Meaning of “When Emma Falls in Love (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault]” by Taylor Swift

With the re-recorded re-release of Taylor Swift’s 2010 album “Speak Now” on 7 July 2023 came a number of new, “From the Vault” tracks to go along with it. Based on convention, those would be songs that she wrote back in the day to be potentially featured on “Speak Now” but didn’t make its playlist.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Taylor Swift's When Emma Falls in Love (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault] at

That fact is of significance for a couple of reasons. For instance, it has been generally accepted that the titular “Emma” would be Hollywood A lister Emma Stone. She and Swift became buddies in 2008 and remain friends to this day. So this piece would be based on the earlier stages of their friendship.

Also it has been pointed out that at the time this would have been written, Stone was dating a fellow actor by the name of Kieran Culkin (aka the brother of Macaulay). That would be of some significance because the lyrics of “When Emma Falls in Love” are romantic in nature, though they speak to the subject’s character, within the context of romance, in general and not a specific relationship she was in.

The Lyrics of “When Emma Falls in Love”

In other words, what we are met with is the vocalist observing how Emma is ‘when she falls in love’. And it doesn’t have to be that Taylor is actually singing about Emma Stone, as there are what may even be taken as lyrical clues that she isn’t, such as, if the lyrics are actually set in 2010, the wording reading as if this is someone Taylor knew for a really long time. (Though it can be counter-argued that by the current time, 2023, she has known Stone for a good while.) 

Either way, the lyrics serve two primary purposes. Those are admiring Emma and contrasting her romantic style with that of the vocalist.

It’s made most obvious in the chorus that this is someone whom Swift looks up to. Emma is depicted as the type of quality woman, a queen if you will, who changes the life of any man she becomes involved with and that any guy would be lucky to have. 

She also handles heartbreak and romantic disappointment in a way that Taylor respects, so much so that ‘sometimes she wishes she was’ Emma.

“’She’s the kind of book that you can’t put down
Like if Cleopatra grew up in a small town
And all the bad boys would be good boys
If they only had a chance to love her
And to tell you the truth, sometimes I wish I was her”

And that observation actually serves as the thesis sentiment of this piece. The interesting thing about this song is that other than making that statement, the vocalist never overtly relays any type of admiration for the subject. That is to say that all the other lyrics revolve around observing Emma but never making a direct value judgment other than, reading in-between the lines and most simply put, the belief she would be the ideal wife.

And a lot can be taken or theorized from this approach. For instance, Taylor asserting that she wants to be Emma would then insinuate that she idealizes herself along a similar vein, i.e. as an effective and committed lover. And secondly, it can also be postulated that the singer herself is disappointed that, by the looks of things, no man has come to fully appreciate Emma for all that she’s worth.

Another Taylor Swift Composition

Taylor Swift has been ridiculously successful and prolific not only as a singer but also a songwriter. In fact, her ability to pump out new content more consistently than most other musicians is obviously in large part attributable to Swift’s wherewithal to write her own songs. 

And so is the case with “When Emma Falls in Love”, which she also produced, though accomplishing that latter feat alongside Aaron Dessner.

This song was put out through Republic Records, the label Swift has teamed up with in terms of her “Taylor’s Version” re-releases. In other words all of the albums she is currently re-recording were originally dropped through Big Machine Records, but the re-releases are slated to come out through Republic. 

A few years back, Taylor had a less-than-ideal breakup with Big Machine, highlighted by the label selling the master recordings of those selfsame albums to a third party that the songstress strongly disapproved of (that being Scooter Braun, of Justin Bieber fame). 

So she decided to re-record all of those LPs, of which there are six in total.

“Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” marks the third of those efforts thus far, being preceded by “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, both of which came out in 2021.

When Emma Falls in Love (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault]

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