Taylor Swift’s “Back to December” Lyrics Meaning

According to Tay Tay, “Back to December” marks the first time she felt compelled to apologize to a former lover via an actual song. In other words, it is based on one of her real-life former romances. Taylor herself has never revealed specifically who the song is about, though fans have been able to piece together that she is addressing Taylor Lautner, an actor who made a name for himself as part of the Twilight movie franchise.  He and Swift dated, albeit for only a season, back in 2009. And in 2016, some years after this song was released, Lautner himself confirmed that “Back to December” is indeed about him.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Taylor Swift's Back to December at Lyrics.org.

Now according to the internet, the two of them did indeed breakup during December of 2009. And it is pretty clear from the lyrics that Swift was the one who did the dumping.  So logically when she says she wants to go “back to December” what she is desiring, metaphorically speaking, is to go back in time to the day in which she called off the relationship. And the reason why she wants to do so is because now, in hindsight, she realizes she made a big mistake cutting Lautner off.

But the song itself is not solely an exercise in nostalgia. Swift’s mind is very much in the present. But unfortunately her current disposition is dominated by her missing the addressee. In the aftermath of getting the boot, Lautner has apparently excommunicated Swift, or in the very least he is no longer entertaining the thought of being romantically involved with her. And in terms of the nostalgic element of the track, it features Tay Tay further reminiscing on the mistakes she made in relation to him.


Conclusively, Taylor has described this track as an apology song. But it isn’t as much apologetic as it is regretful. Yes, Swift goes into painful detail concerning how she mistreated Lautner. But in the end, what it appears she is primarily sorry about is the loneliness she herself is currently inflicted with, coupled with the realization that she has forever lost a good dude.

Facts about “Back to December”

This track was written exclusively by Taylor Swift. She is also credited as one of its producers, in conjunction with Nathan Chapman. And for the record, this track utilizes an orchestra, a technique which was new to Swift at the time.

The director of the track’s music video is Yoann Lemoine. Parts of it were filmed in New York and other parts in Tennessee. And this particular clip features a Latvian model, Guntars Asmanis, portraying Taylor Swift’s romantic interest.

The track officially came out on 15 November 2010, being the second single from Taylor’s album Speak Now.

The first time Swift performed this song live was in Paris on the date of 18 October 2010.

This song was a notable hit, making an appearance on five different Billboard charts in addition to being certified double-platinum by the RIAA.

And in 2011 “Back to December” earned a couple of BMI Awards (Publisher of the Year and Award-Winning Songs). That same year, it was also honored with a Teen Choice Award (Choice Break-Up Song).

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