Taylor Swift asked the Swifties not to come for John Mayer during her Minneapolis concert. The 33-year-old made the request as she prepared to sing “Dear John” for the first time in eleven years on June 24. “I’m 33 years old. I don’t care about anything that happened to me when I was 19 except the songs I wrote,” she said to screaming fans on Sunday, June 25, prefacing the statement with an ask to keep “kindness and gentleness” in mind around “internet activities.”
Taylor Swift on the release of ‘Speak Now’ TV before performing ‘Dear John’:
“I’m 33 years old, I don’t care about anything that happened to me when I was 19… I’m not putting this album out so you can go on the internet and defend me against someone you think I wrote a song… pic.twitter.com/cFQbKQk8vD
— Pop Base (@PopBase) June 25, 2023
“I’m not putting this album out so you should feel the need to defend me on the internet against someone you think I might have written a song about,” she then said, not directly naming Mayer, 45 — but it was pretty clear who the message was about once she sang the surprise song during her Eras Tour stop.
The scathing break-up song is set to be included on the upcoming release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), which was originally released on October 25, 2010 (the new version drops on July 7). The songwriting heavy album includes songs “Mean,” “Sparks Fly,” and the unforgettable six minute and 43 second track “Dear John” — one of the very few times Taylor has named an ex in a song. The track was inspired by the exes short-lived relationship that occurred when she was 19 and he was 32. They began dating in 2009 when they collaborated on his track “Half Of My Heart” off Battle Studies.
“Dear John” is a less-than-favorable take on the relationship, where a young Taylor calls him out for being “played” by his “dark twisted games.” She sings, “Dear John, I see it all, now it was wrong / Don’t you think 19 is too young / To be played by your dark twisted games, when I loved you so? / I should’ve known.”
Taylor last played the ballad in Auckland, New Zealand back in March 2012 during the Speak Now World Tour.
At the time, John didn’t seem thrilled with the track — calling it “cheap songwriting” in an interview with Rolling Stone. “I know she’s the biggest thing in the world, and I’m not trying to sink anybody’s ship, but I think it’s abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go, ‘Wait till he gets a load of this!’ That’s bull—-,” he said at the time. “It was a really lousy thing to do…I never got an email. I never got a phone call. I was really caught off guard,” John added.
He later seemed to reply to the track on “Paper Doll” which lyrics like “You’re like 22 girls in one / And none of them know what they’re running from” — a reference to her Red track “22.”
By 2021, however, John seemed to be at peace with the song. “Sometimes, I hope it’s about me. Sometimes, it’s a really good song,” he said to Andy Cohen generally about break-up tracks that could be about him — including Taylor’s obvious one. “I don’t think it’s a dirty admission. Sometimes, a song is so good, I go, ‘Man, I hope that’s about me.’ … I’ll check everyone’s music out. I’m a fan.”
The July 7 re-release of Speak Now features a now 33-year-old Taylor on the cover in a tulle purple dress, a grown-up take of the original dress she wore for the album art.