume or imply I have been unfaithful but it is simply not true. Maybe there were reasons for a breakup. Maybe the heart moved on. Perhaps feelings changed. I am truly saddened that anything would potentially cause you to think less of me,” he began.
Jonas added that he called her to “discuss feelings” which were “obviously not well received.” He said that she ended the phone call at the 27-second mark.
Camilla Belle and Taylor Swift Feud, Explained
Jonas and Belle broke up in 2009, however, it seems as though she still holds a grudge against Swift. The first public remark came in July 2015 after the MTV VMA nominations were announced. Nicki Minaj famously tweeted about not getting a nomination in the Video of the Year category and some fellow female artists with “slim bodies” that are in the categories. Swift responded thinking Minaj was calling her out, which she clarified that she did not. Swift apologized but not before Katy Perry got involved and shaded Swift.
Perry tweeted, “Finding it ironic to parade the pit women against other women argument about as one unmeasurably capitalizes on the takedown of a woman.” Belle replied, “Couldn’t have said it better…”
The following year, Belle subtly referenced Swift’s predicament at the time. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West leaked a phone call of him playing his song, “Famous,” for her. Swift previously spoke out against the song as the rapper sang, “I made that b—h famous.”
“No need for revenge. Just sit back & wait,” Belle shared via Twitter and Instagram. “Those who hurt you will eventually screw up themselves & if you’re lucky, God will let you watch. #quoteoftheday, #happymonday, and #felizsegunda.”
‘Better Than Revenge’ New Lyrics
The original lyric has been considered “slut shaming” or “misogynistic” by a majority of fans. “She’s not a saint and she’s not what you think / She’s an actress, whoa / She’s better known for the things that she does / On the mattress, whoa,” Swift sang in the original 2010 recording.
‘Better Than Revenge’ Lyric Change
The new lyrics reference both parties involved in the affair. “She’s not a saint and she’s not what you think / She’s an actress, whoa / He was a moth / To the flame she was holding the matches, whoa,” Swift sings in the 2023 version.
‘Better Than Revenge’ Apology
Swift has not addressed who inspired the other woman in the song. At this time, she has not apologized for the lyrics. However, Swift did address the time she spoke about Jonas on Ellen Degeneres’ talk show in a 2019 interview with the host.
When asked what was the most rebellious thing she did growing up, she responded right away. “Probably when I put Joe Jonas on blast on your show. That was too much. We laugh about it now. But still that was mouthy.”
Taylor Swift on ‘Better Than Revenge’
“I was 17 when I wrote that,” Swift said of the track in 2014. “That’s the age you are when you think someone can actually take your boyfriend. Then you grow up and realize no one takes someone from you if they don’t want to leave.”