"Mean" (CD Single)



Age-appropriate anthem for kids who've been bullied.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Chances are, those who bully have been bullied themselves. One day you'll be a strong person and they'll still be bitter: ""I bet you got pushed around, somebody made you cold, but the cycle ends
right now, you can't lead me down that road, cuz you don't know what
you don't know."

Positive role models

Song shows you can rise above bullying, unkind words, and realize that those people have the problem, not you: "Someday, I'll be big enough so you can't hit me, and all you're ever gonna be is mean."


Some talk of using words like weapons: "You, with your words like knives, and swords and weapons that you use against me" and "You can take me down with one single blow."

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Talks about the bitter bully being drunk in a bar someday, still being mean.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this single is about being bullied, and is autobiographical for Swift. It's an inspiring anthem for anyone who has ever been picked on to rise above it and realize that one day their life will be bigger and better, and that those bullies will always just be "mean." Like other Swift songs, the lyrics are clean; the references to bullying aren't graphic. Bullying is a relevant and touchy topic for tweens and teens, so this song offers a great opportunity to talk about the many ways kids can hurt each other and ways to prevent and deal with it.

What's the story?

Spunky country sweetheart Taylor Swift gets back at anyone who has ever picked on someone in "MEAN," a banjo-driven single from her third album, Speak Now. Like most of her self-written songs, this one touches on personal experience, letting Swift get the last word. With lyrics like "someday I'll be living in a big ol' city, and all you're ever gonna be is mean," Swift shows kids that it's better to take the high road with bullies and know that their lives are not defined by someone's cruel comments.

Is it any good?


Don't cross Taylor Swift -- she may write about it in a song that could end up winning a Grammy. It's unclear if "Mean" is about any ex-boyfriend in Tinsel Town per se, but it is (according to the singer) about a "boy from the past who crossed the line over and over just by being mean." It's more country than Swift's other singles, but full of the same vulnerability, honesty, and a little bit of fierceness that make all of her songs relatable and relevant for tweens and teens.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it means to be bullied. Have you ever been bullied? How did you feel? How did you deal with it?

  • Have you ever witnessed someone else being bullied? What can you do in those situations? Should you tell a parent or grown-up?

  • The lyrics "I bet you got pushed around, somebody made you feel cold,

  • but the cycle ends right now, you can't lead me down that road, because

  • you don't know what you don't know." What do you think this means? How

  • can the cycle of bullying be broken?

Music details

Artist:Taylor Swift
Release date:October 19, 2010
Label:Big Machine Records
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

This review of "Mean" (CD Single) was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byNoseStuckInABook November 16, 2010

Great song with good message.

I'm not a big Swift fan (I do love country music, though), but this song has been on repeat for at least ten minutes. I think this song is very empowering for tweens. Unlike some of Taylor's other songs that suggest girls can't live without boys, this song has a good message. There's no problem putting this on a playlist for any young girl. CSM is definitely off the mark for this one.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byJWilliams303 October 28, 2010

Good song that talks about sticking up to a bully

I love this song from taylor swift, one of my favorites from her new album. I love how she talks about not letting a bully get to you. Reccommend this to any taylor swift lovers or anyone who feels bullied.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old October 28, 2010

Okay song with a good message

Good song. Not my favorite, but good lyrics. I rated it 9+ because 9 year olds and up can probably better relate to this song, though bullying occurs in earlier ages.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models


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