Taylor Swift - Mean

About "Mean"

"Mean" is a song written and recorded by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her third studio album, Speak Now (2010). Big Machine Records released the song to US country radio as the album's third single on March 13, 2011. Produced by Swift and Nathan Chapman, "Mean" is a banjo-led country pop and bluegrass track that incorporates hand claps, fiddles, and multitracked vocals. Inspired by critics of Swift, the lyrics narrate a protagonist's self-awareness of her own shortcomings, efforts to overcome the criticism, and ridicule of a "mean" antagonist.

In reviews of Speak Now, many music critics noted "Mean" as the album's only country-music song congruent with Swift's self-identity as a country musician. Some praised the catchy production and lyrical detail, with some picking it as an album highlight; a few criticized the lyrics as short-sighted. Rolling Stone featured "Mean" in their 2014 list of the 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time. At the 2012 Grammy Awards, "Mean" won Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song. In the U.S., the single peaked at numbers 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 2 on the Hot Country Songs chart, and was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It reached the top 10 on the Canadian Hot 100, and received certifications in Canada, Australia, and the U.K.

The song's music video was directed by Declan Whitebloom, who developed the concept with Swift. With themes of self-empowerment and anti-bullying, it was praised by some media for encouraging a positive attitude, but questioned by others because of its unclear narrative. The video received nominations at the Country Music Association Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the MTV Video Music Awards. Swift performed "Mean" live at two awards shows—the 2011 Academy of Country Music Awards and the 2012 Grammy Awards. She included it in the set list of two of her world tours, the Speak Now World Tour (2011–2012) and the Red Tour (2013–2014). A re-recorded version, titled "Mean (Taylor's Version)", was released as part of Swift's third re-recorded album Speak Now (Taylor's Version) on July 7, 2023.

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