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Mean - Taylor Swift's Song - A Critique

Updated on June 16, 2016

What Is "Mean" All About?

I love the song "Mean" by Taylor Swift. After hearing that song on the radio I purchased the CD. When I listened to the words of the song I automatically thought that the song was talking about a husband or a boyfriend who was abusive. After thinking about the words and listening to the song many times I finally realized that this song can also refer to persons other than a husband or a boyfriend.

I think that the song "Mean" could also refer to a mother, a father, a guardian, a caretaker, a teacher, a coach, a sibling, a bully in school, a bully in the workplace, or a boss. Essentially, I do believe that this song can be about anyone who bullies another person.

Bullying has taken center stage in the media lately due to some teens who have committed suicide as a means to escape the tormenting of their peers. Child abuse has also gained the attention of the media recently. The verbal abuse in the song "Mean" by Taylor Swift could very well be the abuse suffered by a child at the mouth of their parent or parents.

Perhaps the part of the song that talks about living in a big old city means that the person wants to commit suicide and go to heaven thus ending the abuse. I also think that living in a big old city could pertain to a young adult who is leaving home to escape the abuse and physically moving to a big city.

I had a teacher in high school who told our class on several occasions that while growing up his mom referred to him as stupid. He told us that she would actually call him stupid instead of calling him by his name. "Hey stupid" is exactly what he told us that his mom would say to him. That is verbal abuse at its finest!

In Taylor Swift's song mean I started thinking that the person talked about in the song was a mother or a father when I heard the line about someday being big enough so you can't hit me. Does this line refer to someone physically hitting another person or hitting them with their mean words? I feel as if both could be the scenario.

The reference made to nails on a chalkboard immediately made me think about a teacher. Teachers have the power to make or break their students. If a student feels as if their teacher does not like them that can have a significant impact on that student. Is the song "Mean" written about a teacher who was abusive. I do think that is a possibility.

Sibling rivalry is a topic that I feel may be addressed in the song "Mean" as well. Siblings can be and often are quite mean to each other. This song could be referring to a sister or a brother who is abusive.

In the song "Mean" there is a look into the future near the end of the song. Who is that person that is seen in a bar? Is it a father? Could it possibly be a mother? Perhaps it is a husband? Maybe even an ex-husband? Might it be a boyfriend? Could it be a coach? Can it be a teacher? Perchance a music teacher? Possibly a boss? Plausibly a sibling?

Who is the song "Mean" talking about? Do you know?


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    • marlenejns profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Michigan

      I think Taylor's song Mean is meant to have different interpretations. That is just my opinion.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It's about a critic who simply would not let up on her. This is terribly wrong in about 17 different ways.

    • Matt in Jax profile image

      Matt in Jax 

      7 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

      Good analysis and goes beyond a general assumption.

    • VeronicaFarkas profile image

      Veronica Roberts 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      I think it's talking about John Mayer. =] I could be (and probably am) wrong.


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