Perusing the Past: Breakups, Bygones, and Back To December

By Jude Aldrich Allaga


For Swifties, advent could extend another week, as hope, peace, joy, and love, are accompanied by December heartbreaks. As January 2023 welcomes us with new plot twists, let us have a quick journey back to December.


Photo courtesy of Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Often coined, "Sad Girl Fall," September to November are regarded as months when Taylor Swift releases her most heart-wrenching, emotionally unapologetic songs. A clear example would be the ten-minute version of All Too Well, or the entirety of "Red," for that matter back in 2012. Much recently, her latest album, "Midnights" included songs such as "You're On Your Own, Kid" and "Bigger Than The Whole Sky" that likewise keep our tissue paper at bay.


Yet, "Back To December" seems to be the pinnacle of this celebration of "Sad Girl Fall" as the season transitions into winter. 


Regret strings the third track of her third album, just as snow lines the crevices of her bare, unfurnished bungalow in the music video. As the chorus reads, "This is me swallowing my pride," Swift apologizes to a past lover with whom she had broken up, as the music video suggests, through a letter. While fans could only speculate about who Swift may be alluding to, Swifties have asserted that it was about newlywed Taylor Lautner over the years. 


It was during the 2009 MTV VMAs that the two of the same name met in a hug. After Ye infamously stormed Swift during her acceptance speech, the entire world took her side- including the werewolf from Twilight. 


Appearing on Valentine's Day (2009), both Taylors reinforced any speculations about their relationship. Sources claimed however that whatever was seen onscreen soon fizzled in December of that year, reaching its conclusion with Taylor singing she'd "go back to December all the time."


Over a decade has passed since their short-lived affair; both parties have moved on to someone new. Yet Swifties persist in hounding the two for confirmation: Is Back To December really about their ill-timed Yuletide farewell? 


Taylor Lautner more or less confirms fans' theories in a Scream Queens interview wherein Lautner broke his silence after co-star Lea Michele dropped the T-Swizzle bomb. "It's something about if I would've known, I wouldn't have done that; I made you a hat," said Michele, to which Lautner confessed, "It's called Back To December."


Taylor Swift's discography is a gift that keeps on giving. Evolving from a personal anecdote of her life, "Back To December," touches the hearts of anyone taking accountability for the end of a relationship. While December chimes around, the track is revisited in funny, satirical, sometimes heartwarming TikToks whether about Taylor squared's relationship or Swift seemingly creating the longest word in the dictionary.


Indeed, this scream-at-the-top-of-our-lungs heartbreak anthem makes us go back to December all the time.


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